After years of being a fairly dedicated gift/small project/accessory knitter (with the very occasional sweater thrown in for good measure,) I do believe I’ve made the switch to become a full-on sweater knitter. In fact, I can’t stop thinking about sweaters. And planning out each little detail (the pockets! the neckline! the hem!) of the vast number of sweaters I need in my closet. Right. NOW. And browsing Ravelry for hours in the middle of the night, marveling on the daily just how many glorious sweaters are out there. And of course, I’m buying alllllll the yarn. For the sweater I’ll knit after the one I’ll knit after the one that’s currently on my needles. Ahem.

I know I’m not the only one. Take a little stroll down Instagram Lane, follow along the #memademay or #slowfashionoctober hashtags and see if you don’t fall down the rabbit hole yourself. (Many of these posts also incorporate handsewn garments, but that’s another tangent entirely.) There’s SO much talk out there about both the capsule wardrobe and the handmade wardrobe and for good reason: if you’re going to spend your precious time knitting sweaters (hundreds of hours, in many cases,) don’t you want to maximize the wear you’ll get out of these sweaters? Shouldn’t they stand the test of time, both in classic style and quality of materials?

For years now, we’ve been talking about creating a color palette for a Wool & Honey signature yarn line, one that’s comprised of colors that define Northern Michigan, based on some of Leelanau’s most beloved landmarks. Not unlike what we do with the Sleeping Bear Yarn Club, but with colorways that are available to all customers and the colors themselves being solid or tonal in nature, vs. variegated or speckled.

We’ve also been having a similar discussion with Sarah and Hayley about a custom Plucky Knitter palette for the shop, one that may be available in limited quantities in the shop a few times throughout the year.

Coincidence? I think not.

Introducing the newest collaboration between W & H and TPK: The Plucky Knitter Leelanau Palette.

The first four colors in the Leelanau Palette are some of our favorites–four unique variations on classic colors to create statement pieces, either for knitted accessories or, as we envisioned, handmade garments that will be both showstoppers and wardrobe staples for years to come. Each of the yarns are named after places that are sacred to all of us; Liz and I are Leelanau County natives–this is and always has been our home–and Sarah and Hayley have spent their entire lives vacationing Up North. Plucky + Northern Michigan inspiration + classic wardrobe colors? It truly couldn’t be a better match. The base we chose is Primo Fingering. a favorite among Plucksters new and old–a fingering weight blend of Merino, cashmere and nylon that is polished, luxurious and yet holds up exceedingly well (all necessary attributes of capsule-worthy garments, I’d say!)

Fishtown. Quintessential Leland. Read also: the exact color of the Janice Sue. (All the fishing paraphernalia pictured here belonged to our maternal grandfather, who spent his entire life fishing Michigan’s many inland lakes.)

Manitou. Pretty much the perfect navy. The deepest of blues with black undertones.

M-22. Deep, smoldering red, again with murky undertones. Beautiful bold lipstick red–the red of our dreams.

45th Parallel. Deep, dark purple, with a base layer of black. Think of the darkest purple wine grapes at the height of harvest.

As I said before, we’ve been thinking a lot about sweaters these days. A lot. So much so that we put together a few ideas for you–sweaters you can knit, but also a few outfit/wardrobe ideas to go along with these beautiful sweaters. We know that sometimes when beautiful yarn presents itself, you’re at a loss. All you can think about is how beautiful it is…and not what you’re actually going to knit with it. We find that if you have the right plan, you’re much more likely to make smart purchases. When you have specific patterns in mind, it’s even easier to decide what to buy–the only decision left is which colors to choose.

We’ve created a few idea boards for you to get your creative juices flowing, but this by no means even scratches the surface. Click on the links below and you’ll visit each pattern’s Ravelry page, where you can read descriptions, determine exact yardage amounts and plan your ideal color schemes. Please support these independent designers by purchasing their patterns directly from them. With the clothing items, you’ll find links to pieces produced by ethical, environmental and transparent companies you can feel good supporting.

  1. Camilla Tee.
  2. Prague.
  3. Igawa.
  4. Mount Airy.
  5. Ilia.
  6. Harper.
  7. Natsumi.
  8. Lake Effect.
  9. Anker’s Sweater–My Size.

  1. Josette White Stone.
  2. Slim Button Voile.
  3. Sway.
  4. Light Trails.
  5. Mount Airy Tee.
  6. Serena Sandal.
  7. Navigate.
  8. Benton.
  9. Arrow.

  1. Brussels Overalls.
  2. Parisian Painter Smock.
  3. Mignon.
  4. Slim Button Voile.
  5. Melanie.
  6. Austin.
  7. Redford.
  8. Lori.
  9. Threshold.

  1. Kowtow.
  2. Imogene.
  3. Luxa.
  4. Evelyn.
  5. Waterhouse.
  6. Ava.
  7. Jackdaw.
  8. Aisance.

The Leelanau Palette is being dyed-to-order: we are taking pre-orders now through May 11th ONLY–or until supplies last.  Orders will be available for pickup in the store at our annual Memorial Day weekend party on Saturday, May 27th. Orders that need to be shipped will ship on Tuesday, May 30th. There will also be one more surprise at the holiday weekend party–but even we don’t know any more than that.

We’re so excited for this collaboration–we hope you’ll find something you love! I know I’ve already planned a sweater in each color…

Photos courtesy of The Compass Points Here.


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As I mentioned on Instagram this weekend, we bought a new house this spring and plan to officially move in within the next few weeks. It’s absolutely perfect for us, from the close proximity to our current home, to its size, to the charming interior details (retro blue tile! knotty pine paneling!)…and as my friend Anne pointed out, the most important aspect: we’re one mile closer to the beach.

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As the reality of moving (and setting up a whole new house) begins to sink in, I find myself becoming more and more excited. There are, of course, things to be done over time (it was built in 1975,) but it was extremely well-cared for and absolutely move-in ready. The house’s style is quite the opposite of our current home and aesthetic (mid-century modern vs. farmhouse cottage,) but after living in the same home for 13 years, Curt and I have both decided we’re up for the challenge.

About a month ago, we were talking about replacing the shower in the master bathroom and he announced, “You know what? I’m going to learn how to tile.” To which I responded, “And you know what I’m going to learn how to do? Weave!” We both looked at each other and laughed and it dawned on both of us at the exact same time: we’re Makers.

When I think about what I want my home to look like, or feel like, or be like, I think about the things in it. Of course I think about my family, and the friends we’ll have over, and the food we’ll cook, and the stories we’ll tell, and even my kitters Sal snoozing on the couch, but if I’m being entirely honest, I’m thinking about the things. The things I’ve inherited (the Madonna and child etching my grandmother brought back from Greece, the Ukrainian pysanka given to me by one of my college professors, the quilt my friend Sarah made for Sasha when she was born)–and the people who held them in their hands. I love being surrounded by lovely, handmade pieces: the honey-dipper we bought on our trip to Shaker Village, the Daisychain crewelwork sampler that, as a complete novice, took me over a year to complete, the polka-dot yarn bowl my non-knitting sister bought from a ceramicist on Etsy for my 28th birthday. It may seem trite to non-creatives to put so much weight behind household goods (and there certainly is a fine line between collecting and hoarding, ahem,) but when you are a Maker, there truly is a magnetism behind beautiful things.

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Something I’ve been aching to make for years is the Rainbow Quilt by Rae Hoekstra for Windham Fabrics with the iconic Briar Rose collection by Heather Ross. I bought the kit from Crimson Tate more than two years ago and this summer, I’m finally going to make this stunning (yet simple!) quilt for Sasha’s first big girl bed.

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(photo courtesy of Windham Fabrics)

It’s hard to describe, but when you’re a mother and a Maker, the drive to create for your children is almost insuppressible. Last weekend at our Plucky Knitter trunk show, I bought much, much more yarn than I probably should have–all to knit cozy sweaters for my daughter and her new sibling on the way. I couldn’t help it–for nights on end, my ideas were literally waking me up, and I was hopping on to Ravelry at 3 o’clock in the morning, researching, planning, dreaming of the beautiful things I would make with my hands for the most precious people in my life. And I hope, as my daughter grows up with parents who build and plant and knit and spin and weave and quilt, that we’ll pass on at least a little of our love of making to her, too.


It’s been just over two weeks since we had our Grand Re-Opening at Wool & Honey on Saturday, April 9th, and the memories of that day still seem too good to be true.

The day started around well before 9 am, where there was a crowd of over 40 people waiting for us to open the doors. We were running a little behind schedule, scurrying to finish a few last-minute details, and when 9:01 came and went, the crowd started chanting, “We want in! We want in!” Liz and I had planned a short informal speech for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, but somehow–the emotion, the visible support of our biggest fans, the lack of sleep– we stumbled over words through our tears. We ripped down the paper that covered the windows for three weeks and for the next three hours straight, friends, customers and guests poured through the doors, bearing smiles, hugs, flowers, chocolates and accolades that made us blush. We promised our first 100 guests a sweet signature gift and in my mind, I thought we’d have a few leftover for the evening soiree. We ran out by 10:15.

My college roommate and her mother drove up from Holland just for the party–and hallelujah, they brought me a gift from the Peanut Store. High school friends stopped by for a snack and a sip and to see our new digs. My grandparents came in to say hello and my grandpa–obsessed with wool socks–bought a pair each for himself and my grandma. A local chiropractor (non-knitting–yet!) stopped in to say hi and ended up staying an hour, completely enthralled with the Sleeping Bear Yarn Club.

Our good friend and Northern Michigan photographer Shannon Scott came over in the afternoon to snap a few shots of both the store and our customers in action–we are so excited to share the new look with you!

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Our new sign. Solid wood and hand-carved on both sides by artist Scott Zuziak.

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New open sign, chalkboard art by Aaron Hoxie.

front entry

Fully stocked with some of our exclusive colorways, including Petoskey Stone (Seven Sisters Arts), Sleeping Bear Meteor Shower (Greenwood Fiberworks) and Pierce Stocking Drive (Three Irish Girls).

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Our front counter, one that used to take up residence in a general store, with the original butcher paper still attached to the roll.

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YOTH Yarns Father, Quince & Co. Owl + Lark, Malabrigo Worsted, The Fibre Co. Cumbria Worsted….Yarn, glorious yarn!

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Our new Sleeping Bear Yarn Club display–a real showstopper.

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The view from the back of the shop. From here you can get an amazing view both of the wood floors my husband Curt refinished and the pallet wall Liz’s husband Chad, his stepdad and our cousin Sam built. And of course, the yarn!

other view from the back

Another view of the back of the main room. We had our 16 of our in-house shop patterns professionally printed for the event and we are thrilled with the way they turned out!

Sarah Jane

Needless to say, our favorite part of the day was spending time with our customers.

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Anita, who drove all the way from Flat Rock!

Judy

Judy, our most invaluable knitting tool. Judy, we couldn’t have pulled it off without you.

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Stephanie! After knowing her as a customer for several years (at the time, she lived in Philly and would visit Michigan in August), I find out her sister is one of my college friends. What a small world. Now she lives in TC, so she considers Wool & Honey her LYS. Full circle.

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My beautiful partner and sister Liz, with her daughter Cecily, wearing a dress I knit for Sasha over 3 years ago.

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Almost every color of Quince & Co. Finch, an amazing, bouncy fingering weight wool, perfect for colorwork and highlighted here in the Raindrops Pullover. (I knit this sample in a size 2-4 with three skeins of Leek.)

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Flowers sent to us by one of our wonderful vendors. We think the bouquet looks especially snappy next to this springy yarn display by local handdyer Why Knot Fibers.

We’re still pinching ourselves. And we can’t wait for you to see it.

(all photos courtesy of Shannon Scott Photography)


Are you a product knitter or a process knitter? Are you in it for the final, finished piece, or do you enjoy every bit of it–from choosing the yarn to the swatching to the casting on to the slogging away to the satisfactory bind off and meticulous pinning/stretching/smoothing/blocking?

I’ve been working on a new design for the 12 Knits of Christmas for the better part of a week and after hours and hours of ripping knitting and the beginning twinges of tennis elbow (ouch!), I think it’s finally coming together.

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I think.

I don’t know why, but I’m embarrassed to admit that 90% of the time, I’m a product knitter. Well, I do know why I’m a little sheepish. There’s so much pressure out there recently [Insta/blogoverse/self-inflicted?!?] to be a process knitter–to celebrate the slow, lovely bits in this fast-paced world. Knitting for knitting’s sake. Most of the time, I’m knitting as fast as I can (literally attempting speed knitting), focusing only on the end result. This is, of course, because 90% of the time (or more), the finished piece is a shop sample, a vehicle in which to sell yarn. That’s not a bad thing–it’s my life, my livelihood. Rarely do I find myself knitting pleasure projects or truly taking the time to sit and just knit. Knitted gifts are exceedingly rare. So are sweaters for me, my husband or my sweet little Sasha. And we should be the ones in head-to-toe hand knits all day, every day. The Ambassadors of Knit!

And yet. Even though I should have rigid knitting schedule that I adhere to that forces me to crank out piece after piece and really, I do, it’s just that sometimes I do what I want and 9 times out of 10 end up ignoring the rules CAUSE I’M THE BOSS, I have tote bags scattered all over my house, in the shop, above the desk in our office, plastic bins up in our barn that are filled with half-knit projects that once upon a time were a really, really good idea. A new yarn or a new pattern comes in and I just HAVE to cast on. It’s almost like I have no control over my own hands. So I toss aside whatever I’m knitting and jump headfirst into the newest, shiniest project. Sometimes I go back. I’d like to say I always do. But obviously, I don’t. That’s what all those tote bags are filled with. And that’s just sad.

I have a HUGE list of sample knits–and designs–that I have to speed through between now and Christmas. There just ain’t no way around it. But. After the first of the year, I’m digging deep into those Rubbermaid bins and making some real progress on some really beautiful knits. Or kicking those half-started projects to the curb. Whichever comes first.

We’ve got a hilarious thread going on our Facebook page about the number of unfinished projects that are on our needles, what’s “acceptable” and some mini-, mid- and long-range goals for ourselves. My last WIP count was 42. Don’t hesitate to weigh in over there–it makes the rest of us feel better.

That’s my process. What’s yours?


So it’s come to this, has it? Days become weeks become months become YEARS and you realize that you have no business (none whatsoever) calling yourself a blogging knitter. Or a writer. They say you can’t do it all, and I’m here to say, thank goodness. (And asking myself why I fought it for so long.) Doing it all is impossible. Trying to do it all is just so terribly disappointing. Quitting sugar, knitting 52 pairs of socks in one calendar year, attempting to run a successful bricks-and-mortar AND a webshop 100% by myself….I like to think of these flat-out failures more as crucial steps on the path to enlightenment.

Pass the M & Ms, will you?

The older I get (mid-30s are the best, amiright?!?) the more I realize that being honest with myself is just the smartest thing to be. Do I change? Yeah, I guess, but not markedly and even then, not as fast as I’d like.

I’m going to try to write more. And better. As it turns out, the more you write, the better it gets. That you’ll never get good if you don’t get after it. And the easiest way for me to start writing is with a list.

So.

Top 5 Things I’m Loving Right Now:

1. Fall. I’ve been talking about it non-stop on Instagram. There are 146 pictures of leaves on my phone right now. I’ve got two days off in a row this weekend, which means that I’m planning on making pumpkin curry soup, crockpot applesauce and at least three different types of pumpkin sweet breads.

2. Reading. Just for me, just for fun. Currently reading The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann (which I received as a monthly selection of this amazing book club, waaaaay back in 2012) and it is the best book I’ve read in a long time. I spent a goodly amount of time reading this summer, too, (for me) and plowed through The Road by Cormac McCarthy, another book I can’t remember right now (so good, obvs) and sped through A Million Little Pieces by James Frey in just three days, something I haven’t done in years. Reading before bed–whether it’s for 10 minutes or an hour–is now one of the best parts of my day. I can’t believe how out of practice I am.

3. Instagram. Because it’s totally normal to suspend any kind of real work for several hours a day while scrolling through thousands of pictures of people who you’ve never met, clucking admiration for their well-curated lives under your breath and then holding yourself to the standards of strangers. It’s so beautiful, I just can’t stop.

4. Hanging out with a toddler. This is a half-truth. Some days I am so filled with love for this tiny human, I watch her hop-waltz in the kitchen to Lana Del Ray’s cover of Once Upon a Dream and sob over the beauty of it all while washing dishes. (This actually happened on Wednesday.)

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Some days I throw temper tantrums that would rival any two-year-old’s because MAMA JUST NEEDS FIVE MINUTES TO HERSELF. (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how much chocolate I’m consuming. In private. Because I just don’t feel like sharing everything all. The. TIME.)

5. Lavender essential oil. For reasons I’m sure you can surmise, my blood pressure has been a little, ahem, high lately. (See number 4.) I’ve added essential oils to daily health and well-being (another story for another time) and lavender is a heavy hitter–an oil I incorporate into basically every hour of my life. Today, I had to explain myself to Ken the cashier when I brought a miniature bottle of vodka up to the counter at the grocery store at 12:30 p.m. for (I promise!) a DIY linen spray.

And of course, there’s knitting. Glorious, wonderful, life-giving knitting. I’ve got so many projects cast on, I’ve purposefully lost count. (Hint: it’s at least 35. No exaggeration whatsoever.)

I plan to transition the old blog over here throughout the next several months (or in one big conversion to WP, as a particular service tells me can be done with one tiny payment of $49, hahahaha), but if you’re interested in reading the major fails of someone who has yet to quit sugar, casts on more projects than she ever plans on finishing and loves swimming like hipsters love their kombucha, my entire blog archives (dating back to 2007, wheeeeee!) can be found at:

http://www.woolandhoney.typepad.com/