The Fiber Lab is a bright and cheery fabric and yarn shop in historic downtown Menomonie. We specialize in 100% cotton quilting fabrics in a variety modern prints and colors as well as high quality yarns for the handknitter and crocheter.
Fulfilling a Dream and Coming Full Circle
Kris and Trent Isaacson took over the Thread Lab and re-opened the doors as the Fiber Lab on June 1, 2023. Kris is the face of the shop and Trent is, as he puts it, the not-so-silent, sarcastic, and supportive partner. For Kris, owning the Fiber Lab is fulfilling a lifelong dream.
A Childhood Love
Kris has been a lifelong textile and fiber enthusiast. She started hand-sewing clothes for her Barbies and stuffed animals as a little girl from scrap pieces of fabric. At around the age of 8 Kris also took up her first pair of knitting needles. She learned how to knit by reading a vintage booklet — it belonged her mom and was probably from the 1950s or 60s — that had illustrated instructions on how to knit, crochet and tat. In the 9th grade Kris completed her first sweater, an Aran style cardigan, for which she won grand prize at the Le Sueur County Fair in Minnesota. She has since gone on to win more blue ribbons at county fairs and even a couple of third place ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair.
Laying the Foundation
By the time Kris graduated high school she was designing and sewing nearly her entire wardrobe. She also knew exactly what she wanted to be — a famous fashion designer in New York City. Mighty big ambitions for a girl from rural Minnesota. Instead, she chose to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie to pursue Apparel Design & Manufacturing. She worked as an assistant designer and product designer for a number of years before shifting gears into graphic design and ultimately into web design and digital marketing.
Seeds of a Dream
Somewhere in the early part of the 21st century Kris and Trent were living in Central Minnesota. Despite no longer working in the apparel design industry, Kris continued to knit and play with fiber, including designing knitting patterns, learning how to spin fiber on a wheel, and starting a local knitting group called the Knits of the Roundtable that met at a local coffee shop. She also began investigating what it would take to open a yarn shop in downtown St. Cloud, Minnesota. The timing was not right and the idea got put on hold.
The Move to Menomonie
In 2012 Kris decided to pursue a Ph.D. with aspirations of teaching in higher education. As she was nearing the end of her degree she accepted a position in 2016 to teach in the brand new Digital Marketing Technology program at UW-Stout. It was a homecoming of sorts for Kris, and she and Trent embraced Menomonie as their new hometown. Still a consummate fiber enthusiast, Kris jumped at the chance to own a fabric and yarn shop. It's as if every part of her career path has led her to this very point where she now gets to play with fabric and yarn for a living.
And even better ... she gets to continually learn new things and share her enthusiasm with others. Not to mention she also gets to be a creative enabler — whether fabric or yarn.