Catonsville Patch: How long have you been in business in Catonsville?
Jolene Mosley: The business started as The Weaver’s Place in Dickeyville in 1971. At some point the business moved to Catonsville to this location. It was the third owner who changed the name to Cloverhill Yarn. I bought the business in April of 2008.
Patch: Why did you buy the business?
Mosley: I had three children (five, three and four months old) when I bought the shop. It was a better balance for me between work life and home life, and I love the fiber arts. I knit, I spin, I crochet.
Patch: Do you still do those things as much as you used to before you bought the business.
Mosley: I still do them just as much. It’s what I do.
Patch: What is your role in the business?
Mosley: I teach a lot of the classes. I work shop hours on the weekends, but I work more on the business rather than in the business.
Patch: What do you mean by that?
Mosley: I need to stay on top of what’s new: new yarns, new techniques, new patterns. I have to do research, maintain the website, and organize classes and events. We did an event for the Baltimore County Public Library where I donated my time and the materials to teach teenagers to knit. We always have something going on.
Patch: What do you do in addition to selling yarn and supplies?
Mosley: We have classes, fashion shows. We have Sit & Knit every Sunday from two to four. We have spinning night on the second and last Fridays of every month. Everyone chips in for the pizzas we order from Peace A Pizza, but other than that those are both free. I give private lessons. I’ve gone to people’s houses to give lessons, to scout meetings, book clubs.
Patch: How has the Internet affected your business?
Mosley: I think the Internet has brought in a younger demographic of knitters. Knitters and fiber artists are a real community, and knitting blogs and online knitting sites have created another kind of knitting community.
Patch: Tell our readers about the Sheep and Wool festival.
Mosley: The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is the first full weekend in May. Cloverhill Yarn has been at it since its inception, thirty something years. It is the biggest event at the Howard County Fairgrounds. People come from all over the country. It’s loads of fun, and it’s free.
Patch: What are some of your signature services or specialties?
Mosley: We have our own Cloverhill Yarn label. We dye yarn and roving. Roving is the processed fleece that you can spin into yarn or use in felting projects. My two daughters help with the dying. Samantha even taught a dying class here with me last summer. I also design and write patterns. That’s under Jolene Mosley Designs.
Patch: What’s one of the hardest things about your work?
Mosley: Organizing classes. It is hard to achieve the balance of topics, schedule, teachers, materials, and customers. Making that whole thing jive, that’s hard for me.
Patch: What are you proud of?
Mosley: In business? [Long pause.] Proud is a hard word. I’m not sure.
Patch: What’s your favorite thing about your work?
Mosley: This is a good balance. It works for my family. I enjoy my time here. It’s not too much but it’s not too easy either. I’m tired when I get home because helping people is hard work.
Patch: What are you looking forward to?
Mosley: Cold weather! It’s nice to be able to wear the garments we produce and now is a busier time for us. I look forward to seeing what people bring in, what they’ve been working on.
Patch: If there is one thing you think is needed in the business community, what would it be?
Mosley: The other shop owners around us and I have tried to combine classes sometimes. We did a knit tote class with Seminole Sampler and one of the instructors at Avalon Yoga did a yoga and knitting workshop. I try to support the local fiber artists, carrying their work and hosting trunk shows. If more businesses collaborated like that, we could do a lot. It would make for a stronger business community.
Patch: You are a young woman who owns her own business. What advice would you have for someone who is considering doing what you’ve done?
Mosley: When one of my students gets stuck and won’t take that step forward, I always say, “It’s just yarn and time.” You have to think what you’ve got to lose.
If you’re really into what you’re doing and you’re passionate about it, even if it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. But I’m a pretty laid back person.