Our little Wednesday afternoon knitting group made a field trip to the beautiful hilly area near Madison that was missed by the last glacier. We visited 3 fiber shops and 2 places for food and came away very satisfied.
First stop was the Sow's Ear in Verona. It seems to be the most popular yarn store in Madison even though it's not actually in Madison. A big plus is that it has coffee and food; it claims to be the first place in the Midwest to combine a yarn store with a coffee shop. It's a brilliant concept. I hadn't eaten there before other than grabbing a smoothie after a bike ride. (In a striking coincidence, many of our bike rides start and end near the Sow's Ear.) We enjoyed our lunch and then did a little yarn shopping. I did a little stash enhancement, buying some yarn for a double knitting project I have in mind. For me, the key thing about my stash is having lots of colors in a few specific weights of yarn. I'm afraid I've started a collection of DK alpaca and add to it whenever I see a color I like.
We continued on to Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, a few miles outside of Mount Horeb. We had an appointment with Anne, one of the owners, for a tour of the mill. Anne answered all our questions as she explained taking the raw wool through the entire yarn production process including dyeing it.
Just a few doors away is a fairly new yarn store The Cat and Crow. We met and chatted with the two owners, Mo and Rebecca, who are both very welcoming. They have a nice selection of yarn, including lots of llama in natural colors. I scored some Rowen 2 ply jumper yarn in their stash exchange basket. You can take in yarn with ball bands and get a store credit for it or you can buy something from a basket for a very reasonable $2.50 a ball. Isn't that a great idea?