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.

 


Last week I dropped the bomb that I had knit a sweater in six days…and then I totally left you hanging. (To be honest, I was catching up on my sleep.)

I’ve probably knit Hannah Fettig’s patterns 20 times (at least!) over the past 17 years and she is, without a doubt, my favorite designer. Mostly because when I sit down to knit sweaters for myself, I gravitate toward simple, unfussy classics–the basic patterns (pullovers OR cardigans) you reach for over and over. I am also more of a production knitter than anything else; when I finally have the time to knit, I prefer just knitting vs. spending my knitting time learning new or heaven forbid, difficult techniques. I am, in effect, a Lazy Knitter. (This, I have discovered, is my #knittruth.) The climate here (we pretty much wear knitwear in all four seasons) and their overall wearability (the casualness of Northern Michigan’s winter uniform extends slightly beyond jeans + boots + puffer coats on top of layers and layers of wool) makes every sweater in this collection a mandatory wardrobe staple–to me, Home & Away is like a sacred text. It’s my knitting guidebook.

When we planned out our fourth KAL from this book, we knew we wanted to do something different. Because we hadn’t introduced a new Plucky colorway in awhile, we knew this would be the knockout combo we were after. We asked Sarah and Hayley for an extra special base  for this particular batch–and Snug, the most luxurious blend of Merino, cashmere and royal alpaca–is nothing short of divine.

(Thoreson Farm, a warm golden yellow named after one of the historic farms along the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.)

Lesley is an aran weight pullover that is flattering, comfortable and suuuuuper quick to knit. A great combo for a month-long knit-along, no?

The sweater is quite a bit more relaxed on me than it is on the model from Home & Away, a little by design and a little by accident. The pattern suggests negative ease of 0.5″; being between sizes (my actual measurements are 38″ and the pattern includes sizes of 36″ and 40″–I followed the instructions for the 40″) and due to a bit of a gauge snafu (I got 13.5 sts/4 inches vs. the 14 sts/4 inches the pattern calls for,) my sweater measures 42″ instead of 40″, which is 4″ of positive ease. I actually think it’s better for me than negative ease–I’m not slim and I don’t know that a body-hugging sweater would have been that flattering to my body in its current sugar-loving state. Ahem.

I knit this sweater in six days–cast on on January 30th (which was a Tuesday evening) and bound off on Monday morning, February 5th, and while yes, I do knit quite fast, I had, as everyone else in this whole world does, a whack of other things to do at the same time. I did not take any time off from work, nor did I knit at the shop any more than I normally do (while waiting on browsing customers, if I’m not pricing or cleaning or restocking) and I didn’t leave my daughters in extended child care to do it. (In fact, just like always, I had Sienna with me all day, every day. Sasha goes to full-time preschool M-Th.) This sweater was knit in the (very!) early mornings and late nights, and it was a tight but very doable goal for me. The secret? Putting in the time. I’m sure this will come as no surprise to you, but I spend an exorbitant amount of time fooling around on my phone. Much of it is knitting related, yes, but oh man, I waste so. Much. TIME. I knew if there was any chance on earth of finishing this sweater, I’d have to curtail my scrolling habit. So really, this sweater is the tangible proof of what a knitter can get done if she, you know, KNITS.

We’ll be kicking off our Lesley KAL on March 1st, but we’re taking pre-orders for the Leelanau Palette through this week only–click here to see all the colors in the range. As with all Plucky Knitter yarns, these colorways are available for a limited time and are exclusive to Wool & Honey. I’m currently racing against the clock to finish my Azimuth before the Olympic flame is doused, but I’m also considering knitting another Lesley–this time in Good Harbor Bay. There’s really no such thing as too many basics.


Imagine a morning spent sipping coffee with friends, the warm summer sun on your shoulders, chatting and gathering flowers, berries and roots from a dyer’s garden at your local CSA farm. Natural ecru skeins of Michigan-grown and spun yarn are prepped in tubs scattered around the farm, waiting to soak up dyes in the afternoon. An indigo vat is bubbling and there are willow branches and coreopsis and madder and goldenrod, splayed out in a natural rainbow. The dinner bell rings and you slide into your spot on a bench at the farmhouse table laden with still-warm veggies and fruits, harvested from the ground just hours before. With a full belly, you head off for some tutelage from the local dye experts, getting focused, hands-on instruction for dyeing yarn with Nature’s best pigments. Heading home in the evening, you’re buzzing with excitement–about meeting new friends, trying new foods and about the new projects you’ve got planned with yarn that was touched by so many creative hands right here in Michigan.

Goldenrod, freshly harvested and beginning its dye bath

We spent the first weekend of August doing that very thing. We co-hosted a natural dye workshop with Why Knot Fibers at Birch Point Farms, where two groups of happy students spent their days foraging, preparing and dyeing yarns, surrounded by friends and fresh food in storybook perfect summer weather.

Christina Barkel, Birch Point farm manager, harvesting indigo

Birch Point is a CSA vegetable farm in Leelanau County, just outside of Traverse City, overlooking South Lake Leelanau. Michelle Farese is the head of the operation, bringing local foods to markets, schools and the greater Northern Michigan community for more than a decade.

Michelle’s husband, Jess Piskor, owner of Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport, served an amazing farm luncheon on both days–build-your-own-tacos filled with local grass-fed beef and veggies, local cherries and apricots and a sweet, crunchy corn salad that we’re all still talking about.

from left: Erin, Vanessa, Mary, Anne, Liz and Josie listen to Michelle and Jess talk about their CSA

And then of course, there was yarn. Glorious yarn!

Kat and Claire, while primarily dyeing their yarn line with commercial-grade acid-fast dyes, are well-versed in the ways of natural dyeing. We were thrilled that they wanted to teach, an idea we’d been incubating since Deep Winter.

Most of the students had a bit of experience dyeing with commercial dyestuffs, but for many, this was the first experience they’d had with natural dyeing. And we think most of them were thrilled with the results, even the unexpected ones.

“‘Frederick why don’t you work?’ they asked.
‘I do work,’ said Frederick. ‘I gather sun rays for the cold, dark winter days.’
And when they saw Frederick sitting there staring at the meadow, they said, ‘And now Frederick?’
‘I gather colors,’ answered Frederick simply, ‘for winter is grey.’
And once, Frederick seemed half asleep. ‘Are you dreaming Frederick?’ they asked reproachfully.
But Frederick said, ‘Oh no, I’m gathering words, for the winter days are long and many.'”

-Leo Lionni, Frederick (one of my favorite children’s books of all time)

We’re tucking the memories of this blissful summer weekend away, where color and passion (and wool, blessed wool!) will certainly keep us warm, even as the days are short and cold and gray.

all photos courtesy of our good friend Courtney Michalik Kent of The Compass Points Here Photography


Interested in trying your hand at natural dyeing? We are thrilled to offer a few tools to the adventurous DIYer: an indigo dye kita dye kit containing madder, cochineal, weld and logwood and the most exquisite compendium of natural dyeing to date: The Modern Natural Dyer. Kristine Vejar from A Verb For Keeping Warm has devoted her life’s work to creating and cataloging pigments from all over the world–we’re honored to carry this stunning resource in our shop. Not interested in dyeing yourself? We’ve got a beautiful kit–100% grown, spun and dyed in Michigan–for you to knit right here.


Confession: I am not a monogamous knitter. Not even close. At one count, I had 42 projects in varying levels of completion on needles. (It’s okay. You can judge me.) Some of them have been in progress for years. (Like these cutie fruits right here.) And you know what? I want to finish them. Kind of. But I also have a (not-so) secret fantasy, too–having a completely blank slate. Organizing and culling and #rippingforjoy and finishing the projects I *really* want so I can pursue the (my) ultimate knitting goal: working on one project at a time.

I want one project on my needles at a time–maybe two, or even three at the very most–so that I’m getting as much as i possibly can out of my knitting time and energy. After observing thousands of knitters over the past decade, I’ve seen it all. The Project Knitters, the Process Knitters, the Pre-Process Knitters (an extra special bunch right there,) the Retired Knitters, the Working Knitters, the Knitting Mamas….and every combination in between. While I won’t make generalizations about all knitters, I can say what is unequivocally true for me: knitting all the things all the time does not make me a better knitter, nor does it mean I’m more creative. It means I’m lazy and that I lack discipline; basically, I’m a magpie. And honestly, it took me YEARS to realize this about myself. I have learned, after sixteen years of knitting almost constantly, that when I actually sit down and dedicate myself fully to one or two projects from cast on through bind off, I reap greater knitwear rewards. Exponentially greater.

Of course, this is not to say that knitting is meant for production purposes only. It isn’t. I realize there are two rather divided camps here. There are the knitters (the Process Knitters) who will fiercely defend all knitting for knitting’s sake, that would say that everything I’ve ever knit–or the creation that comes from today’s needles–is a nod to the past. That each stitch is literally and figuratively building on top of the last and the lessons I’ve learned–and those wonky stitches and novelty yarn scarves [there were really just two] and ill-fitting sweaters–have made me the knitter I am today. And to that I say, absolutely. Amen. Of course I couldn’t possibly understand the magnitude of the well-executed gauge swatch if I didn’t have a failed sweater that came before it, right?

But. But but but. I have been knitting for sixteen years and the part of me that knits for an end result–the one that proudly resides in the Product Knitter camp–has relatively little knitwear (of her own) to show for it. I do have a shop full of lovely samples I’ve knit and patterns I’ve written and that certainly isn’t nothing. But I have an embarrassing (disproportionate?) mountain of unfinished projects lurking in the deep recesses of every closet (and drawer and glovebox and unused shop shower stall and…) And I really hardly have anything I wear. I didn’t even have a new winter hat this year–I wore a retired shop sample, one that Cindy knit back in 2011.

The reason for all my WIPs isn’t the fact that I don’t have time to knit–I do. It’s just not like it used to be. With two babies, I don’t have a fraction of the me time I’m used to. Of course. I don’t knit for four hours every night and two hours every morning, with glorious weekend-long marathons in front of Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. (What? Doesn’t everyone do that?) It’s much more cobbled together these days; a row while I’m waiting for my coffee to brew, a few stitches while I’m behind the counter while a customer shops. Sometimes, like this morning, I knit for an hour before everyone in the house woke up and the night before last, I probably got 2 1/2 hours in while watching Season 5 of House of Cards. (SO GOOD.) So every day, even if it’s only 20 stitches, I’m knitting.

The reason for all my WIPs is the fact that I’ve allowed myself to get swept away by every yarn and project that comes in the door. (Or shows up on our IG feed.) To cast on with reckless abandon the moment something lovely catches my eye, when vendors send samples of their new spring yarn, when I impulsively cast on a back-to-school sweater for my daughter when she decides that dark pink is her new signature color. (That actually did work out in my favor; I knit a sweater in a weekend.) When you’re in the business of knitting–legitimately accountable to your customers to report back on the merits and pitfalls of every yarn and pattern in the industry–you’re allowed to give yourself a little grace in the casting on department. But 42 unfinished projects? Come on. Not only is it total gluttony, it’s gotten to the place where it’s reeeeeeeally stressing me out. It’s not nearly as exciting to cast on something new when you’ve just done it two days ago; it’s so much more rewarding –luxurious, even–when you’ve really, really held out on something, something you’ve been dreaming about for months, versus reaching for a new pair of needles when the slightest whiff of wool comes your way. I’ve discovered when I choose projects on a whim (rather than consciously queuing knitwear that fills a specific need in my life,) they just don’t hold my interest for very long. I get caught up in a vicious cycle which goes a little something like: I get super excited about something (pattern or yarn,) cast on immediately, knit on it for an evening or three, lose steam/get bored/get stuck on a technique/new yarn comes in, repeat et al.

The hall closet in our house has just one thing in it–my stash. It’s a jumble of books and fiber and mounds of half-finished projects and needles and a bit of fabric and embroidery floss and oh yeah. Yarn. I’m craving order and clarity…and a plan. Summer seems like the best place to start, getting organized before Wool Season approaches in late August. I’m fleshing out a bit of a roadmap, both in terms of what I’m going to finish up and most importantly, what’s to come. And I’m also thinking I might share some before and after pics (!) of my stash, its organization and the reasons why. Check back often, as lately I’m feeling the need to expand my knitterly thoughts on a scale that’s a little deeper than Instagram–and reviving this blog seems like the perfect place to do it.

How about you? What does your WIP pile look like? Does it bother you to have lots of projects on the needles? Do you consider yourself a Process Knitter or a Project Knitter? Please feel free to comment here or catch us on Instagram–I’m always interested in the knitter’s thought process!

*P.S. Next month marks 10 years since I started my first blog, and I was really into posting there for quite awhile. I’ve left it up–I will most likely initiate a migration from Typepad (there) to WordPress (here) sometime soon–but thought you might enjoy perusing the archives. Find it HERE.


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!

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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!

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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.

finch display

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)