CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GONZALEZ
Mention needing crochet or knitting supplies to anyone and you are immediately directed to Dongdaemun fabric market. It is the pinnacle of all things crafty, but if you’re like me, conditions have to be just perfect for you to venture inside the belly of the beast. You have to be kid-free on a weekday for starters. If this is a rarity for you as well, try Hoehyun underground shopping mall. It is an odd shopping arcade with lots of vinyl records, coins, cameras, antiques, and (best of all) yarn.
If you dig around the internet, you will find a reference to yarn shopping at Myeongdong underground mall. This is incorrect. Yarn shops are in Hoehyun underground mall, which is sandwiched between Myeongdong and Namdaemun market beneath Shinsegae Department Store. In fact, the easiest way to get there is through Shinsegae’s food court in the basement.
As you enter from the food court, head straight behind the first row of shops. There’s a little atrium area with benches and plants, and on the far right corner is a yarn shop! I find this shop to be great for sari silk yarn, weaving supplies, and threads for lace work. Its yarn selection is organized by color and is practically drool-worthy.
Continue further down the same aisle of shops to find another favorite yarn shop. I find this vendor is best for accessories–leather purse bottoms, bag handles, and buttons. There’s a big sale bin outside the store that’s always worth a gander. I also get t-shirt yarn there for ₩9,000. This shop is pretty big with a selection to match.
Once you’re ready for a break, find Cobanul Café near exit 9. It is on the left corner of the first row of shops after the food court exit. This yarn café is adorably decorated with yarn. The owner was knitting at a table when I walked in, and finished pieces are on display throughout the café. Yarn, needles, and hooks are for sale. I found the yarn to be slightly more expensive here compared to the other shops, but I did snag a cute hat kit for ₩15,000.
I usually finish a trip to the Hoehyun yarn shops with lunch at the Shinsegae food court, partly because it’s where the closest bathrooms are, but also because the selection is great. I can personally recommend the udon at the Noodle Bar, but choices include deli sandwiches, pizza, sushi, Korean fare, burgers, and ice cream. Avoid weekend lunch hours if you want a seat. however.
Yarn Shopping at Hoehyun Underground Mall, Seoul
Payment: credit card or won accepted
Hours: 9:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. everyday. Closed first and third Sunday of every month.
Address: 58 Sogong-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
GPS Coordinates: 37.56055569999999, 126.9818186
Directions: Take subway line 4 to Hoehyeon station. Follow exit 7 to the Shinsegae tunnel. You will enter the mall on the back side of the food court at Johnny Rockets. Weave through the food court, staying generally to the right, until you get to the entrance of Hoehyun underground mall. There are also street entrances to the underground shopping outside Shinsegae Department store.