Due to some family events and celebrations, I found myself in southwest Michigan for several hours yesterday with nothing to do. Time to look for yarn shops!
My drive took me from South Bend, Indiana to Holland, Michigan. I was concerned that the shops along the route might be closed since yarn shops are often closed on Mondays. Of the shops I found online, only one was closed – I’ll have to check it out a different time.
Often when I travel from shop to shop, whether it be for a yarn crawl or just a drive, I find that some shops are better than others. That was not the case with the shops I visited on this trip. Although some of the shops were bigger than others, they all had everything I look for in a quality yarn shop.
My criteria for a four-star shop includes –
- A large selection and variety of yarn,
- A complete line of tools,
- Lots of samples on display,
- A representation of locally grown, spun, or dyed yarn or products from a small business or indie dyer,
- And, last but not least, friendly and inviting staff.
All the shops that I visited on this journey met this criteria. The four shops I visited were Yarn on Front in Dowagiac, Stitching Memories in Kalamazoo, Threadbender in Grandville, and GarenHuis in Holland.
Yarn on Front
The first stop of my journey was at Yarn on Front, located on Front Street in the cute town of Dowagiac, Michigan. The store does not have its own website, but shares the latest news on its Facebook page. (Online shopping is not available).
The store carries a large selection of Cascade and Plymouth yarn – basic brands that were in each store I visited. I noticed some yarn from smaller companies, too.
When I asked about local or indie dyed yarn, the owner went to the back to get the yarn that had just been delivered. The yarn was processed and hand dyed by Hook to Hanger, located in Bridgman, Michigan. (I’ll be checking out the mill at a later date). The six colors included in the order were dyed exclusively for Yarn on Front. The yarn colors focused on the town of Dowagiac, its history, and local schools.
As I continued on my way, my next stop was Stitching Memories in Kalamazoo. I was concerned about trying to find a yarn shop in an unfamiliar city. No need to worry, the shop was located less than a half mile from the exit and was easy to get to using instructions from my mapping app.
I was especially impressed with the welcoming attitude of the owner and the shop. Just inside the door is a couch and two chairs – the perfect place for friends to sit and knit. I sat and chatted with the owner for a few minutes before shopping.
In addition to large company yarn, the shop carries yarn from a few smaller companies – two that caught my eye. One is Crazy from Stonhedge Fiber Mill. I am familiar with this yarn because I made a scarf from it a few years ago. The other yarn I liked was Studio June Yarn – locally dyed in Kalamazoo.
Celebrating over 35 years in business, Threadbender in Grandville is one of the oldest yarn shops I’ve ever visited. Even though it has been around for a long time, the store feels fresh and bright, with up-to-date content and ideas.
Juliane Anderson started the business and still plays a role, but her daughter, Becca, now runs the day-to-day operations. They recently moved to a new location in Grandville, Michigan.
Both of the women dye yarn for the shop, and I couldn’t resist purchasing a skein from each. In addition to their hand dyed yarn, the shop carries yarn from large and small familiar companies.
The specialty of the shop is the large selection of Schacht weaving looms and supplies. The Schacht looms are not only expertly made, they are beautiful. The shop offers lessons to help a new weaver get started. In addition, the store stocks Matchless spinning wheels, another Schacht product – very tempting.
The last yarn shop I visited was GarenHius in Holland. The city of Holland was settled by a group of colonists in 1847. The city’s Dutch heritage still influences its culture and economy. Garen Huis is the Dutch translation of Yarn House.
The list of yarn brands carried in GarenHuis is long. Their website includes the extensive listing and the functionality to order any of the yarn online. Most brands are nationally known – some are very elegant (and unfortunately expensive).
The shop sells products from small companies. There are beautiful hand made yarn bowls for knitters to use. The shop carries a line of roving for spinning from a small company in Wisconsin. I was very tempted to buy some even though I’m just a new spinner.
A Good Day
Although there were miles between stops, these four yarn shops were worth my while. I’d recommend all of them to my readers and friends that knit. The owners of the shops made me feel welcome and valued.
Do you live or shop in southwest Michigan? Is there a shop that I missed? Tell me about it in the comments below.