“My yarn shop is your yarn shop,” said Linda Bayer Henningsen, whose shop My Yarn Shop is open now down a heavily wooded lane in Arbor Vitae along the banks of Faulker Lake.
My Yarn Shop, LLC, is a studio born both of passion and retirement — Henningsen has been knitting since she was nine years old. A Rhinelander native, Henningsen learned to knit under the table where her mother and friend, Dorothy “Dot” Kurlinski played cards. Kurlinski gave instructions to young Henningsen, who turned out first projects for her Barbie dolls and later, a pair of slippers for her grandmother.
As Henningsen grew older, she kept knitting, advancing to winter-wear for herself and family, including hats, mittens and scarves.
Her love of health care and teaching took Henningsen to and from her born and raised Northwoods roots for nearly 30 years. Having studied nursing and art therapy, she worked for Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff before the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Zablock Veterans Administration in Milwaukee, Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh and back to One Penny Place in Woodruff. In one position, Henningsen spent time with patients monitoring their heart rhythms, and teaching how to watch their own.
“That’s how I discovered I liked to teach others what I know,” Henningsen said. “The same applies to my knitting. I’m combining my retirement with a craft I really love. I have people get to know me and learn knitting — they can see what it can do that it did for me. That’s what I look forward to the most.”
Arbor Vitae was the perfect place for Henningsen and her husband, a disabled Vietnam veteran, Henningsen noted. The Veterans Administration aided in a grant and setting up the home with a ramp for the family’s needs. The cozy outside studio is the perfect place for Henningsen’s community niche, she indicated.
“This is home for me,” Henningsen said. “The best is yet to come.”
The studio of My Yarn Shop is filled with colorful and soft varieties of yarn, including alpaca and wool, roving and all types of affordable, unique knitting needles and hooks. Besides lessons, My Yarn Shop sells mittens, hats, patterns, poms and other accessories and offers visitors steamy, fragrant cups of tea, coffee or cocoa.
“It’s just a fun hobby for me, it’s a great stress reliever, which you need when you’re a caregiver,” Henningsen said. “It’s huge. Spinning, especially, makes me feel calm.”
Henningsen is married and the mother of three sons, all who live in Arbor Vitae. She has three granddaughters who knit — Bella, 12; Shelby, 10 and Emma, 3, who mimics knitting; and Hanna, 6, who dances, Henningsen said with a smile.
My Yarn Shop classes include “Beginning Knitting,” which are one-on-one lessons. Kids can learn as young as 7 or 8, and adults are never too old to learn, Henningsen promised.
“Introduction to Knitting Basics” is $30 for three lessons, with supplies available to purchase or one may bring their own. Lessons are 45 minutes each and include slip knot, cast on, knit stitch and onto purl stitch and combining the stitches and lastly increasing and decreasing stitches as well as bind off and a final project — possibly a simply hat, Henningsen offered.
“I have patterns, or bring in what you want to learn,” Henningsen said. “My Yarn Shop is your yarn shop, a studio, hands-on shop that invites you to stay awhile.”
Parents are asked to stay with their children and are encouraged to video them knitting to have for reference when practicing to do the stitches.
Future classes are expected to include spinning and fiber-dying.
To learn more, visit www.myyarnshopwi.com or call 920-385-8003 to reserve a seat.
My Yarn Shop is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, with open knitting Wednesday evenings 5 to 7 p.m. or by appointment. Kids are welcome to sit and knit Saturday afternoons from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
“Young knitters can work together and get additional support from each other,” Henningsen said.
Further, after school lessons are available in the shop, 11827 Sumach Lake Road in Arbor Vitae, minutes from downtown Woodruff. Henningsen reminds visitors to watch for deer, chickens, ducks, geese turkeys along the route.