Friday, June 12, 2009

On Yarn Safari in Wisconsin

I have so much blogging fodder on my hands right now that I might as well plunge in and not worry about the order of events. My friend Carol invited me to spend a few days with her mother and daughter at her parents' cabin in southern Wisconsin. The area around Madison is a knitter's mecca with several lovely yarn shops, each with its own particular flavor and style. But first, let's stop in downtown Stoughton at a wonderful Norwegian Bakery that has been in operation since 1949. Fosdal Home Bakery has the most amazing cookies and I'm sure everything else is wonderful also. My favorite cookies were the fruit bars and ice box. The fruit bars were spicy, chewy, and had raisins in them. They were rather like an old fashioned molasses cookie. Delicious! You can also special order Norwegian specialties such as rosettes, krumkaka, sandbakkels, fattigman, berlinerkranser, and lefse. Grab lunch here if you like. Carol is guarding the decorated cookie case.

Down a few doors from Fosdal's is Woodland Studios where you will find an array of knitting wools, silks, cottons, and supplies in addition to frames, jewelry, and other local arts. The owner was especially helpful when we found her kits for a ponchito, her own design using Ozark Handspun and Farmhouse Lumpy Bumpy. We spent quite a lot of time here and both of us purchased wool and patterns. Unfortunately, I did not take photos here, which is a shame, because it is definitely a shop worth visiting. The town of Stoughton is worth visiting with its shops and Scandinavian flavor.

The Sow's Ear has it all, touching all the senses with its color, texture, aromas, and sounds. Located in Verona WI, outside of Madison, this shop is in an old Victorian house, much like the one we lived in for 25 years, so I suppose that is why I immediately felt at home there. The front veranda has chairs for sittin' and knittin'. Roses and peonies spill out over the front. Tables on the lawn sport colorful umbrellas to shade folks as they eat, sip, and knit. We met a woman and little boy with a Japanese Chin puppy. Carol has one of these dogs so of course, a photo shoot was in order. Inside the house we were greeted by a friendly group of ladies sitting around a big wooden table knitting. They knit here every Thursday morning. I asked their permission to photograph for my blog and they said, "Sure, we love to be in things!" Comfortable sofas and chairs are on the periphery of the room. The Sow's Ear serves Ancora Coffee, the best in Madison (more on that later) and wonderful sandwiches. After spending quite some time wandering through the several rooms of yarns we settled down for sandwiches (tuna for me, chicken for Carol) both served on baquettes with a side salad. I think we spent about 3 hours in this shop. Truthfully, we could have stayed all day! We met two other knitters, Molly and Doreen, who I need to look up on Ravelry. Folks in Verona are mighty fortunate to have this yarn shop in their midst and they seem to know it. Everyone we talked to sang the praises of this shop.

What could make a day of Yarn Safari more perfect than ending it with piping on the lake?

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