Sandy Goetz is a regular around the back table at Yarn Quest in Traverse City.
At least twice a week, the retiree brings her latest knitting project to the yarn shop, where she finds camaraderie with the other women who also come there to knit.
"When you buy your yarn here, they offer you help with a pattern, but more importantly, I've made some of the best friends of my life here," said Goetz, who discovered her passion for knitting just two years ago. "Knitting has opened up a whole new world to me."
Although the art and craft of knitting has been around for generations, it has seen a resurgence in recent years. The Craft Yarn Council of America estimates that today, some 50 million Americans know how to knit or crochet.
Today and Saturday, area knitters will have the opportunity to check out the latest the knitting world has to offer when six northern Michigan yarn shops host the first-ever Greater Traverse Yarn Shop Hop. Each will highlight unique yarns and patterns and offer refreshments and ideas for handmade holiday gifts.
"I see it as an opportunity for people to visit all the shops and see what they have to offer," said Mary Hofmann, owner of Yarn Quest. "I love to see people get enthused about knitting and fibers."
Joan Slyker, owner of The Warm Fuzzy yarn shop in Alden, said it's been fun working with the other shops getting ready for the event.
"What's so wonderful about this is that these six shops could be in competition, but we're not. We all have different personalities and carry different yarns," she said.
Today's knitting shops offer crafters an array of yarns like their grandmothers never dreamed of, from skeins of sumptuous silks and shimmering ribbons, to baskets of baby soft alpaca and hanks of hand-dyed cottons. Northern Michigan yarn shop owners said that these days, they are also seeing a wide range of ages picking up needles and yarn.
"Knitting isn't just for grandmas," said Hofmann. "We've had junior high-aged kids come in with their mothers. We have expectant and new moms who want to make a blanket from the natural and organic yarns, and we even see a smattering of boys who want to knit scarves or hats for their girlfriends."
Even high school students are taking up the hobby. Every Monday morning, nearly a dozen students in the knitting club at Traverse City West High School meet to knit blankets for premature babies and scarves for chemotherapy patients, while catching up on the latest gossip. Knitting clubs like these have become increasingly common in recent years.
One of the weekly groups that meets at Michele Heckman's shop, The Yarn Market in Beulah, listens to a book on tape while they knit. Other groups meet to knit for charity or simply for social interaction.
"Knitting has traditionally been a women's activity and a place to share and talk," said Heckman. "In tough economic times, it's also something that you can sit at home and do."
Goetz sees the Shop Hop as a great way to introduce people to the craft.
"It's an opportunity for those who are not aware of the joys and beauty of knitting to see the wide range of handmade beautiful gifts you can make," she said.
Participants can join the Shop Hop with the purchase of a $5 passport. With a $15 purchase at a particular store, the passport is stamped and eligible for a drawing for that shop's prize basket. Stamp the passport at all six shops and shoppers are eligible for the grand prize basket, which includes a $50 gift certificate to each shop.
Participating shops include The Yarn Basket of Beulah, Thistledown Shoppe in Suttons Bay, Wool and Honey in Cedar, The Warm Fuzzy in Alden and Yarn Quest and Lost Art, both in Traverse City. Each shop will be open from noon to 8 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. For directions or more information, call Heckman at 882-4640.
First-ever Yarn Shop Hop runs today and Saturday
Sandy Goetz is a regular around the back table at Yarn Quest in Traverse City.
Community in Brief: 07/25/2014
Christmas in July; Artist’s reception; Solar viewing party. (Plus more)Continued ...
Bums fall in slugfest
With 21 runs scored on 28 hits, it was not an easy night for the 10 pitchers who took the mound for Thursday’s game between Traverse City and host Schaumburg.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: Registration taking place for football, soccer
Registration has begun for YMCA Flag Football and YMCA Coed youth soccer. (Plus more)Continued ...
Lacrosse teams arrive
This weekend, Traverse City is out in the sticks. But not necessarily out in the country.Continued ...
The inland lakes are providing some good fishing opportunities and can be a great alternative to those that are not able to get out on the Great Lakes because of windy conditions.Continued ...
TCJGA Skills Challenge
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Disc Golf Results: 07/25/2014
Wednesday At Hickory Hills (Traverse City):Continued ...
- Friday, July 18, 2014
Bums fall in extra innings
Ben Waldrip made up for his ninth-inning gaffe with some 10th-inning heroics.Continued ...
You're Needed: 07/19/2014
Volunteers are needed for Harbor Days in Elk Rapids.Continued ...
Blood Drive Calendar: 07/19/2014
Area Blood Drives: American Red Cross —Ellsworth, noon-5:45 p.m., July 22, Ellsworth Community Building, 6520 Center St.Continued ...
Community in Brief: 07/19/2014
Museum garage sale; DAR anniversary; Auditions set. (Plus more)Continued ...
Body & Soul in Brief: 07/19/2014
Ride for Father Fred; Arcadia Daze luncheon; Autism awareness. (Plus more)Continued ...
Education Newsmakers: 07/19/2014
The following local seniors were named Kiwanis Club of Traverse City Students of the Month:Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 07/19/2014
Not a ‘disorder’; Homeless, cherries; Win the primary first.Continued ...
Charter school board will consider legal action to get $1.6 million
Grand Traverse Academy officials are trying to find out more about the $1.6 million that’s owed to them by their federally indicted founder and head of their former management company.Continued ...
Homeless death disclosure draws dissent
Traverse City police officials defended their decision to withhold public disclosure of a homeless man's slaying, and said they'd do so again if similar circumstances arise.Continued ...
GT County sues jail inmates over fees
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Hogs to ride for Father Fred
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Road work planned across GT County
Motorists should expect traffic delays at several locations in Grand Traverse County in the upcoming week.Continued ...
Futures File: Downed jet prompts increase in commodities
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Mancelona man dies in crash
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Filing deadline nears for TCAPS board candidates
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Cyclist dead in Antrim County crash
A cyclist died after a vehicle struck him along an Antrim County road.Continued ...
Sidewalk cafes face season-long ban
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- Community in Brief: 07/25/2014