And then there was the older woman who walked in with a plastic grocery bag. She was looking for advice and no other store could help her, she said, pulling from the bag an infinity-style circular scarf made of a particularly fine yarn. It was a gift from a friend, and she wanted to do something like that, but she didn’t know how to replicate a key touch in the knitting. Pressley and Hainz photographed the scarf and promised to investigate.
These are just the kind of encounters Hainz was hoping for when she started planning the store last November. Originally from Baraboo, she had learned to crochet with her grandmother and made hats and sweaters for her Havanese dog throughout high school. In 2017, she moved to Madison, where the Wisconsin Craft Market in Westgate Mall became her favorite place for supplies. But when it closed in March 2020, Hainz was not happy with the alternatives.
Sometimes she made her way from her house in the city center to The Sow’s Ear in Verona, but when she only needed one more skein of yarn to complete a project, the long journey seemed excessive to her. She tried ordering online, but struggled to choose yarn without touching it or seeing it in person, after spending $ 200 to load yarn only to find the color wasn’t what she thought it was . In the era of COVID, there has been no turning back.
“I was like, ‘I can’t be the only person with this problem,’” Hainz said. Why, she wondered, were all the yarn stores in West Madison or in the suburbs? And how did the artisans without cars get what they needed?