During our time up north, I convinced Jim to extend our already long drive home by an extra hour so we could go through East Jordan, Michigan and make a stop at the Stonehedge Farm and Fiber Mill. I've long been a fan of their Shepherd's Wool line of yarn, which is sold at yarn stores across the country. My local independent yarn store has a large selection, and I stocked up on it last winter during a sale. During our vacation, I finished a vest for Gram in Stonehedge ivy, so it seemed fitting that we would make a pilgrimage to the mill during this trip.
East Jordan was about an hour south of where we were staying, where the Jordan River empties into Lake Charlevoix. Jim pointed out that the town is home to the East Jordan Iron Works, a company that makes fire hydrants and manhole covers for municipalities all over the country.
The manhole covers the company makes for East Jordan itself are really cute:
We drove a few miles out of town and found the Stonehedge Fiber Mill and farm on a lovely hillside.
The best part about visiting the yarn shop and fiber mill was talking with Debbie McDermott, the owner. Years ago she and her husband moved up north to retire and keep horses, and slowly Debbie's passion for knitting and making yarn took over, and now the couple has sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens (in addition to their three horses). Debbie's husband is retired from GM, and he makes the mill's machinery and even sells the tools he makes to other operations.
Like most fiber mills still operating in the United States, Stonehedge offers a variety of services in addition to the spinning of their own yarn. They will card and spin your fiber for you in addition to turning the wool they buy from other sheep farmers into yarn. Inside the yarn shop, I was treated to the full array of colors available in the Shepherd's Wool line of yarn that's available in yarn shops from California to Maine:
The yarn store also carried un-dyed yarns spun from wool taken only from the animals at the farm. The label listed the name of each animal used for the yarn, which was an adorable and irresistible touch. How could I not buy three of each skein?
The yarn store also had yarn spun from the mill's "ends." Debbie takes the fibers, bits and pieces of what is left over from spinning jobs, and spins it all into "mill ends." I'm still a new knitter, but I'd never seen anything like it. It is ridiculously soft; holding this yarn in my hands helps takes the sting out of the end of summer, and makes me look forward to winter just a little bit.
I bought enough yarn to complete quite a few projects that I hope to share with you as winter approaches. After I made my purchase, Debbie let us wander around the farm a bit, and for a few moments I allowed myself to imagine us retiring to a nice little sheep farm in the hills.