Less than 2 miles from my house, about a 10-minute bike ride away, there’s a local yarn shop named Lakeside Fibers.
I was feeling a little cooped up today, so at lunch, I decided to pack up my laptop and go down there to look at buttons for my Cherry cardigan.
Let’s take a ride, shall we?
My house is on a tree-lined residential street in the Vilas neighborhood, a few blocks from UW-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium. Some fairly large and busy streets (Park and Regent) pass through the neighborhood. Park runs north-south and is lined with some interesting shops and restaurants as you go further down–a very large Asian grocery store that sells fresh durian, a tiny taqueria with whitewashed walls, an “Oriental Store” (I haven’t been in yet to figure out what, exactly, they sell–it doesn’t look like a grocery store), a South American handicrafts store, a Peruvian restaurant. Sadly, the Vietnamese restaurant called “I’M HERE” doesn’t seem to be there anymore, just its sign bearing false witness.
If you cross Park, heading east, you reach a bike trail that runs around the shores of Monona Bay, a round little pond of a thing scooped out from the much larger Lake Monona. It’s a beautiful place to ride, with mallard ducks and Canada geese resting in the shade on the banks, and an occasional muskrat making an appearance from among the rocks on the shore. Here’s a view looking across the bay towards the yarn store.
If you ride on this dedicated bike path, tiny private piers on your left, eclectic and doubtless very expensive houses on your right, you’ll eventually loop around till you meet Lakeside Drive. Turn left, and just before the railroad tracks you’ll see a tiny block of cute little shops. Lakeside Fibers is just up ahead, on the left, by the rainbow flag.
In one of the windows is a yarn bouquet.
Step inside, and there’s a table of the newest pattern booklets on the front table, and the most delicious luxury yarns all piled up high–Classic Elite cashmeres, Hanne Falkenberg kits, Shokay pure yak, glittery, beaded Prism yarns, Claudia hand-painted sock yarn… and on the back wall is a big Wheel O’ Berroco, just above a mega-sized ball winder and a box of partial skeins (no labels) on sale for $2 an ounce. The buttons are over to the left. (I didn’t find anything suitable, but they do have a nice selection.) The needles and pattern books are over to the right, and the single patterns are stowed in binders under the windows.
Here are some Mountain Colors handpaints…
and my favorite ones to look at, the Dream in Color “veil-dyed” yarns (the Shokay can be seen in the lower left-hand corner):
In the next room back, there are tons of Rowan yarns and a large selection of chunky and tweedy yarns along the left wall:
And finally, in the back, you reach the cafe, the Washington Hotel Coffee Room. There are couches here for knitting, and tables, and the walls are lined with yarn. The stairs lead down to a room of coned yarns for weavers and machine knitters.
The cafe serves lots of locally sourced and organic foods. I had a slice of onion and kale quiche with warm, seedy toasted buttermilk bread slathered with fresh butter, and later on, a big mug of hot chocolate.
On the back wall is their selection of Cascade 220. On the right, their sale yarns–among the good finds were some Habu kits and Muench Touch Me. There’s an outside wooden balcony with tables, too.
And, of course, sit down for a coffee and you get a beautiful view of a park and Monona Bay:
The wi-fi worked wonderfully, and I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening working there and looking out the window at the lake and the dogs playing fetch in the park. They played some Sufjan Stevens and some Sun Kil Moon. I approved.
(The two downsides I’ve found so far: the cafe is pretty expensive, and the train comes by periodically and makes noises like it’s about to burst through the wall of the yarn shop.)