ALEXIS: Welcome to STITCHES.
DEBBIE: “I loved the premier issue of Knitter’s. I’m so glad to be here at the celebration of K100. Twenty-six years of the magazine, twenty years of STITCHES.”
ALEXIS: You’re a famous author. What is it about knitting that has inspired your writing?
DEBBIE: “Combining passion for knitting and writing is what helped escalate my career.
“I started off much sooner as a knitter: I was eleven years old when I learned how to knit. It was a godsend. I’m dyslexic; I didn’t learn to read until I was ten. I struggled all through school.
“My grandmother was the one who had the love of the craft in our family, but I don’t remember her. She died when I was about four or five. My older cousins tell me that she would sit in her rocking chair snoring and crocheting at the same time.
“In the summer between ten and eleven, I begged my mother: ‘I want to learn how to knit!’ She finally gave in, and took me down to the yarn store.
It isn’t every day we get to sit down for a one-on-one with a best-selling author (100 million copies worldwide). Three of her novels have even been adapted for television movies. But the person we encounter at STITCHES East is most of all a passionate knitter.
“That summer changed my life, because I had something that made me stand out in school. I was struggling so hard to find an identity, other than being, ‘a slow learner’. Third grade was horrible for me—I stayed in recess the entire year: I couldn’t read, I couldn’t spell, I couldn’t write. But, all of a sudden, I could do something that no one else could do.
“In the eighth grade the teacher had a fashion show with all the things that I had knit. It was a moment of glory that wasn’t directed to my poor grades. Knitting gave me the ability to deal with frustration, and it still does. I knit every single day, at least an hour. And that helps me process the day. I pray when I knit, I think when I knit, I plot when I knit… I found my husband the other day with the dog on his chest. ‘Don’t bother me,’ he said, ‘I’m plotting!’
“Knitting is a major part of my life. Actually, I will tell the story later, but STITCHES inspired The Shop on Blossom Street. It was a year I had a birthday with a zero in it, so I gave myself a gift and came to STITCHES, King of Prussia. The first time I had been to Pennsylvania in my life. I walked into the hotel, and all these women were knitting. I thought, ‘This is heaven! This is home! This is beautiful!’