We go bargain hunting.

On Monday Smokey had an appointment at the VA clinic in Rice Lake, a smallish city (pop. 8,320) about 40 miles from here. (If the name sounds familiar it is because of the news story several years ago about the Vietnamese deer hunter from St. Paul who killed several local deer hunters there with an automatic weapon. Very sad story.)


After his appointment, during which I knit happily on the multicolored striped raglan and finished listening to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers (excellent, btw), we had a generous lunch — actually over-generous — at a Chinese buffet and headed home.

On the way out of town I remembered that I wanted to check out this place.

1 sign 

I don't usually patronize places like this — too much junk — but a friend had told me they had dishcloth cotton and other yarn, so I wanted to see what they had.

It was huge inside, much bigger than I expected. This was about a third of the store.

2 store 

Need a seat for your tractor?

4 seats 

How about an unmarked cookbook? Hardworking lawn gnome who brings his own shovel?

3 cookbooks 5 gnomes

Do-it-yourself dental equipment, under two dollars!

10 dental

Oooh, a sparkly!

8 sparkles 

The craft section was as big as the part in the second photo above. There were buttons, but not for playing.

9-2 buttons 

And beads. Apparently it was okay to play in the beads.

10 beads 

The yarn section was generous, but very disappointing. So disappointing, in fact, that I didn't bother to take a photo.

I do not think there is any justification for calling an acrylic/polyester blend eco-anything; I don't care if some of it is recycled.

6 yarn 6-1 yarn

The only wool yarn they had was Lopi and Lite Lopi, two yarns that are horrible in the hand. Several years ago I knit a Dulaan pullover of Lite Lopi and hated the feel of it; Lit Lopi = twine, imnsho.

7-1 lopi 7-2 lopi 

Clara Parkes says it is good for outerwear, which is probably true. Harsh yarn = hard-wearing garment. In any case, the Lopi appears to be at least a dollar per skein cheaper here than elsewhere. There was one more stack of bins of earth tones — browns, gray, white, black. If anybody needs some Lopi, Bargain Bill's in Rice Lake is your kinda place!

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0 Responses to We go bargain hunting.

  1. sparrowgrass says:

    Hey, I’ve been there!! My mom and I visited friends in Ely last summer, and we stopped in Bargain Bills on the way home, just to stretch our legs.
    Seems like we bought a couple of bargains, but I don’t remember what.

  2. sparrowgrass says:

    I thought you were way east of our route, or we would have called!!

  3. Chris says:

    Lopi felts well, although it ends up a bit shaggy.

  4. marianne says:

    I would’ve been sorely tempted to bring home a gnome or two, hey, hardworking with his own shovel? (!!)
    I must be one of the odd balls, I’ve enjoyed Lopi, and you’re right, not so much fun to knit with it but with a proper bath I find it softens tremendously and yes, sturdy. and warm.

  5. cursingmama says:

    I can’t make it through Axman with out having someone (Mr.M, Gameboy or ThePrincess) begging me to buy something – ANYTHING. I try to avoid that place like the plague. Not that I come in contact with the plague all to often.

  6. Cookie says:

    Oh my. That’s the sort of place I would lose my mind in. o.O
    So what did you get? And how long did you wander around? 😀

  7. k says:

    Beads and buttons. Any bows? I suppose you make your own out of the SPARKLY!
    I’m not sure, but that might be where they have the Aldy’s grocery store that a friend swears by. Hmm. Go for the groceries, stay for the buttons?

  8. Erika says:

    1. I love Chinese buffets LOVE LOVE LOVE. The one in the nearby town has potstickers!
    2. I actually DO need a tractor seat, how sad is that? The neighbor’s dogs ate the seat right off the riding lawnmower.
    3. That place might have been the inspiration for the similar location in American Gods, with the snowman kit (“just add snow!”) where Wednesday buys his disguise!

  9. Vicki says:

    I’ve been to Bargain Bill’s, too! It’s a stone’s throw from my sister’s — and appears to change a lot, with departments expanding and shrinking, moving into other buildings, then back into the main. I haven’t been there in quite a few years, though — and that’s OK. I am easy overwhelmed in places like that. (…and is that a good price for a tractor seat??) (I can’t help but wonder.)

  10. soxanne says:

    I want to play in the button bin.
    (what airport is the closest for Rice Lake?)

  11. Kym says:

    We have a place like Bargain Bill’s nearby — it’s called B&G Discount and their “tagline” is “tools, tarps, gloves & more.” Bet they have tractor seats, too. . . (included in “& more”).

  12. lisa says:

    I don’t mind Lopi, but not for near my face or next to my skin… So, like Clara says, outerwear… It’s light and something about its fiber makes it especially water repellent. However it is single ply and pills a bit.
    I’m amazed people can’t play in the buttons (presumably plastic) but the beads are OK (they look like glass)…

  13. gayle says:

    I work in a similar kind of store – but we don’t have a craft section. (No buttons. No beads. *sigh*)
    Though we did get in tons of Lion Brand Wool at one point. (I bought a LOT…)

  14. marylou says:

    Rice Lake, here I come. Looks like the AxeMan on steroids.

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