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The Darkroom

Hampden yarn shop stitches together a tight-knit community

The Baltimore Sun

On a recent Sunday, Lovelyarns store in Hampden bustled nonstop from opening until closing with people browsing, taking classes and just stopping by to spin yarn, knit and chat about all things fiber.

Students were learning from instructors; instructors were learning from each other.

Melissa Salzman, 40, who has owned the store for about a year, is passionate about knitting and her business.

“I wanted to make the store feel like a magical place…to create and make something new and really push the boundaries… but do so in a friendly and welcoming environment so you wouldn’t feel scared,” she says.

Specializing in locally hand-dyed yarn and fiber, Salzman sells unique yarns made of paper with cotton; silk-wrapped steel; llama, alpaca, yak, silk, wool and bamboo. Lovelyarns also sells goods for weaving, crocheting, and spinning and holds a variety of classes in each discipline.

Knitting can both calm the mind or challenge it depending on the complication of the pattern, says Salzman. It may even help lower blood pressure according to recent studies.

One of the features that distinguishes her store from others is the ‘yarn-tasting’ wall where yarns are available in quantities as small as 1 gram so customers can experiment with “new and interesting fibers without spending a lot of money,” she says.

The business holds a “Sip ’n” Stitch!” every other Thursday evening where people bring in their projects to knit, crochet, weave or spin among new-found friends. Salman says her store is more than just a place to spend money.

“You make friends here. It’s a community. “

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