While My Pretty One Knits Online - Anne Canadeo

Chapter One

Maggie, you’ve got to be kidding…do you want to kill me?” Lucy Binger tried to stare down her best friend, but it was no use.

Maggie Messina had already settled in to her furniture moving stance—knees bent, jaw set, a determined grip on the far end of an antique love seat.

“Come on, Lucy. You can do this.” When that coaxing tone failed, she said, “It’s the absolute last time, I promise.”

Lucy shot her a dark look, then finally took hold of her end and hoisted the couch up. Taking the high road, she thought, by not harping on the fact that they’d moved this particular piece of furniture around the shop three times, each trip reportedly the last.

“I owe you one,” Maggie said.

“You owe me a few,” Lucy replied with a grunt.

“Absolutely…watch the molding, please?”

Maggie swung her end through the doorway while Lucy hung on to the other side for dear life.

Lucy was trying hard not to destroy the decor, but angling the couch around the coral-colored walls, tall armoires, and baskets brimming with yarn was no mean feat.

Maggie’s knitting shop, the Black Sheep, covered the first floor of a meticulously restored Victorian, the kind real-estate brokers might call “a jewel box.” Lucy knew that was just a clever way of saying the rooms were small and tight, designed for diminutive, nineteenth-century folk, but these days more suited to retail space.

Finally, they reached the corner Maggie had staked out as the sofa’s latest landing strip. Or close enough, Lucy decided. She dropped her end, then collapsed on the cushions, her long legs dangling over one side.

“Okay, furniture is set. How about the fireworks?” Lucy turned her head and caught Maggie’s eye. “Don’t you need a permit for that?”

“All right. I did get a little carried away. But Cara’s practically famous. It’s a big deal for me, having her here. I’m expecting a full house. Did I tell you?”

Lucy smiled and nodded. Maggie had told her. A few times.

“So Cara was a student of yours, right?” Lucy folded one arm under her head. “When was that again?”

“Almost ten years ago.” Maggie sat on an armchair near the love seat and rubbed the back of her neck. “She went to college in New York after high school, the Fashion Institute of Technology.”

“Did she stay in touch?”

“Oh, a little. When her first book came out, I sent her a note and she wrote back. She’d returned to Boston by then and was writing for Knitting Now! Cara comes back to town fairly often to see her family. She stopped in to say hello one day and mentioned she was working on a new book about felting. So I asked if she’d give a talk here and she agreed. Pretty good for me,” Maggie added. “Her publisher is sending her out to five or six cities. Bookshops and the big arts and crafts chain stores.”

“That is a coup. You must have been one of her favorite teachers.”

“Maybe.” Maggie’s tone was modest, but Lucy knew she’d been very popular with students. Maggie not only looked half her age, but had the kind of energy and outlook that would always make her seem young.

Maggie had left teaching four years ago, after her husband, Bill, had died. She’d always talked about opening a knitting shop some far-off day, perhaps when she retired. But at that low point in her life, she needed a new plan to pull her through and didn’t see any reason to put off her heart’s desire.

“Cara was one of those kids who hung out in the art room. You know the type. I encouraged her, I guess. I had a feeling she’d do something with herself in the real world.”

Lucy wasn’t sure if the wondrous world of knitting had that much overlap with the real world. But she knew what Maggie meant and Cara Newhouse was clearly a bona fide success in both realms.

Felting Fever, the book Cara would sign tomorrow, was her second in less than two years. Her first, Ready, Set, Knit!, had turned out to be one of the bestselling titles for novice knitters ever. All before Cara had even hit thirty.

Slouching toward thirty-three, with no national book tours penciled into her datebook, Lucy knew she was a little jealous.

“I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say, but Cara might have her own TV show soon.” Maggie picked up a fringed couch pillow that had slipped overboard and slapped it back into shape. “Some producer type is coming tomorrow to tape