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  • Writer's pictureBecca Norman

Seoul's Underground Yarn Market

Updated: Feb 20

I got to go on a fun trip into Seoul with my husband when some friends agreed to watch our kids for us. In case you’re new here, Hi! I’m American but have lived in Korea for about 2 and a half years. I don’t go to Seoul a lot, but it’s not hard to have a completely different experience every time.

This time my husband was excited to take me to a hidden yarn market he accidentally found on a trip without me. He called me that day and said I HAD to go there. He saved the location and took me the first chance we got. Sweet, right? I know.

But first, baffle.

If you haven’t watched all the Street Food iterations on Netflix, Do it. Because we’re in Korea, we particularly enjoyed the Korea episode of Street Food Asia. We took my parents to get the knife-cut noodles (delicious, and the lady making them is a delight.) The Baked Baffle was a little more elusive. It was harder to find and we went at least twice to find that the stand was closed. It was on the way to the yarn market so we tried again and finally it was open!

Baffle stand location:

Address: 서울 종로구 종로6가 314-15 (a quick walk from Dongdaemun Station, where subway lines 1 and 4 converge)

JP thought it was amazing and I thought it was okay. Do with that what you will.

The Underground Shopping Center

After that, we headed to the main attraction. One of the most fascinating things about Korea for me is the crazy amount of underground places that exist. Some have flashy signs and some look like nothing. This one is just some stairs that lead down from street level. It feels like walking into a bomb shelter but suddenly you’re in this hidden world full of yarn, records, antique cameras, jewelry stores, and clothing boutiques. Obviously I was there for the yarn.

Shelves filled with many shades of brightly colored yarns.
The outer display of just one of the stores in this shopping center.
Shopping center location:

Address: 서울 중구 소공로 지하 58 (우)04535 (halfway between Hoehyun Station and Myeongdong Station on subway line 4)

Keeping it under control

I of course had specific yarn needs for specific projects. I’m still dedicated to intentional yarn habits. See this blog entry. I needed yarn for a sweater in my queue and also for a collection of stuffed animals. I had noted weights, amounts, and desired colors, so I knew what to look for. This is a pracitce I highly recommend. It helps keep you from spending too much money on yarns you don’t know what to do with.

I was successful in finding yarns for the stuffed animals, but had a hard time finding enough for a whole solid-color sweater. The most I saw of any one yarn was 3 skeins per color. I bought 3 skeins of a periwinkly blue mohair-type yarn and was nervous because I didn’t see the yardage on the label and wasn’t sure it would be quite enough.

I used it all up and ended up having to do a couple rows without it on the inside of the collar, but it was okay because I was stranding it alongside 2 strands of another yarn.

It was quite the adventure and I got a little overstimulated and sweaty in there, but am happy with most of my purchases. One I thought was another mohair-type yarn but it turned out to be the shiny stuff they use for scrubbies that I can’t stand. Oh well.

Vinyl Records!

After I had my fill of yarn, I found my husband digging through records, something we both share a love for. He was really excited about Jouney’s “Frontiers” LP for only 10,000 KRW. (That’s about $9)

I looked with him for a while and we ended up leaving with the Journey album, Eric Clapton Unplugged, Jim Croce, and Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” Japanese pressing! All very enjoyable, minus a surprisingly offensive song from Sir Elton.

There wers SO many, pretty much all in great condition. They were’t priced cheap but for the most part it was reasonable. I really wanted to get a good retro Korean pop album, but to be honest, I didn’t know where to start. I need recommendations. I’m talking pre-1990, preferably.

I bet you wouldn’t expect to see an Andy Griffith cassette tape in Korea!


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