Artisan Knitworks Moves to Chelsea
Hand-spun yarns from a husband-and-wife team
by Shelley Daily
From the September, 2017 issue
Larry Hart and Sandra VanBurkleo are moving their yarn shop, Artisan Knitworks, from Farmington to downtown Chelsea, with plans to open soon after Labor Day. Their newly renovated Main St. storefront, once the VFW hall, now features gleaming hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, and "doesn't smell like beer or cigars at all," jokes Hart. He says the store has "probably the largest selection in the Midwest" of hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns.
The couple opened the store a decade ago in Grosse Pointe Park and moved to Farmington four years ago. When they discovered the vacancy in Chelsea, Hart says they realized "good spots are rare" and they wanted to "be part of a community that cares about its businesses." Farmington, he laments, is "becoming all restaurants and hair and nail salons." In Chelsea's downtown, "There are people out on the street! You can actually buy a pair of men's shoes!" They are so smitten that they are looking for a home in Chelsea.
VanBurkleo is the knitter in the family, explains Hart, and she's also a full-time professor of legal and constitutional history at Wayne State. His own background is in advertising and photography; he'll sell some of his photographs at the shop as well as handle day-to-day operations.
In addition to yarn, they'll sell a large selection of artisanal, vintage, and handmade buttons and fasteners, fiber-related books, and vintage jewelry from the Victorian era to the 1960s. "We have well-known teachers come in to teach dyeing, knitting, and crocheting," Hart says.
Hart,who calls himself a "a knit one, curse two" kind of knitter, adds that they'll offer lessons to newbies as well: "As basic as, 'This is the yarn and this is the needle. Don't put the pointy end in your ear,'" he laughs.
Artisan Knitworks, 105 N. Main St., Chelsea. 562-2682. Plans to open after Labor Day. Initial hours probably late morning to early evening daily, changing "as we become more aware of the needs of the market." artisanknitworks.com
[Originally published in September, 2017.]
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