Meet the owners
“Finally, after all my years of working, I am following my passion,” said Tammy Barker as she became the new owner of Jessica Knits. Tammy fell in love with the store the very first time that she visited it!
Tammy and her husband, John, are so thrilled to acquire and carry on the dreams, vision and commitment of Jessica Knits, the same ones shared by Jessica had when she started the business almost 7 years ago.
The Barkers have lived here in the Valley of the Sun for 30 years. During that time they have been in real estate and general contracting, more specifically, new home construction and sales, where Tammy handled all of the sales and marketing. In 2010, after finishing their last community, Tammy found herself with a lot of time on her hands. She was drawn to thinking about her mother and all of the wonderful hand-crocheted and knitted afghans that she had done for everyone in the family. Tammy recalls, “Mom always had at least one project going. After she passed, it was very comforting to have those wonderful pieces of her love left behind to cherish and remember her by.”
Tammy decided that like her mother, she wanted to leave a little piece of her love behind for her children and grandchildren, so she started crocheting and knitting again. It didn’t take long for her to find her first local yarn shop and discover all of the beautiful, amazing fibers that were there for her to create with! SHE WAS HOOKED!
During this time Tammy and John were looking for their next business opportunity. When Tammy found the listing for Jessica Knits, this fabulous yarn store that she had previously visited in North Scottsdale, she set the wheels in motion and there was no stopping her!
So here they are! “We are so thrilled about all of the new and wonderful things that we have planned for the store and for all our entire fellow fiber art enthusiasts,” exclaims Tammy.
There are many new and exciting things ahead for Jessica Knits and Crochets so stay tuned and visit often!
Meet the staff
CATHRINE A. MCCLURE
Cathrine has been knitting and crocheting for over 30 years but her experience also includes quilting, needlepoint, cross-stitch, embroidery, jewelry making, and sewing. Teaching others to knit and crochet for the past several years has allowed Cathrine to share her love and passion for yarn and creating handmade items. “Since I learned to crochet at 14, I’ve easily crocheted or knitted over 200 blankets as gifts, and more recently, for Project Linus,” says Cathrine.
Knitting socks is a favorite knitting project as it allows for using colorful yarn and is a wonderful take-along activity. Working through the TKGA Masters Knitting Program is one way that Cathrine is improving her knitting skills but she especially loves hanging out with other knitters. “It’s a great way to learn about new products and techniques. And you always hear crazy stories!” Originally from southern California, Cathrine has lived in Phoenix for 24 years. She is married and has two terrific teenage boys.
TODD DANIEL GROSSMAN
Todd has been an avid knitter and crocheter for over a decade (a mere moment by most fiber artist’s standards, but he’s made up for it in enthusiasm and persistence). A composer and piano/art/gymnastics teacher by night, he also delves into painting and photography in what used to be called “spare time.” He’s never met a sock yarn he didn’t like.
Viki loves knitting, felting and making cables. Making felted bags is her favorite. She was making so many of these her friend Kathy suggested a knittervention. She survived and moved on to cable pillows. She learned to knit 6 years ago when she and her husband moved to Arizona. A former Special Ed. teacher, she enjoys golf, needlepoint, golf, knitting, golf, Mah Jongg and more golf. When not knitting she is golfing.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Kathy was taught to knit at a very young age by her beloved grandmother. Over the years, she has continued to hone her craft and usually (but not always) completes each wonderful project she starts.
Today, when she’s not busy with her day job, or making repairs to her old house, or enjoying the beautiful Arizona weather running or hiking, or having fun with her friends, you will find her knitting great pieces for her friends, her family, or herself.
PEGGY DYSON COOMANS
Peggy learned to knit when she was 7 after discovering a basketful of luxurious European yarns sitting at her mother’s feet and was hooked the minute she felt the yarn run through her hands. She has since acquired a noteworthy stash and a significant library of items dating back to the early 80’s, all of which still entertain her on a daily basis.
An expert knitter and finisher, Peggy is also known for her ability to decipher patterns and work in progress issues. She has been teaching in groups and individual settings for over 20 years and loves helping people discover this craft to its fullest extent. “I love teaching because I meet the most amazing people in my classes and they inspire me in so many ways”, says Peggy. She can be found most days with her box of colored pencils, design paper, and various swatches, along with her large assortment of needles and yarns, testing out a new pattern or design.
When she’s not knitting, Peggy provides financial consulting and business management services to small businesses. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her teenage daughter and their two Papillion dogs, traveling to see her son at the University of Texas or whipping up a batch up oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!