Madison Wool, owned by Michele Cahill for the past four years opened under new ownership earlier this month — by Middletown's "Crafty Scientist" Dayna Mankowski, a creative craftsperson as well as a pharmacist.
Cahill explains, “There are so many other things I'd like to do; designing knitwear is one of them.” The new owner, she adds, “hand-spins and hand-dyes her own yarn AND she's a pharmacist!”
"She's so excited and I'm so excited for her," Cahill said.
Madison Wool opened May 1, 2007, in the back of 710 Boston Post Road, formerly the Madison Gourmet Beanery. "I quickly outgrew that space," Cahill said.
She admitted she had no idea she would make so many lifelong friends through her work. "I've made some of the best friends I've ever had," she said.
Had it not been for Madison Wool, she never would have entered, let alone won, the Skacel Knitting 2010 Design Contest, she said. "That inspired me to keep designing! The Seashore Duet, which was shown at the Madison Fashion Affair, will be showcased at The National Needlearts Association in June."
Cahill adds, "I am delighted that Dayna is the new owner of Madison Wool. She is extremely creative and brings her expertise as a spinner to the shop. It's my understanding that she occasionally spins until 2 or 3 a.m.!"
Mankowski attended graduate school for pharmacology and toxicology research. She worked full-time at several drug companies and in academia but wasn’t able to be as creative as she liked.
She opened the Crafty Scientist six years ago as a web-based business selling sewn items including tote bags and pillows, handspun yarn and hand felted items, plus pet items with the profits going to charity.
Mankowski said her life has gone from about an 80/20 science/craft ratio to 20/80. This ratio will continue to change with the purchase of Madison Wool.
“I spin like a fiend, knit, dabble in crochet, weave, and felt (both needle and wet felt). I am excited to host classes in not only knitting, but any craft that people would like to learn,” the new owner said.
The Middletown resident will hold two jobs, with the other being as a retail pharmacist at an independently owned pharmacy in Manchester.
“The only day I won’t be at the shop will be Saturday. I am in the process of lining up help for this day!”
Cahill and her husband, Tom look forward to retiring to Maine someday. Selling the shop is the first step toward their goal. In the meantime, she can be found on the Madison Patch as a columnist, with a column called .
Mankowski has always wanted to own her own shop, “and the timing was really perfect for this,” she said adding, “Michele has been so supportive and will continue to be as involved as she wants to be in the shop.”
Madison Wool will see a few changes. As Mankowski was able to get more space next to the shop, the area is currently being redone.
“I am going to fill it with fiber! I will be carrying spinning and weaving supplies, plus other surprises. New lines of yarn are coming too; I don’t want to forget my knitters!,” she said.
Mankowski started knitting seriously in the mid-nineties. She wanted to learn to make socks and sweaters. About five years ago, she learned to spin art yarn and has been “a prolific spinner but a sporadic knitter since.” She hopes to have more time to knit owning the shop.
Mankowski plans to offer all types of craft classes and would love to hear what people want to learn. Madison Wool will be open on Sundays so there will be more options for classes.
While she may not have received any awards for her knitting (yet), Mankowki’s yarn was at last year’s Golden Globes as Glee’s Josh Sussman was holding her yarn for the cameras.
Her husband Stephen will be involved in the shop. “We plan on having a small disc golf supply shop in the new fiber palace. He plans on trying to grow the sport in the greater Madison area. More to come,” she says.
Madison Wool is open on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Stitch and Beach after closing, or classes in afternoon), Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (drop in to knit, or classes at end of day), Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (standard late shopping day, plus classes), Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Stitch and Beach after closing), Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 4 p.m.
Sunday will be a special spinners day, but knitters/crafters in general are always welcome. The new fiber room will have a weigh and blend "batt bar" with specials on Sundays only. Classes can be scheduled as well.