Authors: Debbie Macomber
“Debbie Macomber tells women’s stories in a way no one else does.”
“Macomber is an adept storyteller…many will be entertained by this well-paced story about four women finding happiness and fulfillment through their growing friendship.”
The Shop on Blossom Street
“Macomber is a master storyteller; any one of these characters could have been a stereotype in less talented hands. Instead, these women and their stories are completely absorbing.”
RT Book Reviews
The Shop on Blossom Street
“Both knitters and non-knitters will find much joy here.”
The Shop on Blossom Street
“[T]he author’s trademark warm treatment of the lives of women will satisfy her readers…. [T]his should be another Macomber bestseller.”
A Good Yarn
“Poignant story of real women with real problems becoming real friends.”
A Good Yarn
“Macomber’s latest is simply delightful.”
RT Book Reviews
Back on Blossom Street
“These involving stories along with Macomber’s familiar characters continue the Blossom Street themes of friendship and personal growth that readers find so moving.”
Back on Blossom Street
“Debbie Macomber is a skilled storyteller.”
When I wrote
The Shop on Blossom Street,
I didn’t intend it to be a series. However, reader response was so positive that I decided to write
A Good Yarn.
I’ve discovered through messages left on my Web site and from your letters that you love Blossom Street as much as I do. So here’s our third visit,
Back on Blossom Street.
Knitting is still a large part of my life—and even more so since the publication of these books. My yarn room (yes, room) is full. But what I’ve enjoyed most are the wonderful knitting friends I’ve made along the way. This book is dedicated to one, Joan McKeon (and her equally wonderful husband, Bob). Joan knits sweaters for the charity Knit for Kids and was Guideposts’ 2006 Knitter of the Year.
I’ve included patterns in the previous Blossom Street books (for whatever Lydia’s class is knitting in the story) and
Back on Blossom Street
is no exception. I’m thrilled to share two patterns for prayer shawls with you, compliments of Leisure Arts and Myrna Stahman. I’m grateful to both for their generosity. I remain involved with Warm Up America! and am honored to be a board member. The craft publisher Leisure Arts has created some additional Blossom Street pattern books. As before, my share of the proceeds will be contributed to charity. Also, in association with Leisure Arts, part of my Web site, www.DebbieMacomber.com, is now devoted to my knitting friends and will offer a brand-new pattern every month. You’ll be able to download the pattern free of cost. Is that great or what?
Visit my Web site and check out Blossom Street for yourself. There’s always something happening in the neighborhood! Lydia’s just turned over the OPEN sign at A Good Yarn, so come in, meet old friends and make new ones, catch up on everything that’s going on. Enjoy your visit!
P.S. You can also reach me by mail at P.O. Box 1458, Port Orchard, WA 98366.
Bob and Joan McKeon
Finished Size: 65" wide x 33" deep (165 cm x 84 cm)
Bulky Weight Yarn Icon 5
[6 ounces, 185 yards (170 grams, 169 meters) per skein]: 3 skeins 29" (73.5 cm) circular needle, size 13 (9 mm) or size needed for gauge
In Garter Stitch, 10 sts and 16 rows = 4" (10 cm)
Gauge Swatch: 4" (10 cm) square.
Cast on 10 sts.
Knit 16 rows.
Bind off all sts in knit.
Cast on one st.
Row 1: Knit into the front and the back of st (increase made): 2 sts.
Row 2: Increase, K1: 3 sts.
Rows 3-6: Increase, knit across: 7 sts.
Row 7: K3, YO, knit across: 8 sts.
Repeat Row 7 until piece measures approximately 32" (81.5 cm) from cast-on edge, ending with an even number of stitches.
Next Row: K3, YO,*K2 tog, YO; repeat from * across to last 3 sts, K3.
Next 4 Rows: Increase, knit across.
Bind Off Row: K2 tog, *K1, pass second st on right needle over first st; repeat from * across to last 2 sts, K2 tog, pass second st on right needle over first st and finish off.
Design by John Feddersen for Leisure Arts
ALIX’S LACE PRAYER SHAWL
Copyright © 2006, Myrna A. I. Stahman, dba Rocking Chair Press
Introduction to Lace Knitting
Many knitters are under the impression that knitting lace is difficult. It’s not—knitting lace is simply using knitting needles and yarn to connect a series of holes in a pleasing fashion. The holes are so easy to make. Just put the yarn over your right needle—voilà, you have made a hole. Often the hole made with the yarnover is paired with a decrease. The most common decrease is that of simply knitting two stitches together. When knitting two stitches together, the stitch you first place your needle into lies on top of the second stitch. For most knitters, when two stitches are knit together the stitches end up leaning to the right.
Alix’s prayer shawl includes right-leaning decreases, the mirror image left-leaning decreases and reducing three stitches to one stitch. For a left-leaning decrease (1) insert your right needle into the next stitch on the left needle as if you are going to knit that stitch, but instead just slip that stitch onto the right needle, (2) knit the next stitch and then (3) lift up the slipped stitch and pass it over the newly made stitch. The 3-to-1 decrease combines these steps: (1) insert your right needle into the next stitch on the left needle as if to knit that stitch, but instead just slip that stitch onto your right needle, (2) knit the next two stitches together and then (3) lift up the slipped stitch and pass it over the newly made stitch.
A great way to practice knitting the lace stitch pattern is by knitting a triangular dishcloth. Use worsted weight 100% cotton yarn and size 8 knitting needles so you can see exactly what happens with each stitch as your lace pattern develops. Knitting a dishcloth is a great way to practice casting on, the lace stitch pattern, the bottom border and the bind-off. Even if you make a few mistakes in your practice, the cloth will be fine for washing dishes.
Shawl Instructions—The Preliminaries
Before beginning your shawl, take these instructions, including the chart, to a copy machine and enlarge them so they are easy to read. Be sure to make the chart nice and big.
Any yarn you enjoy working with may be used. I knit both a stockinette stitch shawl and a garter stitch shawl using Blue Moon Fiber Arts
lightweight “Socks that Rock” yarn, and a garter stitch shawl using Haneke fingering weight merino/alpaca yarn. Either a hand-painted/variegated yarn in a colorway with low contrast and color changes every four to six inches or a solid color yarn works well when knitting lace.
Many lace knitters prefer knitting from a chart, rather than knitting from the written word. The chart is a picture of your knitting as one looks at the public side of the shawl. The chart is read from right to left, and from the bottom to the top, just as your knitting progresses. The chart shows only the odd-numbered rows on which the pattern stitches are worked; the even-numbered rows are worked plain. By knitting from the chart you will soon learn to “read your knitting.” After a bit of practice you will be able to see if something has gone wrong with your stitch pattern.
Alix’s prayer shawl is constructed using a four-stitch beginning border, two triangles joined by a column consisting of just one stitch, and a four-stitch ending border. Each triangle begins at the point and increases in size as the shawl increases in size. Because the two lace triangles are identical, the same chart is used for each triangle.
The chart shows one half of the shawl; it does not show the center stitch that is between and connects the two halves, nor does it show the four border stitches at the beginning of each row and at the end of each row. Work the beginning four border stitches; work the chart one time; knit the one center stitch; work the chart for a second time; work the ending four border stitches.
The first four stitches and the last four stitches of every row form the top border of the shawl. Although it works to just knit the first stitch, I recommend the chain selvedge: (1) With the yarn in front of your working needle (2) slip the first stitch as if to purl, (3) move the yarn to the back of your work by passing it between the tips of your needles and (4) work the next three stitches; always knit the last two stitches of every row. In the written instructions the four border stitches are referred to as B4 at the beginning and the end of every row.
I recommend using stitch markers in three places on your needle: (1) immediately after the first four border stitches; (2) immediately before the center column of stitches; and (3) immediately before the last four border stitches. Attach about a 12-inch thread to each marker; the thread keeps the marker from flying across the room if the marker accidentally jumps off the needle. The symbol ^ is used in the written instructions to show where a stitch marker is placed.
—Leaving a tail of yarn approximately 10 inches long, cast on 11 stitches.
: K2, p1, k1, ^, p3, ^, k1, p1, k2. [11 sts]
Using the Chart
—Go to the chart. The chart is a picture of your knitting as you look at the public side of your work. The chart is read from right to left and from the bottom to the top. Only the odd-numbered rows, which are the public side rows, of the lace stitches of your shawl are shown on the chart. Although only three stitches are shown on row 1a of the chart, row 1a of your knitting is worked on 11 stitches, and ends with 15 stitches. The stitches not shown on the chart are: (1) the first four stitches of every row, which are the border stitches of one side of your shawl; (2) the center back stitch of your shawl; and (3) the last four stitches of every row, which are the border stitches of the other side of your shawl.
Beginning with row 1a, and for every odd-numbered row thereafter, work B4 at the beginning of the row by slipping the first stitch as if to purl, k1, p1, k1; work the chart one time; knit one stitch; work the chart a second time; work B4 at the end of the row as k1, p1, k2. For every even-numbered row work B4, purl across to the last four stitches, work B4.
To assist you in understanding the chart, the following detailed written instructions are given for rows 1a through 16a and 1b-4b. Every odd-numbered row is a pattern row. In every pattern row there is an increase of four stitches.
Each increase is made by working a yarnover. One increase is made directly inside each four-stitch border and one increase is made on each side of the center back stitch. The center back stitch is written in
Row 1a: B4, place a marker on your needle, [yo, k1, yo], place a marker on your needle,
[yo, k1, yo], place a marker on your needle, B4. [15 sts]
Row 2a and all even-numbered rows: B4, purl across to the last four stitches, B4.
Row 3a: B4, ^, [yo, k3, yo], ^,
[yo, k3, yo], ^, B4. [19 sts]
Row 5a: B4, ^, [yo, k5, yo], ^,
[yo, k5, yo], ^, B4. [23 sts]
Row 7a: B4, ^, [yo, k7, yo], ^,
[yo, k7, yo], ^, B4. [27 sts]
Row 9a: B4, ^, [yo, k9, yo], ^,
[yo, k9, yo], ^, B4. [31 sts]
Row 11a: B4, ^, [yo, k11, yo], ^,
[yo, k11, yo], ^, B4. [35 sts]
Row 13a: B4, ^, [yo, k13, yo], ^,
[yo, k13, yo], ^, B4. [39 sts]
Row 15a: B4, ^, [yo, k15, yo], ^,
[yo, k15, yo], ^, B4. [43 sts]
Row 1b: B4, ^, yo, k1, (yo, sl 1-k1-psso) three times, k3, (k2tog, yo) three times, k1, yo, ^,
yo, k1, (yo, sl 1-k1-psso) three times, k3, (k2tog, yo) three times, k1, yo, ^, B4. [47 sts]
Row 3b: B4, ^, yo, k1, (yo, sl 1-k1-psso) four times, k1, (k2tog, yo) four times, k1, yo, ^,
yo, k1, (yo, sl 1-k1-psso) four times, k1, (k2tog, yo) four times, k1, yo, ^, B4. [51 sts]
Continue by following the chart.
Making the Shawl the Size Desired
—Repeat rows 1d–18d as many times as necessary to make the shawl the size desired. For every 18 rows worked, the shawl increases in width by 36 stitches.
, worked after completing row 18d for the final time:
Row 1, the eyelet row: Work the four border stitches, (yo, k2tog) until you reach the pattern repeat just before the center back stitch, (yo, k2tog) eight times, (yo, k1) three times, (yo, k2tog) until just four stitches remain on your left needle, yo, work the four border stitches.
Row 2: Work as you have worked all even-numbered rows.
Rows 3, 5, & 7: Work in seed stitch to the center back stitch, work a closed increase by making a half-hitch on your needle with your working yarn, k1, work a closed increase, work in seed stitch to the end.
Rows 4 & 6: Work in seed stitch.
Row 8: Bind off, using a larger needle for your right needle.
Wash and dress your shawl. A shawl is a knitted hug. Enjoy giving your completed lace prayer shawl to someone who is in need of a comforting hug. Knit a second shawl for yourself or for another friend.
Alix’s Garter Stitch Lace Prayer Shawl
Follow the instructions for the Stockinette Stitch Lace Prayer Shawl, with the following modifications. When working in garter stitch, work the setup row by knitting all stitches. B4 at the beginning of every row is slip the first stitch as if to knit, k3. B4 at the end of every row is k4. All even-numbered rows are worked as Sl1, knit across.