Our business started with our hopes for our daughters…
We share both a love of needlework (especially knitting and crocheting) and a desire to help our mentally-challenged daughters to live productive, fulfilling, and independent lives. Having met and gotten to know each other while attending our daughters’ Special Olympics basketball practices, we realized (as we talked and knitted away) that we had much in common.
Cindy, an avid and adventurous knitter, taught Karen (who couldn’t read a pattern) how to knit socks; Karen convinced Cindy that, even though we had families, pets and real jobs, we could pool our resources, knowledge, and dreams to open a specialty yarn shop.
Cindy is currently in charge of materials selection for the county library system, and brings with her a wealth of retail experience to this venture (in another life, she was manager of Laurel Bridal & Gown) and, if she can teach Karen how to knit a sock, she can teach anybody! Cindy adopted Miglena, when she was six years old, from Bulgaria. It is unclear that injury to her brain was alrady present and what occurred because of severe neglect and abuse in the orphanage. Although Miglena has not fit into any educational setting that she has tried, Cindy has worked hard to help her to lead as normal a life as she is capable. She has even been able to teach Miglena to knit…when you visit the shop, ask her to show you her latest project!
Karen’s last paid position was as financial coordinator for a local orthodontist (which she left in March ’05 to be able to devote more time to the shop). She has a great deal of managerial experience (in her other life, she was an administative assistant for a clothing manufacturer, and provided home-based day care when her children were young), and a strong customer service background. And now, thanks to Cindy, she can read a knitting pattern! Karen’s daughter, Amanda, is mentally challenged because she has intractable epilepsy. After many years of prolonged seizures, she was the first child in Maryland to receive a Vagus Nerve Stimulator (it’s like a pacemaker for the brain) which has enabled her to realize a significant degree of seizure control and, consequently, a better quality of life.
While not always immediately apparent, both Amanda and Miglena have learning disabilities that interfere with their ability to be successful in the work world. However, their mothers think that through careful teaching, scripting and repetition that someday they may be able to take over the day-to-day operation of the shop, when Karen and Cindy are ready to retire.
Our vision is that our shop would be a supportive work environment for our daughters, and provide Columbia knit and crochet enthusiasts with a yarn shop that is both convenient in location and hours, and has whatever you need to make creating and finishing your projects easy and successful.
And so, we formed a partnership…and opened
All About Yarn!