Handmade: Close friends take love of knitting on the road

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News
The pals on their two-day ‘yarn crawl’ along I-75,  from left, Joyce Ford, Mierial Gage, Betty Robinson, Pat Sabedra, Sue Paige and Elaine Ouellette.

There are many things in life that bring people together, and sometimes closely-knit relationships are formed. Community knitting can be one such enriching circumstance, and you just never know what road it'll lead you on! 

Mierial Gage of Goodrich, Sue Paige (Lapeer), Pat Sabedra (Davison), Joyce Ford, Davison, and Elaine Ouellette (Grand Blanc) have knitted together once a week for the past 16 years as members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry at their church, St. John the Evengelist Catholic Church in Davison. And, over the years, the five have become good friends, often taking road trips to nearby yarn shops with Gage behind the wheel. 

Gage, who'd never heard of the I-75 Yarn Crawl until our recent correspondence, wrote me in April, saying, in part, "I am planning a two-day 'Yarn Shop Crawl' for our group of six. I am planning to visit shops on one side of I-75 one day, and shops on the other side of I-75 the second day. We will, of course, have our knitting bags with us and plan to sit at the community table in a couple of the shops to share and learn from the owners.

"So many of the shops you've written about sound so interesting, and that's what we want, the opportunity to experience, i.e. the shop (the Yarn Stop) that two gentlemen opened when one quit his job. I regret that I didn't save the articles in a notebook. Too late now. Can you help me out?"

As requested, I responded with a list of shops I've written about in this space over the past 12 years, and from there, the ladies chose 10 to visit -- namely, Skeins on Main (Rochester), Crafty Lady Trio (Macomb County), City Knits (Harrison Township), the Wool & The Floss (Grosse Pointe), the Knotted Needle (Grosse Pointe Woods), the Yarn Stop (Clawson), Ewe-Nique Knits (Royal Oak), Woolly&Co. (Birmingham), ...have you any Wool? (Berkley), and Fun with Fiber (Farmington Hills).

While on their two-day ‘yarn crawl’ along I-75, close friends, from left, Joyce Ford, Mierial Gage, Betty Robinson, Pat Sabedra, Sue Paige and Elaine Ouellette knit at Ewe-nique Knits in Royal Oak.

"I have lived and worked in Detroit, so I am very comfortable working my way around the city," noted Gage.

The trip was planned for June 11-12, and when Gage's sister, Betty Robinson, also a long-time knitting enthusiast, heard about it, she and her husband scheduled their three-week visit here from Greenville, North Carolina, around that time, so she could join the fun.

I suggested Gage call the shops days ahead to let them know they'd be coming, so as not to disrupt any classes or events that might be taking place at the time of their visit.  

Tuesday, the first day of the 200-mile round-trip trek, began with a delightful breakfast on the deck at Gage's house, where everyone enjoyed an egg bake, a potato bake and rhubarb muffins, all of which she prepared.The rhubarb had been freshly picked from her garden!

By 9 a.m., the six were on the road, comfortably seated in Gage's Escalade, and eagerly headed to their first stop -- Skeins on Main, followed by Crafty Lady Trio, City Knits, the Wool & the Floss, the Knotted Needle and finally, the Yarn Stop.

Gage had prepared a picnic lunch which they enjoyed along Lake St. Clair, a first-time visit to the Metropark for everyone except the driver. The meal consisted of "fancy" chicken salad on croissants, homemade butter biscuits, and a pina colada dessert served in mason jars (yummy!). Dinner was at the Clawson Grill, next door to the Yarn Stop. The day ended with an overnight stay at the Hampton Inn in Madison Heights, with "knitting friends sharing a special time together." 

Wednesday's schedule began with breakfast at the hotel, then on to Woolly&Co., Ewenique Knits, ...have you any Wool? and Fun with Fiber. Between shop hops, the ladies stopped for lunch at Vinsetta Garage, a popular grill in Berkley.

Many purchases were made, but not by everyone at all 10 shops. "One lady purchased an entire set of knitting needles, and several of us bought kits to make hats," said Gage. "I also purchased yarn to make my daughter a poncho, and I bought a stitch-counter to hang around my neck, tiny scissors, pattern books, and other needles."

Gage said the shop workers were all very welcoming, and several went out of their way to explain things. "Skeins on Main was very nice, and depending on the type of shop they have (that) was the area they focused on. Some gave a little bit of history on how they've grown over the years."

The group took time to sit and knit at several shops, and they were offered coffee at some.

Of course, yours truly couldn't help but ask -- "Which shop was favored most by all those in the group? Gage politely declined to answer, because "they were all so nice," however, she mentioned the Yarn Stop was "the most family-oriented." She said, "They actually have like a living room that's part of the yarn shop where people were knitting like it was their second home."

Because the trip was so enjoyable, Gage said, "This was the first of many annual 'yarn crawls' to come!" And, next time, she hopes to have more participants and, of course, more drivers.

Contact Mierial Gage at

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