The Dunes, A Michigan Yarn Project

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.