A determined widow faces the challenge of a new life to regain the confidence and independence of her youth, but finds that life, unlike knitting, doesn’t always follow a pattern.
After twenty-five years of being the perfect wife and mother, Martha LeBeau finds herself unexpectedly widowed and shocked to discover her husband had been living a double life, leaving her penniless and in debt. Determined to regain her lost confidence and independence, she sells her suburban Chicago home and moves to the Wisconsin countryside to forge a new life away from cheating men and smothering children. There she meets the Wool Gatherers, a group of fiber artists who teach her the art of spinning wool and raising sheep. Along with one determined Border Collie, she begins on the path to self-growth and healing.
Riley O’Connor is the single father of a child with Asperger Syndrome. The child’s mother walked out on them because she found that life too difficult to handle. Since then, he has dedicated himself to protecting his son from any further emotional damage.
Meeting Riley and his son through her new job brings love and challenges to Martha’s newly found independence. Romance blooms like a finely knit cable, entwining their lives.
Can either of them learn to trust again?
We wandered through the
craft section first.
It seemed Carol knew
everyone, and everyone knew her. Before we’d covered half of the booths, I’d
been introduced to at least a dozen people, vendors and customers, and even saw
a few faces familiar to me.
Joan was there, manning a
booth with her spinning wheel at her side. I was amazed at the progress she’d
made with her physical therapy. She swore it was due to her determination not
to give up on spinning and knitting.
“What’s that you’re
spinning?” I asked.
A mound of mocha-colored
fiber lay in her basket, and I reached down to touch it. It slid through my
fingers like a buttery, soft web.
“It’s a blend of alpaca
and silk,” she said. “I saw a knitting pattern for an open-weave summer sweater
that I think will work up really well with this yarn.”
Suddenly, I had the urge to get home and practice my spinning. I’d improved
quite a bit in the past few weeks and didn’t get nearly as frustrated. Saturday
night wouldn’t be lonely with a good movie to watch, a glass of wine to sip,
and my spinning wheel. And, of course, Maeve would make sure I didn’t get
We wandered through
several more booths, the air rich with the scent of herbal soaps and
lotions—invigorating basil, relaxing lavender, and the overwhelming patchouli.
I knew Suze and Lexie would appreciate the handmade soaps and lotions, so I
purchased a few.
The mohair scarf and
matching beret I decided on for Brooke were the same blue as the clear sky of
an Indian summer day. Even she couldn’t help but love it. It would bring out the
blue color of her eyes.
Our next stop was at a
spinning booth, and I immediately gravitated to a ball of red-orange mohair
roving. It looked like a cloud at sunset, and I had to have it. I’d save it
until my spinning improved enough to do it justice, but already I envisioned
wearing the knit cardigan.
There were felt hats and
purses, which Carol assured me I could easily produce, next to skeins of every
color handspun yarn you could imagine. The idea that I could possibly create my
own unique gifts by this time next year ran tantalizingly through my mind.
“All you need is time and
the willingness to learn. We’ll have a wool dying and felting day in the
spring. It’s a blast,” Carol said.
“I’m hungry.” The aroma
of a rich chicken booyah, a local soup made famous by the early Belgian
settlers, wafted through the room, mixed with the savory smell of frying
hamburgers and brats. All the fragrances of food that bring comfort to the soul
and fat to the hips.
Carol looked down at her
watch. “It’ll have to wait. Hurry, we’d better get to the shearing pen before
all the good spots are gone. He’s gonna start shearing in ten minutes.”
I’d never seen Carol move
so fast in the months I’d known her. The he
she talked about had to be the notorious Riley, causer of palpitating
hearts among women old enough to know better.
I laughed as she pulled
me behind her like a recalcitrant child. I was a little embarrassed on her
behalf. How could she act that silly over a good-looking man? I’d been immune
Carol managed to get us
close to the pen, even though she had to push her way through throngs of women
and children to do it. The shearer had his back to us, so all I could see was a
head of thick black hair streaked with gray and a slim figure. As I watched,
strong, muscular arms caught a sheep and expertly flipped her onto her back
before the creature even knew what happened. With a fluid motion, he picked up
his electric shears and began shearing off her wool as she went into a trance.
It was like watching the
horse whisperer. When he turned her back upright, the ewe stayed still until he
finished and didn’t even seem to want to move when she was free. He gave her a
little slap on the rump, and she finally ran off. A woman swooped in then and
removed the shorn fleece. I watched, fascinated, as he repeated the same
procedure with a second sheep.
Cara Olson is forced to put aside her struggling art career in Chicago to care for her ailing grandmother in Wisconsin. While journeying with her beloved Gram through the diagnosis of possible Alzheimer’s disease, she loses and then rediscovers her passion for art and experiences the resurrection of a past love.
Struggling artist Cara Olson is called home to Wisconsin to care for her ailing grandmother who is showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Leaving behind her mentor//boyfriend, Stefan, she begins to look at her unsuccessful career and relationship in a new light.
Surprised to find her Gram’s doctor is her high-school crush, Peter Andreson, she fights her reignited feelings. When Chicago critics dismiss her artwork as a poor imitation of Stefan’s, she is devastated and vows to give up art.
While caring for Gram and running her small Scandinavian gift shop, the Wool Gatherers, a local group of fiber artists, help her find new outlets for her creativity, designing works of art with hand-made felt and her re-emerging love of landscape and portrait painting.
Along the way, her feelings for Peter grow, and she realizes she has once again fallen for a man only dedicated to his career. When the opportunity arises for her to return to Chicago with the promise of a new career, she seizes it. But even her success can’t fill the void she experiences without Gram, her new friends, and Peter.
Can she return to Shoreview, the place that inspires her art, and be satisfied with a life that doesn’t include him?
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