PORT ORCHARD—The doors permanently closed on A Good Yarn Shop last week. But that doesn’t mean former owner Debbie Macomber is putting down her knitting needles any time soon.
In fact, she’ll probably be spending more time with them now that she doesn’t have a store to run.
Macomber is a well-known Port Orchard resident. But to most, she’s known as the author of the Cedar Cove novels.
Macomber is a New York Times bestselling author with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Her Cedar Cove books are based on Port Orchard and reflect many places in the city.
Loosely based on a book she wrote in 2005 as part of her Blossom Street series, Macomber opened A Good Yarn Shop eight years ago to promote community, friendships and because of her love of knitting. In that time, the store has become a knitter’s best friend — a local retail and educational resource as well as a gathering place for local and visiting knitters and readers.
“I had always said that if I couldn’t be a writer, I’d own a yarn store,” Macomber said.
“With ‘A Good Yarn Shop,’ I got to do both. I have been so blessed to be able to share my passions for writing and knitting with our community and fellow knitters and readers.”
In fact, A Good Yarn Shop was just the beginning of Macomber’s knitting initiative. Knit One Bless Two, for example, is a charitable program that encourages her readers and thousands of knitters to use their skills to make blankets, hats, sweaters and scarves that have filled hospitals, homeless shelters and elementary schools around the world.
Macomber also joined World Vision’s Knit for Kids as a national spokesperson in 2013 and distributed hand-knit sweaters to children in Kenya in 2014.
Macomber came about knitting in an unusual way.
“I first learned to knit from kind ladies at a yarn shop in Yakima when I was in junior high school,” she said.
“I had a hard time in school, which I later discovered was due to undiagnosed dyslexia. Once I understood the basics of knitting and was able to complete a few projects, my confidence in knitting transferred over to other parts of my young life.”
The confidence that came from knitting also gave her the self-assurance to pursue her dream of becoming a writer, she said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find time to knit with my writing schedule and other obligations, but I always find time to knit when I’m cheering on the Seattle Seahawks,” she added.
Pretty much, Macomber can knit anything.
“My joy is knitting for my grandchildren and other family members, blankets for the Knit One, Bless Two and World Vision initiatives,” she said.
“I love knitting shawls as presents for either far-flung friends or as a blessing to others.”
Many of her closest knitting friends came to her shop on Nov.4, to say goodbye as she closed the doors for good. While she’ll miss the comradery, she knows that she and her friends will continue knitting.
“Knitters just knit,” she said. “I will be knitting anywhere you find me. From a staff meeting, to at home in front of the TV and even at a Seahawks game. Knitters are inherent in gathering and knitting, and you are likely to find us everywhere.”
But writing will never be far away.
“There is almost always a book that is in progress, one that requires edits or one that I’m plotting for a future novel,” Macomb said.
As for where knitters can now buy supplies, she has a suggestion.
“I would encourage customers to shop at local independent yarn stores throughout our surrounding communities,” she said.
With more time Macomber hopes to increase her charitable knitting.
“My charitable initiatives, Knit One, Bless Two, and Knit for Kids with World Vision, will surely keep me busy,” she said.
These and other programs are part of a greater initiative being developed by Debbie Macomber, Inc. to grow and inspire the knitting community and her readers worldwide. She also was a major contributor to the Bremerton Salvation Army remodeling project.
“I am grateful to A Good Yarn Shop’s staff and customers for their patronage and support over the years and look forward to sharing this new initiative in the near future,” she said.
Knitting or writing, she’ll always make time for family. She is a devoted mother and grandmother, wife to Wayne and “mom” to Bogie, their beloved dog.
To keep up with her, go to www.debbiemacomber.com.