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I’ve had the opportunity to meet makers who inspire my craft and who have made me feel welcomed where I once felt othered. One of those special humans is Ismelda Molina-Rodriguez, an advocate for bilingual crochet representation and a bright light in this community. 

I met Ismelda years ago at one of my many craft nights through Bobble Club House. Week after week she would trek to one of my midtown pop-ups to share a crochet moment when we would chat about our lives, yarn, and dreams.

Recently, Ismelda announced that one of her dreams is moving to the next step. Years have passed since our initial conversations so this month I sat down with my friend, to ask her about life, yarn, and her dream of a Yarn Bodega in the Bronx.

Ismelda’s father’s bodega in the Bronx.

Can you share more about your crochet journey and how it became a significant part of your life?

My mother and godmother both tried to teach me to knit and crochet when I was 10 or 11. I took to knitting better, but only managed to make swatches and quickly lost interest.

About nine years ago, I was in a rut. I found an informal crochet class at a Queens creative event space but still couldn’t get the hang of the hand motions. I bought some books, watched YouTube tutorials, and it finally clicked.

Crochet has opened up so many creative doors for me. It’s been a gateway to other crafts, too, such as yarn dyeing, tie-dyeing, and, now, spinning yarn.

What inspired you to start The Yarn Bodega project?

The concept for The Yarn Bodega has been brewing in my head for a few years, but the closure of the only Michaels in the Bronx lit a fire in me. I chose the name to pay tribute to my father, who owned a bodega in the South Bronx for over 30 years. 

I envision The Yarn Bodega being a LYS with bodega vibes and aesthetics. My father’s bodega was a safe space for many, an escape for others. He looked out for his customers, and in turn, they looked out for him. That’s what I want for The Yarn Bodega—a safe space to build community through making where creativity flows and flourishes. 

In your own words, why do you believe it is essential for makers to be able to see themselves represented in the yarn and fiber crafts community and to have access to the craft we all love?

I’ll use the cliche “seeing is believing.” If makers don’t see themselves represented, they might feel discouraged to partake or stifle their creativity. At the 2023 Vogue Knitting Live, Amanda Solomon said at a BBMIP [Black Brown Indigenous Melanated People] talk, “If you don’t see, be it. Don’t wait to get a seat at the table. Make your own.” 

Crocheting and spinning have helped me turn negativity into something positive, productive, and functional. But most importantly, making with fiber helped me find my joy, creativity, and passion. The cherry on top are all the connections and friendships I’ve built.

What are your dreams for the shop and what impact do you see it making on your community?

My dreams for The Yarn Bodega is to offer a safe space and a promote a creative hub that highlights fellow Latinx & BBMIP makers, particularly those within the vicinity of the Bronx. My dream is also to host trunk shows and events that give local community access to all sorts of makers, crafts, and inspirations.

About The Author

Samantha Brunson is the owner of, a knitting and crafting blog that chronicles the crafting community with stories from a diverse group of makers.

A self-proclaimed elderly millennial, Samantha is always looking for new ways to share her love of knitwear and crafting with the world.


  • Love this inspiring piece. More pictures please

    • You can follow @TheYarnBodega on Instagram to stay up to date. I share my fiberarts journey on my personal account @adlemsi_fiberarts on Instagram.

  • How exciting! Where is the yarn bodega located? ❤️

    • The end goal is to open a storefront in the Bronx. I’m currently scouting neighborhoods for a location that’s easily accessible via mass transit & offers nearby parking.

    • I grew up in the Bronx and it still remains a place that engenders great fondness for me. I remember buying yarn and craft supplies at a store on Fordham Road, which started me on my journey as a knitter and crocheter.

      • I grew up in Washington Heights & had a similar experience. It was sad when Woolworth’s closed down in my teenage years. Even the fabric stores near me in the Bronx have closed down. They’ve been taken over by discount stores & check-cashing places. I hope to bring back the crafting & making journey in the Bronx with The Yarn Bodega!

      • Goldman’s Yarns on Kingsbridge Road! My favorite!

        • I believe they moved to Westchester County & closed down in the early 2000s.

  • This is awesome! Best of luck!

    • Thanks, Cindy!

  • I love the thought of don’t wait that one needs to make their own seat at the table

  • This is so inspiring! I live near Washington DC and have access to several LYS, but the ones nearest me typically don’t have as diverse a clientele as you might expect based on the population. I wish I had the business acumen to start something like this.

    • One of my goals is for The Yarn Bodega to represent the diversity of the Bronx.

  • I can’t wait to visit! All the best for a successful business.

    • Follow @TheYarnBodega on Instagram to stay up to date.

  • What a brilliant, imaginative and fitting idea! Even through photos and cyberspace Ismelda’s face emanates warm, friendly vibes. All the best to you Ismelda, you beautiful human!

    • Thank you so much for your lovely words of encouragement, Mary Ann!

  • I love this entrepreneurial spirit!

  • This sounds so cool – I would definitely come to a Yarn Bodega! And we have now a large Hispanic population in NC. But I am used to the intermingling of English and Spanish as a transplanted Westerner, so this also sounds very homey.
    It’s also great that your doing this for yourself & your community; no craft stores, how is that possible?!

  • Sorry, but what is a LYS?

    • LYS is the acronym for local yarn shop/store.

    • Local Yarn Shop

    • It’s a Local Yarn Store. We were just talking about the problems with anagrams. When I switched jobs in 2020 there were a ton of them that were the same as the ones from my old job but meant totally different things. I had to make a list!

  • Ismelda, you are an inspiration! I love the fact that you are honoring your father in naming your business. Best of luck in this bright endeavor.

    • Thanks, Susan! My father made so many sacrifices to give me opportunities he didn’t have.

  • I’m imagining the luckiest Bodega Cat ever in residence

    • There will definitely be a bodega cat amigurumi at The Yarn Bodega!

    • Ha, yes!

  • This article made me so happy! Thank you so much for it. Ismelda, I admire your vision and applaud your efforts to make this dream happen. If I ever get to NYC, I will make my way to the Bronx and to The Yarn Bodega, for I know it will be there. In fact, I think I’m inspired to travel there just to visit it!! 🙂

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Carol! In the interim of opening the storefront, I’m planning on hosting meetups. Follow @TheYarnBodega on Instagram to stay updated.

  • Oh this sounds amazing!

    • Thanks, Sharon!

  • That sounds so exciting! I wish we had such a thing here!

  • I will be there for ribbon cutting!

    • Ooh, you just gave me an idea…what about a yarn cutting for the grand opening?!

  • So happy to see that your dream is coming true Ismelda!
    I can’t wait to come to The Bronx and visit The Yarn Bodega!

    • OMG, thanks Rachel!! That would be amazing! I can’t wait to cross the pond to visit you & check out your dyeing studio!

  • Wonderful article and so inspiriting! Best of luck to you Ismelda, I love everything about your new place.
    I hope Samantha will keep us up to date!

    • Thanks, Milou! I’m open to a follow up interview to talk about milestones achieved in the near future.

    • Inspiring! That is the word!

  • What a wonderful and inspiring story! I grew up and lived in the Bronx for many years and lamented the lack of LYS in the area. Happy to support Imelda’s dream and can’t wait to visit the Yarn Bodega when it becomes a reality ❤️

    • Thanks for your support, Feliciad!

  • Love this! Anyone know what bag she’s wearing??

    • Thanks, Amy! The bag I’m wearing in the photo of me spinning yarn is the Della Q Maker’s Mini Messenger. I got mine at Argyle Yarn Shop in Brooklyn, but it’s also available at Jimmy Beans Wool (just not in the light grey color). It’s really convenient because I can have a small project in the back zippered section & all my essentials in the front zippered section. Great for making on the go!

    • Pretty sure it is made by dellaQ and they make a lot of different style project bags. Many yarn stores carry dellaQ but you can shop online at Jimmy Beans Wool (they now own dellaQ). I don’t believe I have ever seen them in MDK shop but worth checking it.

      • Thank you Deborah!

  • What an amazing story. I grew up in the Soundview area of the Bronx and the only yarn you could find in the area was in Woolworth. Later I discovered the store Coleman (if I remember correctly) in the kingsbridge area near fordham rd. It was a piece of heaven for fiber enthusiast. All sorts of yarns from the lower end to amazing wools. Even needlepoint, embroidery. Their main store was in White Plains, New York. Thank you for this wonderful idea and opportunity. I hope this will encourage the next generation to be creative and use this as an outlet. Best of luck to you Muchacha.

    • Gracias, Amalia! That was my experience growing up, too. Woolworth’s & Save-a-Ton were my go-to for crafting, yarn, & fabric supplies. Introducing children to new crafts is high on my goals. They’re always mesmerized when they see me crocheting or spinning in public!

  • All the best to Ismelda, and a howdy to all who remember Yarn Therapy, the meetup originating in the Bronx, perhaps 10 years ago. I’m no longer in the area, but the idea of a yarn bodega fits perfectly! I hope to visit one of these days…

    • Thanks, Anne! Hope to see you once we open the storefront!

  • Thanks Sam & MDK for this feature! I appreciate the opportunity on your platform & look forward to sharing updates as we reach milestones to making The Yarn Bodega a reality.

  • LOL – elderly millennial. I love the way you think already! What a lovely article – I want to go visit this bodega as a result. Thank you, Samantha!

  • Beautiful Colors

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