Handmade: Rapunzel’s yarn shop friendly, knowledgeable

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

If a traditional chicken dinner is on your list of favorite meals, and you love to knit and shop for yarn from all over the world, you might want to plan a day trip to Rapunzel’s Unique Gifts and Yarns, next door to Zehnder’s Restaurant in Frankenmuth.

Dee Ruggirello, who worked as retail manager of Zehnder’s for 25 years, owns the unique boutique that sells yarn, knitting and crocheting supplies, apparel, jewelry and gift items. She admits, “We are fortunate to have the location that we do because we’re right next to Zehnder’s restaurant. We cater to maybe an hour-and-a-half radius of customers. They come for the day for a knitting class.”

Rapunzel’s carries a number of specialty-type yarns made of natural fibers. “Some are boucles, hand-spun, hand-dyed and varieties that are unusual,” says Ruggirello, who lives in Frankenmuth.

With 10 employees, including four part time, five full time and Ruggirello, the shop is open seven days a week because of the tourist nature of the town. “People expect us to be open. I’m pretty much there five days a week,” says Ruggirello.

Both knitting and crocheting classes are offered, however, most popular is their Saturday morning knitting class, from 9-11 a.m. “It’s a small group, and it’s a class where you can learn what you choose. It could be for beginners,” explains Ruggirello, “but we also specialize in socks, shawls, (and) scarves. So, if you want to make a particular item, this is the class to sign up for.”

Carol Krenz of Reese is class instructor, and the fee is $20. “We also do knit clubs that are held on Monday night from 6-8 p.m., and Tuesday mornings, from 9-11 a.m. They’re drop-ins and free of charge.” For $10 an hour, Linda Terdurgh of Vasser instructs crocheting lessons, and there’s “a good collection” of crocheting patterns available.

Ruggirello says, “Rapunzel’s is well-known for being customer service-oriented, and we help our customers trouble-shoot projects. There’s always a staff member (on hand) that has knitting and crocheting knowledge, and we have a unique selection of home decor and unusual gift items for the non-knitter or crocheter that comes in.”

Knitter Ruth Shelley of Saginaw says, “They’re really quite a diverse shop with fantastic clothing, and jewelry, and they have a wonderful selection of yarn. My overall impression of the shop is the friendliness of the staff.” And, Gale Howe of Frankenmuth, who’s shopped at Rapunzel’s for at least 20 years, says, “They’re always willing to help you finish your special project.”

Groups from Canada, colleges and knitting clubs throughout Michigan often frequent the shop. “We start getting very busy in October, and that business continues on after the first of the year, adds Ruggirello. “Groups should call the main number (989 652-0464) to schedule a demonstration for their group.”

Ruggirello learned to knit in third grade as a member of the 4H Club, and later studied textile design at Western Michigan University, which may explain why Rapunzel’s is also known for its fashion knitting. The shop hosts a fashion and trunk show about twice a year.

Lansing artist and teacher Jane Reiter describes their knitted garments and accessories as “contemporary, chic, upscale smart and in vogue – not old school.”

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit Crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, or

Contact Rapunzel’s Unique Gifts and Yarns (664 South Main, Frankenmuth) at, on Facebook or (989) 652-0464.