This isn’t easy. COVID-19 is changing lives daily. Rapidly. Permanently. You’ve never done this before. We’ve never done this before. Let’s do it together.

​​​​​​​Today, more than ever, we’re honored to be a part of the Brooklyn Tweed story. As if this American yarn wasn’t wonderful enough, the company has created a model for community good that has utterly blown us away.​​​​​​​ With their ‘Apart Together’ initiative, they are offering all customers who are experiencing financial hardship during this stressful time the ability to purchase Brooklyn Tweed yarns at a more accessible price point‑‑while also supporting their favorite BT-carrying brick-and-mortar shops. We are offering these discounts to you, with credit back from Brooklyn Tweed to us for the discounted difference of each yarn sale.

​​​​​​Buying American yarns at a discounted price allows you to take comfort in new projects without creating additional money-stress‑‑while at the same time supporting your local yarn store. In this Pay-What-You-Choose system, any amount you elect to pay‑‑from 30% off to full retail price‑‑will be credited to Wool & Honey. This means you’re directly supporting us while we navigate life in the wake of COVID-19, and at the same time, supporting Brooklyn Tweed  and their mission: to connect Makers to their materials by creating timeless wool yarns and patterns that support textile production in the USA.​​​​​​​

Even a single skein supports your LYS. Buy a bundle of Peerie for that friend who’s always wanted to try it. Snap up skeins of Shelter for your holiday stitching and get started early. Take the plunge on that massive blanket in Ranch 02 you’ve been eyeing in your queue. However you choose to support your LYS, we‑‑and Brooklyn Tweed‑‑are behind you.

Liz is wearing the Collomia Pullover in Ranch 02, as knit by our dear friend Melissa Hunter (melissah33 on IG)​​​​​​​

Not sure what to knit? Peruse the full pattern library on BrooklynTweed.com‑‑all pattern sales directly support their wonderful network of pattern designers, which further bolsters our community. Additionally, they have made all of the BT by Brooklyn Tweed patterns available FREE on BrooklynTweed.com, giving you fresh, fun options for creating during these stressful times.

Order online and enter coupon codes:

BT10
BT20
​​​​​​​BT30

For 10%, 20% or 30% off your Brooklyn Tweed purchases now through May 15th.

See something you love but it’s out of stock? Give us a call at (231) 228-2800 or send us an email at thebuzz@woolandhoney.com and we’ll order it‑‑special orders qualify for this discount, too.

​​​​​​​


Y’all. We’re so glad we’re not the only Makers who struggle with self-control. Between conversations in the shop and comments on Instagram, Facebook and here on the blog, it looks like our latest post about the Gideon Method is striking a hauntingly familiar chord with many of you.

Liz’s Cedar Pullover KAL. Done with the body, almost done with Sleeve #1.

We’ve had a few questions on how to make modifications, exceptions, etc, so we thought we’d write another post. Consider this an addendum of sorts–The Gideon Method, Pt.2.

  1. No. This isn’t forever. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be, if that’s not what you want. The Gideon Method can be the new way you balance your creativity–forever–or it can just carry you through a phase of disorderly chaos. You can use the Gideon Method for the rest of your days, or just while you navigate a season of life. (Liz and I both think we’ll keep going in this way indefinitely.)
  2. What happens when unexpected things crop up? And yes. Yes, they will. Creative pursuits you haven’t planned for yet. Knit-A-Longs. New yarn you just can’t stop yourself from buying. You might become a weaver. Someone you know is going to get pregnant with triplets. Your spouse’s boss’s wife’s cousin will want to hire you to crochet a shawl for Christmas–but you won’t know that until Thanksgiving. Occasionally–and again, this is your life, so you’re going to have to decide how often you’ll make these exceptions–you’ll put everything on hold to cast on something new and knit like the wind. Until you finish or until you fizzle out–that’s your call.
  3. No, you do not have to stick with the 12-hour time limit. If you’re not a large project knitter (say, mostly a hat knitter), then maybe 12 hours per project is too long for you. Perhaps a 6-hour time limit is best for your lifestyle. However–and this is important–you cannot bounce between different time limits for different projects. If you choose 6 hours as your threshold, then it’s 6 hours across the board–not ‘6 hours for hats, 12 hours for sweaters, 4 hours for socks’ etc. Because otherwise, what would differentiate the Gideon Method from your normal method of….doing whatever you want? The goal with the Gideon Method in general is to create some firm-yet-loving boundaries that gently (subconsciously?) coax you into organizing your knitting life into manageable chunks. You’re going for more structure in your life, because–and I hate to have to be the one to tell you this–if you’re nodding your head while you’re reading this, you don’t have it.
  4. You can, however, tack on extra time to a project if that’s the final push it takes to finally finish something. You just can’t quit early. This is the part where we talk about tough love. If you want the Gideon Method to be more than a fad or a passing fancy–if you want to make a true lifestyle commitment and discover a way to permanently harness your creativity while maintaining a semblance of organization and completion in your life–you have to do the work. It won’t be a challenge to you–and in turn, become physically and emotionally fulfilling in a very real way–if you don’t push yourself.
  5. However. You can be flexible. You really can. As in Life. Because of course, you’re the one making the rules here. You need to be gentle with yourself; Life isn’t about making lists and ticking things off to Get Ahead. That isn’t why you fell in love with Making, and it certainly won’t keep the fires burning. In fact, that might be the quickest way to burnout. For most of us, turning our creative life into an Excel spreadsheet simply feels wrong. Just remember, though, when you’re giving yourself a free pass to cast on your 14th new project in 10 days, what brought you to consider this method in the first place. Knitter, KNOW THYSELF. When you recognize what’s happening, ask yourself what you really want in that exact moment (the freedom to start something new? the victory of finishing something that’s been lingering?) and reassess. Repeat as necessary. Personally, I’ve been living so long without seeing real progress on my own knitting projects that everything feels lackluster. When you have 18 projects on the needles (and truly, I’m certain that’s a gross underestimation), your life starts to look a little like, ‘twenty minutes on this sock here, an hour spinning fiber once a month, three rows on this sweater–set it down for two months’, etc. etc. and you end up finishing nothing and getting overwhelmed by everything. You need to–I need to–be able to experience the joy and deep satisfaction of finishing, and not just once or twice a year. If you’re a person who works with their hands, finishing should be a regular occurrence and again, sometimes too much of a good thing really is too much (I am, of course, referencing the constant and burning desire to cast on at random); making yourself work for something once in awhile? Sticking to a deadline? Pushing yourself to finish when you know it really is the right thing to do? When you actually do it, you might just realize you posses the power of a Greek goddess.
  6. Yes, there is such a thing as a freebie. And no, it’s not cheating. You can–you should–have something going at all times that doesn’t count against your number. Something for waiting in line, for emergency room visits, for social stitch circles, for the daily commute, when your nervous hands need something to do but you can’t even count to ten, for when your current sweater is too big to lug around. Something that’s small enough to fit in your purse or your backpack, something that goes everywhere you do. There is no time frame nor expectation for this project; sometimes you need something to knit because your current project is too big/complex/awkward to tote around, but you can’t just sit with your hands in your lap. I’m transitioning my Plaid Friday socks into my freebie (something I can knit on while customers are browsing in the store or I’m on hold with the insurance company), and Liz has a simple hat going with our January Sleeping Bear Yarn Club selection for our U of M grad brother-in-law, who will go crazy for the maize and blue. They’ve recently (albeit temporarily) become a one-car family, and despite having the initial reaction one gets when they discover they’re about to gain scads of free knitting time (around here, we call that elation), she quickly discovered her husband is very allergic to alpaca. Ahem. She can’t knit her KAL in the car, so she’s doing her commuter knitting on a freebie project instead.

Above all, have fun. If establishing some parameters for your creativity is actually giving you more freedom (raises hand), then great. Keep going. If it’s not, and it’s starting to feel like your joyful hobby is all work and no play, then scrap it. This is your life. Make it beautiful.

(And in case you missed it, the original post about the Gideon Method can be found right HERE.)


Melissa’s newest cast-on, a poncho for Sasha, and the straw that broke the camel’s back the project that inspired this post.

“Startitis is great. Finishing ain’t so easy.” -Lynn Gideon

Yeah, Lynn. We HEAR you.

It’s 2020 and the fact is, we’re out of control. Or rather, our projects are. Completely, utterly, embarrassingly, hilariously out. Of. CONTROL.

We’d like to say it’s a job hazard. That it’s industry research. That we’re Creatives Who Cannot Be Bound By Time Nor Space.

But in all reality, we’re just two knitters who like to knit. And to Makers, is there anything better than starting a new project?

A tiny sweater Liz knit that’s completely finished, except for weaving in those pesky ends. We won’t say how long it’s been in this state.
Melissa’s Madewell Cardigan, cast on in May 2019, in anticipation of Joji’s visit to Michigan in July. Obviously missed that deadline.

The only problem with loving to create as much as we do (and we have a hunch you’ve got this problem, too) is that there’s just not enough time to do it all. Every single day, the number of new patterns, new yarns, new notions, new ideas that arrive earthside is astounding. Thrilling. Often overwhelming. This is our job, sure, but we still can’t keep up. We imagine you can’t either.

Makers love to start new projects. But finishing? Ay, there’s the rub.

A gradient honeycomb blanket that Liz started late 2015, as a baby blanket for Cecily, her four-year-old. All that’s left is half its I-Cord border and a good blocking.

We’ve tried all kinds of ways to keep on task and be accountable, to each other and to ourselves. Checklists. Planners. Journals. Weekly check-ins. Blog posts. Ravelry threads. Social pressure from our Saturday morning Stitch Circle (which always has more room, so if you’re reading this, please know you’re welcome to join us!).

It ain’t working.

Liz’s Community Tunic by Joji, also cast on in anticipation of her July arrival. Ahem.

Then we thought back to a conversation we had with our dear friend and customer Lynn about 3 years ago, about rotating a grouping of long-lingering projects in 12-hour stints, and we thought, yes. Yes. This makes perfect sense. This is something we could do.

Here’s how it works:

You corral up to five (5) projects from your pile, preferably WIPs that are sizable, hanging out on the needles for longer than two months and/or those you’re having a hard time talking yourself into finishing. You rotate through these five only, dropping or picking up new projects when and only when you’ve bound one off OR finished a 12-hour cycle, whichever comes first. You absolutely can keep introducing projects to your five–there’s no ‘rule’ about having to alternate between newbies and old WIPs–but once you’ve started the clock, you must maintain project monogamy until those 12 hours are up. When you’re done with your 12-hour block, if it’s not finished, your piece moves to the bottom of the pile; you will now need to work through four 12-hour segments of knitting time before you can go back to this project. Obviously, every knitter is different (we all knit at different speeds and have varying time in our allotted knitting schedules), so your 12 hours might span over a long weekend, a week–even a month. This isn’t a methodology that works only for people who routinely schedule marathon knitting sessions; this method works for commuters, lunchtime stitchers and for those who only have ten minutes with their morning coffee. There are weeks when neither of us knit much at all. That’s life, darn it. But every one of those little moments adds up and before you know it, with a plan in hand, you’re actually chipping away at something. You’re making visible progress. Shock and disbelief, YOU’RE FINISHING SOMETHING.

Melissa’s current WIP, the Copenhagen Cardigan knit with our November 2016 yarn club colorway ‘Bay Lane Bonfire’ + Ritual Dyes colorway ‘Scorpio’ on Fae.

For example: I started my Gideon Method on Tuesday morning, with this red sweater. I’ve knit a lot since then (rather than sleep, which is not by choice) and am currently 5 1/2 hours into this 12-hour block. I’m nearly halfway into my second sleeve, and because the button band is knit at the same time as the body of the sweater, all that’s left to do after the sleeve is done is to tack down the pockets, which makes me extremely confident I’ll finish the sweater before the 12 hours are up. That’s a good thing, because according to this method, if I wasn’t finished, it would move to the end of the line and that would reeeeeeeeally bum me out, as I had planned on wearing this sweater for Christmas 2019–I’m really ready to wear it now. (Insert eye roll emoji.) Next up is the poncho for Sasha (the picture at the top of the post), the project that started my current project anxiety. Once that’s done–and boy, I hope I can do it in 12 hours, because if I don’t, my No. 1 Mom pin might get taken away–I’ll move on to the Madewell Cardigan, then the Mon Manet Light, then the Plaid Friday socks. As these projects fall out of rotation (sweet, sweet success), I have some very specific yet vague plans as to what I’ll add into my Fab Five, including several top-secret samples in a new-to-us dyer (more info on that soooooooon!), a Hawkbit Cardigan in our Dunes yarn, a Mon Manet in Fresh Water Fiber and the first sweater I’ve ever knit for my husband–a plain pullover in mYak Medium in Tibetan Sky (his choice!)

But why now?

Before I started my plan on Tuesday morning, my knitting was stressing me out in a major way. Sashi had asked me back in December (about 10 days before Christmas) if I would knit her a poncho. She doesn’t ask for knitting, really, and she’s pretty picky about what she’ll wear, so of course I said yes. That very night we chose a pattern (Breathe Mélange by Heidi May) and narrowed down the yarn–she ended up choosing Malabrigo Rios in ‘Sand Bank’. When she woke up in morning, the first words out of her mouth were, “Mom? Can we talk about my poncho? I know you knit a lot of things, and I know you’re busy, but I was hoping you could finish so I could wear the poncho this year?”

Insert major Mom Guilt, because this isn’t the first time (nor the 10th, if I’m being honest) that I said I’d knit something for my daughter, and then somehow, it doesn’t get done. I have the very best intentions–we all do, don’t we?–but how do I change? How can I make good on these ‘promises’? Not just to my daughter, but to myself?

Liz’s Cedar Pullover KAL in Kelbourne Woolens Perennial in ‘Gold’, the PERFECT golden yellow for a Queen Bee.

Liz, too, got a hefty dose of Mom Guilt a few weeks ago, when Cecily asked when her baby blanket was fiiiiiiiiiinally going to be finished. Today’s the day, Sweetheart, she said. She stopped everything she was doing to work on it, and then. Well, you know. Life. She sent Cecily to bed that night with the blanket as-is–tails hanging from every direction, yarn still attached–and somehow, it didn’t quite have the same effect.

She’s also experiencing the pressure of too many WIPs and the overall feeling of treading water–and has been for a long time. She knit most of the samples for the 12 Knits this year, but it’s been waaaaay too long since she’s knit something on her List–and without a bona fide plan, she feels like nothing ever gets finished; the personal projects always get pushed to the bottom of the list when your knitting time is limited.

Her clock started yesterday (it took about 15 seconds of convincing to get her on board with the Gideon Method) and she’s currently an hour into her Cedar Pullover KAL–well below the sleeve divide (just a few inches from the hemline lace), which means she’ll most likely finish the pullover before the end of this 12-hour time slot. When she’s done, she’ll move on to the mini mohair sweater (just the ends to weave in!) and the honeycomb I-cord blanket for two quick-and-dirty, ‘attaboy’ finishes (we’re always going to take those little confidence boosters when we can get ’em), and then on to her Wool & Honey KAL, her Community Tunic, her Six and Seven Advent Shawl and samples in the aforementioned top-secret dyer. Maybe a sweater for Cecily in there, too.

“But I’m a Maker,” you say. “Knitting is the one place I let my creativity run wild. With knitting, I don’t have to keep to a schedule, I don’t have to check in with management, I don’t have to treat it like work. It’s my refuge and my sanctuary. I don’t want to mess with that.”

And to that we say, Amen. Yes. We HEAR you.

Liz’s Six and Seven Fiber advent calendar shawl, pictured here with the custom Fringe Hank ‘Indigo’ from AVFKW.

But.

Don’t you sometimes get overwhelmed with your WIP pile? Sometimes, isn’t too much of a good thing, well, too much of a good thing? And finishing. Wouldn’t you like to do it more often? You know, so that you could actually cast on MORE OFTEN?

Melissa’s Mon Manet Light in ‘Schomberg Sugar Maple’ , our yarn club selection from March 2017. I reeeeeeeeally want to wear this sweater this winter. Using the Gideon Method, I actually think this is a realistic goal.

Yeah. We thought you’d say that.

Melissa’s Plaid Friday socks. FYI, Thanksgiving Weekend 2019 has come and gone. This is Sock #1.

To be clear, Lynn didn’t come up with this method herself. It was introduced to her by a needlepoint group outside of Detroit in the 1990s. But to us, this will always be the Gideon Method. Thank you, dear friend. We love you. (We’ll let you know how it goes.)

Many of the enamel pins pictured here can be found in our online shop HERE, as well as several of our project bags, which can be found HERE. Others are gifts from friends.

(Want to read even more? Of COURSE we have more to say. The Gideon Method, Part 2 can be found HERE).


Read to the end of the post for the big surprise…

Liz wearing the Cloudline Hat in Aurora + Lovat.

The Cloudline Hat

For our last of our 12 Knits this year, we found a pattern that’s so good, we couldn’t have created anything better–perhaps the very best beginner’s hat pattern we’ve ever seen. We’ll be using this as our go-to hat in the shop for the rest of our days–the combinations for yarns, fibers and colors are endless, and it works for every gender. Thank you to Jared Flood from Brooklyn Tweed for this creation.

In the words of the designer….

“With Cloudline we challenged ourselves to design the perfect ‘first hat’ pattern for a new knitter while also creating an appealing project for seasoned knitters as well. This hat is knit using only basic techniques: the knit stitch, the purl stitch, and the knit-2-together decrease and is the perfect project for practicing circular knitting (or for whipping up last-minute gifts!).

Cloudline’s bi-colored marl fabric is created by holding two strands of fingering-weight Peerie together as you knit. With 45 colors to mix and match, hundreds of striking fabrics can be created, allowing for endless variations and a finished look that’s uniquely your own. We’ve found the colorplay aspect of the pattern to be quite addicting, and we can’t wait to see which unexpected combinations will become new favorites!”

Find the Cloudline Hat Kit HERE.

Peerie: A Sweet Deal on One of Our Favorite Little Yarns

From now through December 31st: buy 5 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Peerie, get 1 FREE. We love this yarn so much, we used it in three of our 12 Knits this year! And at this price, now is the ideal time to plan a sweater for yourself in the New Year. Enter coupon code freepeerie at checkout.

Find the entire color range of Peerie HERE.

The 12 Knits of Christmas 2019 Prizes

A bowl full of Six and Seven Fiber Alfalfa in Plumage

With every 12 Knits purchase, you are entered to win one of three (3) $100 gift certificates to Wool & Honey, plus one lucky winner will have the opportunity to create their own custom colorway with Rachel Lundstrom of Six and Seven Fiber–and take home a sweater’s quantity on the base yarn of their choosing. 

Find our full collection of the 12 Knits of Christmas 2019 HERE.

The Cedar Pullover KAL

The Cedar Pullover by Joji Locatelli, knit for us by our dearest friend Melissa Hunter in Kelbourne Woolens Perennial in Raspberry

This sweater means more to us than we can possibly say. Ever since we saw the first sneak peak of Joji’s latest design (and knowing the stories behind it!), we’ve been bursting with happiness and love for our dear friends Tracie and Jodi–and so much pride for our little town of Cedar. We had the honor of hosting the Grocery Girls (and their extra special surprise guest Joji!) here in July, and it was pure joy to see these friends enjoy each other’s company in this little part of the world we love so much.

L to R: Tracie Millar, Melissa, Joji Locatelli, Liz and Jodi Brown at Fishtown in July 2019

We’ll be knitting the Cedar Pullover together from January 1st through 31st and we can’t wait to knit it alongside you. The yarn, pattern and needles are all available to you at 15% off and the prizes everyone finishing (a Knitter’s Salve + a Lip and Cheek Tint from Lake and Woods–a $25 value) and one grand prize (a Lake and Woods body oil, first aid salve, marigold glow makeup tint and body butter as pictured above–a $75 value) are an extra bonus–perhaps the push you need to cross the finish line.

Thank you to the one and only Melissa Hunter (melissah33 on IG +  melissah3 on Ravelry) for knitting our gorgeous sample.

Click HERE to read more about the Cedar Pullover and to sign up for the Knit-A-Long between now and December 19th.

A Traveling Yarn Trunk Show

We’re so excited to have a sweet selection of Traveling Yarn (dyed by Sarah Wharton in Phoenix, AZ) here in the shop this weekend for our party–there’s a little something here for everyone.

Back in Stock: Vixen, Bōsa and Dyed in the Wool

L to R: Spincycle Dyed in the Wool in ‘Rusted Rainbow’, Little Fox Vixen in ‘Tomato Tomahto’ and Little Fox Bōsa in ‘Otherwise Engaged’ and ‘Hazelwood’.

Some of our very, VERY favorite yarns of all time, back in stock this weekend. Little Fox Vixen (fingering weight, 80/20 superwash Merino/silk–400 yds) and Bosa (DK weight, 65/20/15 superwash Merino/silk/yak–231 yds), and of course Spincycle Dyed in the Wool (fingering weight, 100% handspun wool, 200 yds), which hardly needs an introduction at all. We don’t expect them to last long!

Find Little Fox Vixen HERE, Little Fox Bosa HERE and Spincycle Dyed in the Wool HERE.

Our Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Perfect Presents

1. Wool & Honey Collection

2. Leelanau Books

3. Tea

4. Knitter’s Backpack

5. Poza Cowl (Verb’s Floating)

Stocking Stuffers

Stocking Stuffers

1. Candles

2. Enamel Pins

3. Wrist Rulers

4. Kristin Hurlin Cards

5. Specialty Stitch Markers

A $25 Gift Certificate for Everyone

We are so grateful for this wonderful, close-knit community, which extends so much further than we could have ever imagined–it includes customers-turned-friends all over the world. We want EVERYONE to have a magical 2020 filled with Making, and in a small way, we hope we can help.

We’d like to give each of you a $25.00 gift certificateto use in 2020. There is no purchase necessary, nothing you need to do to apply–it’s completely FREE. It’s our Christmas gift to you.

You can use it to take a bit of pressure off your own gift giving (think of your mother or your neighbor or your best friend…), but of course you can keep it for yourself, too–a reward, perhaps for giving so much of yourself in 2019.

We hope that everyone reading this truly takes us up on this offer–and that you pass the word to everyone you know, especially those who might not already receive our emails. Forward this email to a friend, tag them on Instagram and Facebook, share and re-post our posts on social media; we want as many Makers as possible to have a very Merry Christmas.

Click HEREto pick up your free $25 gift certificate now throughout the weekend.

Please limit to one per person. If you’re attending the party tomorrow evening, please refrain from signing up online.


Saturday, December 14th, 2019
5 to 7 pm

One of our favorite things about the holidays is sharing them with you–and one of our favorite ways to do it is with a party.

We’re counting down the days…and spending every minute in between making the shop as cozy–and full of yarn!–as possible. Every day we’ve been arranging (and rearranging!) the shelves, repositioning and moving and making room for some beautiful yarn that’s sure to make your season bright.

On Saturday evening from 5 to 7 pm, we’re hosting our annual Christmas party with hot cocoa and tea and sweet treats, which is promising to be the most magical we’ve ever had. Our 2019 Gift Guide is shaping up nicely, gifts and notions and chocolates and holiday cards are lining the shelves and the yarn.

Oh. My. Goodness. THE YARN.

-We’ll introduce the last two of our 12 Knits of Christmas kits, where they’ll join the entire 2019 collection. Everything will be available in a full range of colors, for those of you who might need a bit of last-minute inspiration. (And truly, you still have time. Really.) We’ll be drawing the winner for the Grand Prizes the first week of January–three $100 gift certificates and a chance to collaborate with an expert on your own custom colorway? A knitter’s dream!

-A HUGE restock of Spincycle Dyed in the Wool–something we’ve been waiting for since the last week of June!–just in time for our party. (And it’s the biggest order we’ve ever had!)

A HUGE restock of Little Fox Vixen AND Bōsa, two yarns we can never seem to keep in stock.

Our first KAL of 2020! This one has a January 1st cast on and is extremely dear to our hearts.

-We’re featuring Brooklyn Tweed Peerie in a major, major way. We’ve used this yarn several of our 12 Knits this year, and we’ll be giving you even more reasons to fall in love with this little darling.

-And of course, everyone’s favorite part: the $25 gift certificate from us to you. No strings attached, no purchase necessary–just a little something to show you how much we appreciate you. You can either give it to someone on your list, or you’re welcome to keep it for yourself to use in the New Year. Those of you who aren’t local? We’ve got a surprise for you that is perhaps the biggest, craziest thing we’ve ever done–and we expect it to go viral. (Stay tuned.)

We’ll be dropping more details throughout the next week and email subscribers are always the first to hear about our big plans. Not yet signed up? Send us an email at thebuzz@woolandhoney.com and we’ll add you to our list.


Can you hear it? That light rap-rap-rap on the door?

That’s our knitting mojo knocking. It’s back–full force!–and we think we know why.

It’s the holidays. It’s always the holidays.

As we creep ever-closer toward the Christmas season and its gift-giving traditions, we find ourselves reflecting on this community and family and friends and teachers and baristas and UPS delivery persons–and we get so filled up with these cascading, golden feelings that all we want to do is clothe everyone in head-to-toe knitwear. What better way to show someone you love them than with something you’ve made with your own two hands? And while the finished project itself plays a part in the magic (and of course, the yarn picked specifically with the recipient in mind), these intensely warm feelings we get about the holiday knitting season mostly come from the desire to sit and create with others. A group of Makers who come together in pairs or trios or gatherings of 20 for the sole purpose of creating something from scratch.

Which is why we are so excited about Thanksgiving weekend. An entire weekend spent with customer (who are also our friends!), knitting and chatting and eating and planning and laughing together–people who might not have become friends if it weren’t for yarn. And yes, there’ll be shopping, but the focus of ‘Plaid Friday’ is the idea of “weaving the individual threads of small businesses together to create a strong fabric that celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses”. What else is there?!?

We’ve got plans for a sweater each for the girls, two (er, make that three!) baby sweaters, four pairs of socks and at least one Christmas sweater between us. But the first thing to be cast on?

A pair of socks for a group photo on Plaid Friday.*

*This skein of Plucky Knitter Feet in ‘Highlander’ was a gift from Christmas 2017 from our dear friend Michele G.–so excited to finally knit it!


We are thrilled to announce the September 2019 selection for the Sleeping Bear Yarn Club: The Dunes, yarn grown along the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. This is perhaps the most precious selection we’ve ever offered, a secret project that’s been in the works for more than a year: a yarn 100% made in Michigan. With alpaca and wool grown at four different Northern Michigan farms, it is the most local–and most rare–yarn we’ve ever had. Sourced within 50 miles of the shop and each other, this yarn is 60% Huacaya alpaca, 40% Babydoll Southdown wool….and spun at the 109-year-old Zeilinger Wool Company in Frankenmuth, MI. It’s a combination of fleeces in every natural color–creamy white, fawn, tawny, chocolate brown, rose gray–all combed together in a small-batch, ring-spun yarn that’s soft, heathered and farm fresh. This is a once-in-a-lifetime edition yarn; there is a finite number of skeins available, and once they’re gone, that’s it. Forever.

This yarn is brought to you by:

Aral Peak Farm in Honor (Babydoll Southdown sheep)
Hahn Farm in Beulah (Babydoll Southdown sheep)
Northern Dreams Alpaca in Empire (Huacaya alpaca)
Three Little Birds Farm in Northport (Babydoll Southdown sheep)

Zeilinger Wool Company is a fourth-generation-run wool mill in Frankenmuth, Michigan. We chose Zeilingers for the project not only because of their proximity to the shop, but because of their experience in ring-spun yarn, a technique essential to spinning the short, bouncy fibers in the Babydoll Southdown wool. We are so grateful to April and Jon for giving this project their undivided attention, from initial inquiry through fleece pickup in July (as pictured here), to their speedy execution of this special yarn.

We also owe an extra special thank you to our dear friend Tracie Herkner of It’s Sew Ewe in Lake Ann for introducing us to many of these farmers, as well as helping to shear at Aral Peak this spring, and skirt every single one of our Babydoll fleeces before they went to the mill. Tracie, we couldn’t have managed a project of this scope without you!

* * * pre-order by August 18th * * *

September’s delightful little package will include a skein of The Dunes (60% alpaca, 40% Babydoll Southdown wool–400 yds, 100 g), a Kyanite stitch marker and your choice of the Hayrick Socks, Les Abeilles Shawl or the Little Marieke Baby Sweater, as well as the free gifts for NEW 12-month members, Thank You gifts for Year Two members and Leelanau Lifetime Members.*

As we’ve said before, this yarn is extremely unique and extremely limited. While we may take on another fiber project in the future, it takes years to develop a batch that fits our shop’s particular needs. If you like what you see, please don’t wait. Even if we were to create a Northern Michigan yarn again, based on the fiber content and fleeces involved, another yarn would look completely different than the one we are offering today. Sign up for a membership now so that your subscription (even one as short as 3 months) can begin with September’s package. We are also keeping a waiting list for customers looking to order additional skeins, both for larger projects and a souvenir skein for a friend who has a piece of Leelanau lodged in their heart–until it’s gone, which could be sooner than you think.

Sign up for our Sleeping Bear Yarn Club HERE.


It seems that the cold weather is (finally!) behind us, which makes June a good time to think about caring for your handknits–how to wash, mend and store your precious stitches for the Summer.

We suggest washing all of your knitwear before putting it away for the winter with a gentle wool soap. Even if it appears clean, a warm, soapy bath doesn’t hurt. (We love the Twig & Horn Wool Soap.) The goal is to rinse away the natural oils that cling to wool with normal wear, as well as visible food stains or other soiled bits; these are the things that moths are attracted to, and they’ll chew through wool all winter long if left to their own devices. Ensure your sweaters are completely dry and there are no damp patches–any dampness could eventually lead to the formation of mildew.

Once your knits are clean and fully dry, inspect them for holes and thin spots. Holey toes in your socks? Find your grandmother’s darning egg and learn to darn. Is the hole too big to hide? We love Martha’s embroidery embelishments and of course, visible mending is a visual pledge to the Slow Fashion movement and a sign of solidarity between makers. Check out Katrina Rodabaugh’s book Mending Matters for tutorials and projects, ranging from beginner to advanced. Does your sweater have lots of pills? Brush them off with a Sweater Stone, the Gleener or a hand-held electric de-fuzzer.

Once your pieces are freshened up, it’s time to put them away. Store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. We suggest a plastic storage bin–the airtight nature of the bin will add one more safeguard against moths, beetles, mice and other unsightly critters. Just make sure you don’t pack too many in one container.

Before putting the lid on your bin, tuck a few sachets in among the woolies. Not only do they smell fresh, but herbal blends–like Cedar Roma (100% natural cedar) and the Leelanau Lavender dryer sachets (100% locally-grown lavender buds)–add another layer of moth protection.

These steps do take time, yes, but with all the effort you’ve put into the actual knitting and crocheting process, the care you take will exponentially extend the life of your woolens, keeping you warm and fashionable for years to come. Pour yourself a glass of iced tea, put on an audio book and take major satisfaction knowing you are doing your part to keep traditional handcrafts alive.


It’s the day before the last day of school. The whole long, languid summer is in front of us.

It’s time to make a list.

And a quilt.

I have a good friend who’s a psychologist–a person who’s genuinely fascinated by human social patterns–and loves to tell me, ‘We’re all just animals. You can fight it as much as you want, but you can never distance yourself entirely from your animal Being.’  I don’t know if that’s 100% true, but he’s always, always right about those damn patterns. I can’t seem to break the cycle of the routines I shift through, season after season, and I’m starting to think maybe that’s not the worst news ever? Because the things that I keep coming back to are things that give me profound, primal joy.

Every June–year after year after year–I am deeply inspired to start new projects with my hands. Embroidery, preserving, growing green shoots in the ground, crochet, and of course, quilting. (See? June 2016. Is the quilt finished? No. Have I washed or cut the fabric? WHY WOULD YOU EVEN ASK ME THAT?)

What is it about quilting that says Summer to me? I don’t have any memories of wrapping up in a hand-pieced heirloom on a sleeping porch during an August downpour (I do not come from a family of quilters), but I’m a Reader, and I must have read thousands of treatises on these fabled wonders; I’ve absorbed my romantic notions through osmosis.

While I still haven’t made Sasha’s Rainbow Quilt (don’t worry–I bought another 8 yds of Heather’s re-released strawberry fabric again in 2017….for the backing for another quilt), Sienna really needs something new for her bed. And soon. This alphabet panel is my ideal mashup of classic and folk and whimsy; it’s ‘Petit Fleur’ by Carolyn Gavin for Windham Fabrics, something I searched high and low for after an insomnia-driven Pinterest sesh waaaaaaaay back in 2014. (And yes, I do have the backing and binding from the same collection. OF COURSE I DO.)

Judy’s going to help me with this project, as she’s guided me through every sewing project I’ve ever schemed up/purchased for/belabored/stalled out on/fully executed (one full quilt to completion, for those looking to keep track). I’m aiming for a version very similar to this one, although I have two full panels, so it’ll fit a twin-size bed by adding more sashing all the way around. I’m not sure how realistic it is to work on it before our big weekend in July (got a few gagillion things on my plate between now and then), but I’m just so eager to get started.

my Wool & Honey sweater, a constant companion over the past few months. Here on a baby quilt we use for a picnic blanket–Maker unknown.

What else are we doing this summer? Less–and more, I’d say. Trying to strip away the extraneous stuff we can (screen time, over-scheduled activities, always being ‘busy’) and adding more of the stuff that matters (art projects, books, real foods, time outside). I wrote a whole newsletter (scroll to the bottom) about our staff summer plans last week here.

Art. We’re suuuuuuuper into art around here. Between my girls (newly 6 and firmly 2 1/2) and Liz’s daughter Cecily (3 1/2), we have piles of every type of medium (on every imaginable surface!) in every corner of our homes. Sasha is a total doodler, taking a notebook and pencil with her wherever she goes. She says wants to be a nature artist one day–she was transfixed when we took her to Gwen Frostic’s studio last summer.

Books. Stacks and stacks of books. I took this picture two weeks ago, and yes, I’m currently reading all of them. I’ve since finished The Little Book of Lykke (super digestible, good takeaway points, thumbs up overall), Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (an excellent, fast read) and added Chef Edward Lee’s book Buttermilk Graffiti, which explores the intersection of food and race and tradition in America. So good.

last summer’s Bardenhagen berries.

Putting food by. Well, we’re going to try. I can’t remember the last time I made jam (it was probably in 2012, pre-kids!), but I’m determined this year. Easing into it by making this rhubarb simple syrup this weekend.

And as often as I can, I’m taking my knitting with me outside. Fifteen minutes after work, an hour with my coffee on my front steps before everyone in the house wakes up, on the beach to catch a sunset with friends.

Tell me, Makers–what are your summer plans?

*Blogging used to be a very regular part of my life and I have every intention of reviving this one. Curious about those pesky behavioral patterns? You can find the old blog HERE. (Spoiler alert: I still can’t quit sugar.)


‘He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.’
-Louis Nizer

Let me start this post out by saying, dayuuuuum, you guys are good. As in, I am consistently blown away by the knitters I meet on a daily basis and the extreme thought and detail and love that goes into every knitting project you meticulously plan. I mean, Liz and I stay up until all hours swatching, scrolling IG, reading comments and reviews on Rav and Knitter’s Review, ordering the PERFECT yarn in the middle of the night on Etsy, so really, it shouldn’t surprise us that you do, too.

Tami designed this spectacular colorwork sweater last year for the Tin Can Knits’ Strange Brew KAL and it’s everything a colorwork sweater should be. Tami lives in Holland, MI–just a few hours from the shop–and is Dutch to the core. She’s currently making her Dutch dancer costume for this year’s Tulip Time parade—I mean, just look at this embroidery:

(Orange, as perhaps you can tell, is Tami’s favorite color.)

Each of the motifs Tami incorporated into this sweater represent an aspect of the Dutch tradition—its bicycles, windmills, architecture, Amsterdam’s canals and of course, tulips. She used traditional Dutch colors, as well: in Quince & Co. Chickadee, she chose Carrie’s Yellow (yellow), Nasturtium (orange), Delft (blue), Peak’s Ferry (red), Peacock (dark green) and Iceland for the body. I don’t have a drop of Dutch blood in my body, but as a Hope College grad (class of ‘02) my fondness for the Netherlands’ folklore runs disproportionately high. (Yet I only have two pair of decorative clogs….) I absolutely adore this sweater.

Seeing this beautiful sweater last weekend—and Tami’s beaming face in it—gave me such a little zing of vitamin D, exactly when I needed it. I’m inspired to roll up my sleeves and try a Strange Brew of my own, perhaps with Lake Michigan as muse.

What about you, friends? What inspires you creatively? And how do your other passions inform your knitting?

*And just to be clear, ‘if you’re not Dutch, you’re not much’ is a silly catch phrase tossed around West Michigan, which stems primarily from the staggering numbers of fifth and sixth generation Timmers and Vanderkolks attending their great-great grandparents’ (on both sides!) alma mater—and then staying on in Holland or GR to carve out a life long after graduation. I really have no idea if the VanAndels say this to each other around the dinner table, but I do know that Italian-Americans find this statement exceedingly hilarious at the end of an evening, particularly around the time they’re calling last call. Ahem.