I have another Korean yarn shopping experience to share with you today - this one is quite different from the underground market in Seoul. It's in Suwon and it's a real, modern store at street level.
A lot of people who are about to move here fret about where they will find good yarn - and while it's true that we don't have Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joanne, or any place like that (that I know of) there are options! You may not be able to find Red Heart or Caron, but is that really a bad thing?
Living in a new country requires a lot of adjusting, to things you might never have much thought before. (Remind me to tell you about my panic attack at the grocery store...) Luckily yarn has a language of its own, largely communicated through color and texture. Even if you can't read Korean (although you really should learn; it's not as hard as you'd think), It's not hard to locate the price or give the skein a little squeeze. Most even have information on the labels about the fiber content and weight, even if you do have to use Google Translate or Papago.
Be sure to get the cheat sheet through the form below. Even I reference it often while I'm shopping.
Why is it my favorite place to buy yarn in Korea?
This is your place if you want to have a lot of options of different kinds of yarn in large quantities of each one. It's very well-organized and well-lit!
There is plenty of aisle space between all the shelves, so it doen't have that crowded, claustrophobia-inducing environment that we find so much of the time. You can breathe a huge sigh of relief about that!
They've got a wide range, from lighter weights to very thick, more novelty type yarns. They've got some fairly well-known brands and some you probably havent't heard of but are still very nice. And of course there are also your rough and tough workhorse yarns too. I've noticed a lot of the nice yarns that I find in Korea are from Turkey.
More than just yarn
This store also has quite a bit of notions and extra things to help you complete your projects: laces and cords, different needles and hooks, and they've got a lot of buttons and fasteners.
This is where I got the yarn for my Scotty Sweater, which I love. The "mohair" as I discussed in my other post, was from the underground market and all of the rest is from Namsung Mosa! I ended up going with periwinkle blue, white, and brown.
I took advantage of bright lighting and natural light by the window in the store and photographed all of the different colors of yarn next to each other, because I realized the colors I initially wanted, didn't offer enough contrast to maintain the integrity of this pattern.
See how once you turn a photo black and white, some colors that are very different suddenly look exactly the same? I didn't want a harsh contrast, but still needed 3 different "values." Value is the term for the lightness or darkness of a color, regardless of hue. The idea is that even if someone is colorblind, they will still be able to see the pattern you've created with color.
How to get there:
Copy and paste this address into Kakao:
경기 수원시 팔달구 수원천로 246 (우)16245지번지동 418-3
Or you can paste this phone number into Naver: 031-255-6700
It's not really near any subway stations, so if you do ride the subway to get there, I think your best bet would be to take Line 1 to Suwon Station and then hop on a bus or a taxi from there to get the rest of the way. I don't have any experience riding buses in Korea, so I can't tell you what that's like, but since I have a car, I just drive there. By car, it's about 45 minutes from Camp Humphreys and about 30 from Osan Air Base. (unless it's rush hour, then plan on it taking twice as long.)
There is a basement parking garage right by it. Warning, though: if you are a foreigner and you don't have Korean credit cards or banking cards, you won't be able to pay at the kiosk. It's unmanned and doesn't take cash. The first time I went, I think I was quick enough that there was no fee, or maybe the kiosk just wasn't working that day, and the second time I went, it was only 500 Won, but it wouldn't accept my foreign credit card.
I started getting really stressed out because there was a line behind me, and I hate it when people are having to wait on me because I'm dumb. Then this really nice family saw me struggling and told me what the problem was and then they just paid for it with their own credit card. I tried to give them 500 Won (less than 50 US cents), but they wouldn't take it. There are a lot of really good people in this country and I thought that was very sweet that they helped me, although they may have just been impatient and wanted me to get out of their way...
Even though it takes a bit of effort for me to get there, and traffic in Suwon can be BAD, this is my favorite place to go when I need a good amount of a good yarn. There's another store in Cheonan that I like, and if you would be interested in learning about that one as well, let me know!
Bonus: A Food Market!
And right down the street from this store is my favorite food market that I've been to so far in Korea. I like it better than Tongbok Market in Pyeongtaek, and the ones I've been to in Seoul; I think because it's further away from touristy areas or heavily populated-by-American areas.