Handmade: Unwind and connect inside the Knitters Nest

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

It’s called the Knitters Nest, but crocheters are more than welcome to join the stitching and “fiberlicious” fun going on inside the Clarkston yarn shop, at 5922 S. Main, which opened just over six months ago.

Owners and longtime “knitting friends” Levon Shook, 52, and Muriel Shelswell, 59, both Clarkston residents, decided, as empty-nesters, to pursue a business venture together — one that would allow them to unwind with their favorite pastimes, as well as share them with women of all ages.

“We actually knitted together years ago in a group,” said Shook, “and felt there was a need for a place for knitters and crocheters to gather. We really like the inter-generational groups — women of all ages coming together. That was our primary reason.”

Shelswell added, “We opened the shop wanting to be part of the community, and make it a community of knitters. We have a large front table, and people are welcome to come in and knit anytime. As we get older, I feel as though women need other women, and we need the camaraderie of being with other women.”

“Trying to figure it all out” as first-time business owners, both Shook and Shelswell are delighted to be surrounded by so many yarn enthusiasts, while enjoying the relaxation and mutual friendships that come with owning such a business. Shook said in the short time the shop has been open, they’ve already created a “nice community” of knitters and crocheters.

The business partners are knitters who only dabble in crocheting. Shook became hooked on knitting when she picked up the skills at a local yarn shop about 15 years ago, when her “children were in the hockey arena five days a week.”

Shelswell, who moved here from New Finland, Canada, in 1995 because of her husband’s work in the automotive industry, learned to knit at the hands of her mother when she was just 9, and now, having access to so many kinds of yarn keeps her inspired. “I get to be around all this wonderful yarn, and you want to knit with all of it. I need to learn how to knit in my sleep,” she laughed.

Among favorite brands that fill their shelves are Blue Sky Fiber Yarns, Melabrigo, Fibre Company Yarn, Shepherd’s Wool, Plymouth Yarn, the Knitted Wit, Mirasol, and several hand-dyed yarns from across Michigan.

Unique items sold at the shop include handmade beaded stitch-markers and project bags, both made by local crafters.

In addition to women of all ages, including those in their early 20s, the Knitter’s Nest also has a few men who frequent the shop, but, Shook said, they “haven’t been able to entice them to join the group.”

Parking at the Knitters Nest is easy and convenient. “We have our own lot right out front,” said Shook. “It’s really nice and accessible parking. We are on Main street, but we are not in the downtown couple blocks where all the restaurants are. We’re just west of downtown Clarkston.”

Once inside the shop, which is just under 1,000 square feet, customers can participate in activities that vary, depending on the day and whether a special event is planned. Among them are drop-in workshops, a free “Sip and Stitch” with multiple generations of about 20 yarn enthusiasts, knitting classes, charity knitting, youth knitting for ages 10 and older, crocheting classes and project classes on techniques and colorwork.

Shook and Shelswell are the only two working at the shop, and they each teach knitting, however, when it comes to crocheting classes, they bring instructors in. And, with two “good size tables,” Shelswell said, there’s room to seat 20.

Customers are encouraged to stop by any day on their lunch hour, have a cup of tea and show what they’re knitting or crocheting.

Hours of operation for the Knitters Nest are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed., Thurs., and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fri., Sat. The shop is closed Sun. and Mon.

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

Contact the Knitters Nest (5922 S. Main, Clarkston) at (248) 707-6442, or on Facebook. Email: