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.
FINAL: Joliet 5, Traverse City 2
The Traverse City Beach Bums lost their 2013 Frontier League season opener 5-2 to the Joliet Slammers on Friday night.Continued ...
UPDATE: Beach Bums, Slammers tied 1-1 in 4th
The Traverse City Beach Bums are tied with Joliet 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning of their 2013 Frontier League baseball season opener.Continued ...
Trojans sweep regional meet
It came down to the final event, but when all was said and done Traverse City Central came away with two regional track championships on Friday.Continued ...
Prep sports scoreboard: 05/17/2013
A roundup of high school sports results from across northern Michigan:Continued ...
Parking garage rates to rise
The Downtown Development Authority authorized an increase in transient parking rates at the city’s two municipal parking decks.Continued ...
Ex-Traverse City Manager Lewis to head St. Joseph
The city of St. Joseph picked Traverse City's former Manager Richard Lewis as their next city manager.Continued ...
Festival spotlights science, math
Newton’s Road, a regional nonprofit organization committed to increasing access to and appreciation of learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, continues its Northern Michigan STEaM Film Festival on Saturday.Continued ...
Heroin overdose kills man
Benzie County's struggle with fatal heroin overdoses continues. Authorities confirmed Justin Smith, 23, of Benzonia, was found dead Wednesday night of a heroin overdose. Law enforcement officials arrested a suspect in Smith's death, the fourth heroin-related fatality in the county since 2011.Continued ...
Gladiators capture tennis regional
St. Francis tennis coach Jeff Hughes juggled his lineup during the season — and it paid off with a Division 4 regional title Thursday at Traverse City Central.Continued ...
Editorial: Obama must set tone for IRS, Justice Dept.
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Couple's film focuses on Latin American coffee farmers
Have you ever taken a moment to consider where your morning cup of java comes from?Continued ...
TCC girls beat Midland, qualify for state finals
Traverse City Central qualified for the girls tennis state finals for the 32nd straight year, handily winning the Division 1 regional at Midland.Continued ...
Beach Bums open tonight against Joliet
Jacob Clem will get the start in tonight’s Traverse City Beach Bums opener at Joliet.Continued ...
No food truck buffet rolled out on first day
Diners who hankered for food truck fare on the first day the mobile restaurants were allowed downtown came away hungry.Continued ...
Papa Roach is still swingin'
Papa Roach is still producing hit songs. It’s just getting harder and harder to get radio stations to play them.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 05/17/2013
Second to none; Teach more about less.Continued ...
Firings anger Grand Traverse Band members
Tribal officials fired six of their Natural Resources Department employees for shooting a rifle off their office’s deck, a move that’s angered some Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa members who said the punishment is too severe.Continued ...
One-woman show helps gardens
Emily Dickinson, one of America’s earliest poets, died in 1886. She comes to life this weekend in the acclaimed one-woman play, “Belle of Amherst,” performed by professional actress Sinda Nichols.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: Schiller throws no-hitter for TC Central
Ryan Schiller threw a no-hitter as TC Central defeated Benzie Central 15-0 in a three-inning softball doubleheader opener. (Plus more)Continued ...
Weekend in Brief: 05/17/2013
Do the BBQ; Benzie Players; Garage sale. (Plus more)Continued ...
Low-flying helicopters are coming
Don’t worry: the low-flying helicopters buzzing through northern Michigan are not from the United Nations or some secret government agency.Continued ...
Nursing home promises to repay Benzie $484K
The Maples nursing home officials told Benzie County leaders they will repay $484,000 the county loaned the facility by March 2014.Continued ...
Traverse City Light & Power joins SUN project
Traverse City Light & Power board members approved the final step in implementing a community solar project in partnership with Cherryland Electric Cooperative.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 05/17/2013
Roller derby bouts this weekend; Blue Star hosting baseball tourney; Screening of 'Signals for Survival.' (Plus more)Continued ...
Movie Capsules: 05/17/2013
New this week — Star Trek Into Darkness: After the crew of the Enterprise finds an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.Continued ...
- FINAL: Joliet 5, Traverse City 2