The best knitting and fiber arts stores in Philly
Where to shop for yarn, needlepoint kits, crochet accessories, and more.
Among the fiber arts, needlepoint, and knitting stores in the Philadelphia area, there is a common theme: community.
Knitting, crochet, … these are all activities that you can do on your own. But they’re better when you can enjoy the camaraderie of crafting with others.
It’s not just the stores, though, it’s also the people behind the stores and the people they serve. They all seem to have an urge to connect with others. Lynn Landes founded Philly Knits, a meet-up group with over 2,400 members, in 2014. The group organizes meetings for knitting, crochet, and the fiber arts and invites others to share gatherings happening around town.
On the Philly Knits website, you can find listings of local knitting and crochet groups such as Sisters Interacting Through Stitches, which donates all of their creations, and BusyFingers, a group that creates scarves and hats for local charities.
If you want to learn how to knit, there are members of Philly Knits who will teach you. They’ve gone into schools to teach. They’ve volunteered at rehabilitation programs. And in 2021, they took to “yarn bombing” — a type of street art that uses colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn instead of paint or chalk — at places including Morris Arboretum, the Barnes Foundation, the Gayborhood, and Cianfrani Park. For Philly Knits, it’s all about artistic expression and spreading a love of fiber arts. “I wanted to share this joy with others,” says Landes. “It’s part of human nature to want to do something with your hands.”
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The prevalence of pandemic crafting projects only underscore how these types of activities can lift your mood, serve as an escape, keep your mind sharp, encourage creativity, and help form social connections.
Whether you’re already an experienced crafter or you’re looking to try your hand at something new, you’re bound to need some supplies. Here’s a list of some of the best knitting and crafting stores in the Philly area.
Unlike the other shops included in this list, Emani Milan isn’t an actual store. It’s a website with four yarn vending machines in the Philadelphia area. The concept was conceived by Emani Outterbridge (who goes by Emani Milan), a Black woman, Philadelphia native, crochet designer, entrepreneur, and influencer. She first learned to crochet at age of 12 while in a facility for adolescent girls. At 15, Outterbridge started a crochet fashion line, ManiwearByMani, which has been worn by Cardi B., Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Baby, and Drew Barrymore. Later, she created her own yarn line called Needles Designer Yarn, which offers super-soft eight-ply worsted weight acrylic yarn as well as cotton T-shirt yarn. You can purchase the yarn through her website or at one of the bright pink vending machines in the area. The site also offers crochet classes, patterns, and custom-made items.
Echo Valley Fiber
Gwen Coltrin opened Echo Valley Fiber in December 2016. It’s located in a 19th-century post office, where the original countertops and floors give the spot plenty of charm, while the shelving provides a ton of space for yarn. You can explore yarn from around the world along with a selection of accessories, bags, needles, and hooks for knitters and crocheters alike. If you’d like guidance with a project, sign up for a knitting help session through the website. Note: The store is undergoing renovations and will reopen on Sept. 27 — it will also open on Sept. 6 for a four-day preview week. Classes resume in October.
Laura Singewald and Craig Rosenfeld have been supplying yarns, classes, and tools to Center City (and beyond) for more than 17 years. The bright, modern store has everything you need for knitting and crochet. In addition to yarns from around the world, they have their own line of Loop yarns that they hand-dye right here in Philadelphia. They also carry yarns from Philadelphia fiber businesses such asLiverpool Yarns, Bogberry Designs, and Kelbourne Woolens.When talking about the friendly and knowledgeable staff and the relaxing vibe of the shop, Singewald, like other local yarn shop owners, stressed the importance of community: “Our space brings together an amazingly talented, creative, and supportive community of customers that keep us energized about the craft that we love so much!”
The Resource Exchange
The Resource Exchange is run by a team that’s passionate about sustainability and artistic expression. The nonprofit shop, gallery, and workshop sells donated goods to promote creative reuse and recycling of materials (they saved over 48,000 pounds of reusable materials from landfills in 2019). You can find everything from art supplies and fabric to yarn, lumber, theater scenery, and more. Everything is sold at a reduced cost — items are as much as half off regular retail prices. Shop thousands of items in the store or through the website. You can also donate materials.
Russell Palmer and Stephen Jancik opened Rittenhouse Needlepoint just off Rittenhouse Square in 2008. Since then, they moved to their current location near Reading Terminal to get more space for their growing selection of threads and canvases. Rittenhouse Needlepoint offers threads and supplies for all embroidery arts including needlepoint, crewelwork, cross-stitch, embroidery, and tatting. You’ll find cotton embroidery floss, merino wool, synthetic sparkles, silk, and a variety of blends. They also keep a variety of needlepoint canvases in stock. The shop has several artists on staff who can hand-paint a canvas just for you. Once you’ve stitched your piece, you will want to show it off: Rittenhouse’s finishing team of sewers and artists can take your canvas and turn it into handbags, eyeglass cases, pillows, acrylic trays, ornaments, and more.
Twist Knitting and Spinning
Twist Knitting and Spinning is located in Bucks County, just across from Peddler’s Village in Lahaska. The shop offers a wide variety of natural and one-of-a-kind hand-dyed yarns and spinning fibers, along with knitting needles, crochet hooks, spinning wheels, weaving tools, and other essentials. Twist offers classes in knitting, weaving, and spinning. And if you’d like to support a local crafter, you can browse the shop’s collection of beautiful scarves, cowls, wraps, dish towels, or blankets — all made by local weavers.
Liz Sytsma refers to her Mount Airy shop as “a community that believes in the magic of fiber craft,” a place that brings together people who share a vision of an imaginative and just world. You’ll find supplies for weaving, crochet, knitting, felting, spinning, dyeing, knotting, stitching, rug hooking, fleece processing, and more. Beyond that, you’ll find a welcoming space and group of people that believe in protecting the well-being of the fiber community, including the people, land, and animals that create the supplies. The shop’s owner and staffers promise in the website’s “Community Commitment” statement to use their responsibility and privilege as business owners to help others. This includes creating a physical space that is accessible and comfortable for all bodies and abilities and carrying size-inclusive patterns. They also created the Little Free Fiber Library in February 2020 — picture Little Free Libraries (those wooden boxes throughout communities where neighbors can exchange books), but with yarn and knitting supplies outside of the shop. Wild Hand also offers Little Free Fiber bundles through the website where you only pay for the shipping.
“At Yarnphoria, every effort is made to create an atmosphere where people’s sense of creativity is stimulated and supported,” says owner Dona Flam of her Washington Square store. “We are not a stuffy shop.” The comfortable vibe starts at the door where you’re likely to be greeted by Flam’s rescue dog, Mabel. Inside the shop, you’ll find a wide array of yarns. The lines that they go the deepest with (in some cases carrying almost every color available) are Urth, Malabrigo, and Misti Alpaca. They also carry independent dyers like Black Trillium Fibers, Three Irish Girls, and Zen Garden. If you’re interested in taking a class, private and semiprivate lessons are offered Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Flam stated, “I love talking yarn and projects with my customers and always look forward to seeing what they have created.”
Founders of Tuft the World Tiernan Alexander and Tim Eads, Texas-born artists and business owners, began their tufting company in Philly in 2018, offering classes around the country. In February, they opened a studio on the fifth floor of the Bok building where they offer a variety of classes. The studio also ships tufting supplies, including yarn, tufting carpet shaving clippers, shearing guides, cloth, tufting machines, and more in about 125 countries. Find supplies on their online store — folks can pick-up orders in Philly if needed, but shipping is the best way to go.
In Fishtown, explore Melanie Hasan’s emporium of locally-sourced hand-dye items. The shop owner opened her studio in 2021 to help folks live a whimsical, carefree, and conscious lifestyle with the art of dye. Find fiber tools like birchwood knitting tool kits and weaving looms, a bundle dye kit, natural dyes and inks, ceramic painting palette, and a variety of dyed yarns and threads. You can also shop tote bags, t-shirts, bandanas, socks and other hand-dyed apparel.