Baltimore has so many topnotch yarn stores these days, picking a favorite is a challenge. But if pressed, we have to admit that our heart belongs to Hampden's Lovelyarns. It may not be as big as some of the other stores, but Lovelyarns owner Sue Caldwell has impeccable taste, from chunky self-stripers, to so-thin-our-hands-hurt-just-thinking-about-it sock yarn, to beautiful hand-dyed skeins and sumptuous alpacas. And everything is so soft that you can't wait to get it on your needles. Even if the yarns weren't to die for, Caldwell herself makes Lovelyarns worth a visit. She is so sweet and helpful--helping us find our drop stitches regardless of whether we buy anything, convincing us not to make a wrap out of that superbulky shedding alpaca even if it means losing a sale. She encourages everyone to hang out and knit, and uses crafts as a force for good, whether holding a fundraiser for one of her regular knitter's autistic son or working with the Mother Bear Project, a nonprofit that gives knitted and crocheted teddy bears to children in Africa affected by HIV/AIDS. Our only quibble: Why so stingy on the Y's?