Amazing Lace: Roadblock Philly LYSs

A Roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform. In this Roadblock, that team member must scout the city of Philadelphia to find new sock yarn. Minty took this challenge for her team on Friday, hoping for the best with all the walking even after hurting her back at yoga in the morning. See the route she took here.

The search begins at Sophie’s Yarns, where all yarn searches begin. (Minty lives nearby.) They never end here, however, as the selection is slim and sock yarn in short supply. The owner is incredibly nice and friendly, always interested in what you’re working on (or leaves you perfectly well alone if you want), and she also seems to have a commitment to learning about the business practices of all the yarn companies she carries, opting to keep those with good ethics and not reorder from those whose practices are questionable. All laudable qualities. But the selection simply isn’t there. Two aggressively friendly store cats are pleasant, but for those with allergies (Minty is very allergic to cats), it’s not always welcome. Minty stopped in but was on her way soon thereafter.

Sophie's Yarns

From here, it was a trek west, to get to Loop. Minty went a little out of her way by walking down Lombard, mostly because there’s a lot of construction going on on South Street, but also because Lombard is nicer than South.


Minty can’t think of a single negative thing to say about Loop. The space is perfect. Lots of yarn, lots of selection, a crisp, clean, white interior with friendly and hands-off staff who also are engaging to chat with. Minty dropped her credit card on the counter and walked off with five skeins of yarn, all sock yarn (not all destined to be lace socks, however). Her love for this store doesn’t wane with repeated visits, and she would like to start going there to knit but finds that whole thing intimidating and it’s a lot farther away than the couch in the living room. She was making incredible progress on this Roadblock, but still had one more yarn shop to go, Rosie’s Yarn Cellar, just a few blocks north of Loop.

Rosie's Yarn Cellar

Rosie’s has a very good selection for its incredibly small size, but it always feels a bit dingy to Minty. She noticed that they now have hardwood floors, which was nice to see—Minty rarely goes to Rosie’s, and the last time she was there the floors were carpet. The sock yarn selection didn’t feel as extensive as at Loop, though interestingly the Koigu was $1 cheaper at Rosie’s ($11 rather than $12). Minty regretted spending the extra $2 but ultimately enjoyed the experience at Loop so much more, it was OK. Minty left with only a backissue of Interweave Knits—the winter one with Embossed Leaves in it. She’d searched though the other yarn stores, even Vagabond (a delightful boutique that sells nice yarns and some notions in addition to fabulous clothing—Minty bought the bridesmaid dress she wore two weeks ago there) and not been able to find that one. Old IKs were plentiful around the city, but not that issue. Note that Rosie’s did not discount the backissue, which Sophie’s does. The one woman working at Rosie’s was uninterested in chatting, despite Minty’s mild attempt. The environment didn’t feel particularly welcoming.

Minty raced back home, this time in a cab, because the sky opened up and rain came tumbling out of the sky. Her back was feeling fine, thankfully! She produced her skeins . . .

koigu sock yarn lorna's laces shepherd sock in turquoise lorna's laces shepherd sock in mineshaft

. . . and was handed the next clue:

Finish knitting your first pair of socks, and proceed to the first Pit Stop!

5 Responses to Amazing Lace: Roadblock Philly LYSs

  1. Ashley says:

    I love it! You have the exact tone down pat–TAR should hire you as a writer!

    Sophie’s is the only Philly yarn store I’ve been to–I wandered by it when I was at a conference last year and, naturally, ducked inside instead of going to the panel I was supposed to be attending (And when I say wandered by I mean figured out how to get there from the convention center and ever-so-innocently guided my wandering companions in that direction). I was instant BFFs with the cats, but my first thought was, “wow, this would suck if you were allergic to cats!”

  2. amylovie says:

    I’m surprised to hear that stores in your area don’t carry a lot of sock yarn. It flys off the shelves here in Texas.

    I did cut my hair. It is taking me a while to get used to.


  3. Lolly says:

    I love hearing about your adventures, and learning more about the Philly yarn shops too! I really must come up for a visit! Lovely new skeins you have there, girl!

  4. Rachel says:

    Wow, next time I find myself in Philly I’ll have to retrace your yarn store steps! Sounds like a fun day, and I’m impressed you kept yourself so in check purchase-wise.

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