by Kate Jacobs
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult (November 3, 2009)
Kate Jacobs is back with the third installment to The Friday Night Knitting Club series, Knit the Season. Picking up a year after the end of Knit Two, readers join Dakota Walker on her trip to spend the Christmas holidays with her Gran in Scotland-accompanied by her father, her grandparents, and her mother's best friend, Catherine. Together, they share a trove of happy memories about Christmases past with Dakota's mom, Georgia. From Thanksgiving through Hanukkah and Christmas to New Year's, Knit the Season is a novel about the richness of family bonds and the joys of friendship.
Please enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One:
New York seemed to be a city made for celebrations, and Dakota Walker loved every moment of the holidays: from the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds breathlessly waiting for the lighting of the gigantic Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, to the winter-themed department store windows displaying postmodern Santas, to—her favorite—the kickoff to a month of fun with that ruckus of a parade on Thanksgiving morning.
Dakota’s grandmotherly friend Anita Lowenstein—who, nearing eighty, could text almost as well as some of her college classmates— had escorted Dakota to the parade when she was small. Last Thanksgiving morning, in a fi t of nostalgia, the two of them bundled up in layers, chunky handmade cable-knits over cotton turtlenecks, and staked out a spot near Macy’s just after sunrise to watch the river of fl oating cartoon characters and lip-synching pop stars and freezingbut-giddy high-school marching bands fl owing down Broadway. Just as it should be.
But what Dakota most enjoyed about the beginning of winter was the crispness of the air (that practically demanded the wearing of knits) and the way that tough New Yorkers—on the street, in elevators, in subways—were suddenly willing to risk a smile. To make a connection with a stranger. To finally see one another after strenuously avoiding eye contact all year.
The excuse—the expectation—to bake also played a large part in her personal delight. Crumbly, melty shortbread cookies and iced chocolate-orange scones and whipped French vanilla cream cakes and sugary butter tarts: November through December was about whipping and folding and blending and sampling. Though she’d spent only one semester at pastry school so far, Dakota was eager to try out the new techniques she’d learned.
Still, she hadn’t stopped to consider how it might feel to roll out crust, to pare fruit, to make a meal, back in what was her childhood home, as she adjusted her bulging backpack, groceries in each hand, and climbed the steep stairs two fl oors up to Peri’s effi cient little apartment situated one fl oor above the yarn shop her mother had started long ago, the tiny shop—the shelves packed to bursting with yarns fuzzy, nubbly, itchy, and angel-soft, its walls a kaleidoscope of cocooning pastels and luxurious jewel shades—that Georgia Walker had willed to her only child and that Dakota had, finally, come to truly appreciate.
The white-painted cupboard door creaked loudly as she opened it, surprising not because of the unpleasant volume but because Dakota realized, in that moment, she had forgotten the quirks of this particular kitchen. At the same time, overfl owing bundles of yarn spilled—burgundies and cobalts, wools and acrylics, lightweights and doubleknits—from the shelves, tumbled to the grocery bags she’d just set on the counter, and then bounced to the linoleum tile floor below. Almost as an afterthought, a tidy pile of plush plum cashmere dropped noiselessly through the air, just missing her head, and landed directly into the small stainless sink.
“This isn’t a kitchen!” cried Dakota, reaching out her arms as widely as was possible in her heavyweight white winter coat, trying to hug yarn and food and prevent all of it from rolling off the edge. “It’s a storage facility!”
She hesitated. What she’d wanted was simply to fi nd a bowl, something in which to pile up the apples she’d purchased, and she’d approached Peri’s compact galley kitchen in the apartment above the Walker and Daughter yarn shop as if on automatic pilot. Distractedly running through a to-do list in her mind, Dakota lapsed into an old pattern and went directly to where her mother stored the dishes once upon a memory, back when the two Walkers lived in this same walk-up. And what did she find? Knitting needles of all sizes and woods stacked in the fl atware drawer and oodles of yarn where the dishes ought to be, raining down from the cupboards. She wasn’t sure she ought to risk a peek in the oven now that Peri lived here.
It had been a long time since she’d cooked in this location, making oatmeal, orange and blueberry muffi ns for her mother’s friends, the founding members of the Friday Night Knitting Club.
“Seven years,” marveled Dakota, her voice quiet though no one else was around. Seven years since she’d puttered around this kitchen after homework, smashing soft butter and sugar together as she contemplated what tidbits would go inside the week’s cookies.
From the book, Knit the Season © Copyright 2009 by Kate Jacobs. Reprinted with permission from Putnam Adult.
GIVEAWAY! Putnam has sent lots of Knit the Season bookmarks and I'd love to offer them to you! All you have to do to get one - or a few - is send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Bookmark Giveaway, Lapdog Creations, PO Box 1063, Windham NH 03087.
About The Author: Kate Jacobs is the author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, Knit Two, and Comfort Food. A former magazine writer and editor, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband.