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Korea, Japan, and US Yarn

Gonna be honest, crocheting and yarn/fiber arts is something that I am privileged to do. There are many Little Yarn Shops (LYS) around my city, as well as the Big Brand stores (Michaels, JoAnnes, Hobby Lobby, etc.). It was interesting to learn as I got older that these hobby shops are something that is not available in every country.

I recently took trips to Korea and Japan, and fiber art and textiles have a different culture there. ** Please note these are just my experiences and observations.


In Seoul, there are many different kinds of markets. Some are very tourist-y, some are selling clothes, textiles, yarn, etc. All the shops in the markets are fairly narrow and have items layered from floor to ceiling. It was incredible, their use of space! There was one market in particular that was a textile market. It unfortunately was closing when we got there, but looked to be many stories tall. Different floors had different textiles - quilting, batting, fabric. All kinds of sewing materials (I am not well versed in sewing if you couldn't tell). My favorite floor was in the basement and had shops and shops and shops of... you guessed it - YARN! It was so interesting - much of the yarn was packaged in bulk, but sold individually. There was a lot of cotton yarn, not much wool or animal fibers, and some acrylic. Many shops sold the same yarn, some at about the same price, and some differed. I ended up buying some undyed cotton yarn as well as some burnt orange and mustard yellow cotton yarn. Still haven't used it.....

I think the main difference I noticed was there weren't those Big Brand craft stores (from what I could tell) or at least not as widely available as in the U.S. and the fiber markets were much more geared toward bulk buyers. I couldn't tell if the market was for business or hobby, but it seemed like someplace people would go regularly for supplies


Japan had a Big Brand craft store. It too was a couple floors, but had a focus on sewing and fabric rather than yarn. I'm gonna be honest, when I visited that store I was focused on getting to the yarn and deciding what to buy rather than looking around at the other crafts they had to offer. I did notice that there is a bigger population of people that knit rather than crochet, and many Japanese people I talk to both here and family in Japan don't know that there is knitting and crocheting. Though honestly most people I talk to in general don't know the difference between knitting and crocheting.

I have also seen lots of books in Japanese about knitting, and very few about crocheting.

Both Korea and Japan don't have Little Yarn Shops (LYS), and I haven't seen any information about indie dyers in either country.

Where I live now, there are LYS all around. One is about 5 blocks from my house, another is a 10 minute drive from my moms. There's a few in Capitol Hill - pretty much every city has at least one. In the U.S. it seems there is a bigger market for hand-dyed and small batch yarn. I don't know if that is because of how different culture use the yarn, view hobbies, or something different entirely. I am thankful for the easy access to all kinds of yarn that living in the U.S. affords me. I had never really thought about the fact there are different perspectives on hobbies and yarn in different countries. I mean, it makes sense of course - different cultures = different perspectives. Yarn just wasn't really on my radar.

Anyone else been somewhere that hobbies or yarn is looked/used at differently? Leave a comment!

P.S. My favorite LYS are:

Mad Cow Yarn in Lake Forest Park

That Yarn Habit

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