Have you ever clicked the needles in the Knitty header?

You might want to today.

I’ve lived in Canada since I was 6 [aka a long, long time]. Canadian Thanksgiving is in October when it’s usually barely cool outside, with leaves on the trees and jackets optional. I’ve never gotten used to it.

My first 6 years imprinted Thanksgiving time into my brain as what it is now in November in the northeast: a real bite in the air and leaves on the ground. Winter is definitely coming. So I’m feeling very Thanksgivingy today, even though it’s business as usual over here in Toronto. Everything’s open, airports only crowded on the way out of town.

Thanksgiving also means family, and to me, one particular family member. My Grandma, Lillian. When I went to college, I moved 2 hours away from the family to Toronto, home of cheap airfare [at the time, anyway]. I started my own ritual: fly to LaGuardia on Thanksgiving morning, right before the Macy’s parade started. Cab it down to the Port Authority [cabs were cheap then] and take the bus to exit 8A on the NJ Turnpike. Where Grandma lived.

We’d spend the next 4 days just being together. Of course she cooked for me. That’s something that she’d had hardwired into her…she cooked for all of her kids, grandkids and associated partners, no matter how she was feeling or how many of us showed up. She made great turkey, which we continued to enjoy for the rest of the visit in different forms — turkey salad sandwiches, turkey chow mein. She made cholent and rugelach. I never left without a care package to keep me alive until I made it home.

Grandma’s been gone since 1999, and every year, this day makes me miss her more than any other.

(188 Posts)

23 thoughts on “Have you ever clicked the needles in the Knitty header?

  1. Vonnie

    Oh honey, my Nana was a similar kind of Grandma to yours I think and I am facing losing her any day now. I’m so sorry you’ve had so many years of missing her.

    I bet she’d be over-the-moon proud of you, now.

  2. Karen

    I clicked! Thanks. My Grandma sewed and embroidered…and cooked. I have her cookie recipes but somehow, they don’t taste the same when I make them.

  3. Diane

    My grandparents used to live in Spring Lake Heights (and Grandma worked in Asbury Park); we used to drive from western New York state everything Thanksgiving. Your post reminded me of them and those trips (the sandwiches for the ride back were the best!).

  4. LizAndrsn

    I’m so very sad and sorry that you don’t have your Gramma in your life today, but I’m certain her spirit lives on through you. Feel her love and relish the good memories you built together. I hope you have something of her to pass on to another generation.

    With much love to you….

  5. drMolly

    No, I never had, but did today. My grams have been gone a long-long time – now it’s my mum who does this when we can get home & I’m somebody’s gram when we can’t. Happy Holiday no matter where you are!

  6. Dolly

    My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was a young girl. She has been gone for many years but I think of her every time I pick up the needles and yarn. I still use a knitting bag that was hers and is now my cherished treasure.

  7. Wool Free and Lovin' Knit

    I’ve been living in the U.S. the past 6 years and I’m hardwired in the opposite direction of you, Amy. I start feeling the hankering for Turkey and Apple pie when the leaves first start to turn and the apples are ready to harvest — we make the long drive Northwest to spend Canadian Thanksgiving with our families and the rest of Ontario in October. Before Halloween and long before anyone is thinking about decorating for Christmas!!
    I do have a turkey breast to go in the oven for our dinner tonight but it doesn’t really FEEL like thanksgiving for us this weekend at all. I’m pretty sure it never will. Like you’ve expressed, Thanksgiving is a family tradition and whereever your family is, that’s your true home.
    But we do like Black Friday and that’s become a new favorite totally commercial holiday to look forward to so we can get our Christmas shopping done!

  8. jill

    I’m sorry for your loss. It doesn’t matter how long ago it started. I never had a Gram like that, but I’m realizing that I probably will be one. I’m only in my mid-40s but I cook for everyone, and knit for them too, and teach whatever I know that they care to learn. It’s an interesting idea, to think about how you might be remembered, someday, if you live long enough. Thanks for a new post today; nobody’s writing down here.

  9. Kelly

    I grew up in London On (2ish hrs down the 401 from you) and now live in the Pocono Mts in PA and Thanksgiving here is unnatural for me – everything’s brown and cold and rainy and nothing at all is “end of season harvest”-y. We don’t live near any family and hubby doesn’t like turkey so I haven’t had it in years – I miss it. You’re not the only one, then, who feels so out of sorts when others are celebrating their thanks.

    My Grammy knit and sewed – I remember her sewing patterned cotton shirts for us in the summer time. She baked the best bread, and there was always some fresh when we got there. She grew delicious tomatoes and raspberries and taught me about gladiolus bulbs and how to make cherry jam. She’s one of the top 3 I miss the most. I’m damned grateful to have known her.

  10. Joanna

    I’d never clicked those needles before – what a beautiful tribute. I, too, am missing my Nan today. I was 16 when she passed away 20 years ago but even now I can still vividly recall how her turkey and giblet gravy perfumed the whole house. I was thinking a lot about her today and kinda felt like she was there with me in the kitchen this afternoon. I hoped she’d be proud of how much I was able to make my kitchen smell as good as hers used to.

  11. Mary Anne

    So sweet–thanks for suggesting I click! As I do every Thanksgiving, I thought of my lovely Muzzy as I chopped the onions and celery for the stuffing; it was always her job. Sorry, Muzzy, I forgot the parsnips! I definitely will get some for this weekend, when they can shine all on their own!

  12. Carolyn (Coco)

    That was so lovely to click and be part of a wonderful memory.

    I never knew any of my grandmas so it was nice to share someone else’s.

    Thank you for your special Thanksgiving gift.

  13. LoriAngela

    I miss my Grandma’s cookies. I make them for Christmas. I’m Canadian, but I’m making a turkey because there’s always a good excuse for turkey soup and being thankful.

  14. Rebecca

    We don’t have a form of Thanksgiving in Australia – Christmas is our big family occasion. My mum is in hospital and has been for the last month, and may or may not be home for her favourite time of year – when all my siblings journey from all around the nation to our small country town for the big family “do”. Mum has always spurned the feminine crafts, probably a legacy of a wartime boarding school education (knitting for the troops ‘n all), but completely surprised me by finally cracking and grabbed the knitting out of my hands when I was teaching myself how to rib – I couldn’t work out how to bring the yarn forward or back. She helped me out with that predicament and never mentioned knitting again! Hopefully she will be home for out usual sweltering baked Christmas dinner, eaten while wearing shorts and t-shirts – no cozy sweaters here!

  15. Jennifer

    Oh, tears! My Mom is now 80 & has Alzheimer’s. The combo of my visit, today, & your dedication are doing me in.
    We live on in our children’s memories & the love they hold in their hearts.

  16. Louise

    It’s so wonderful how little swatches of memories pop-up and bring back a loved one. The nose warmers are adorable and only a loving Grammy would think of such a thing. At my age a lot of loved ones have left my life, but always they are with me in memory. Thanks for sharing!

  17. annie earl

    Awwww… That is a sweet dedication! I always thought that the needles just led back to the main page!
    My Gramma knitted & crocheted too… Too bad it took me 25 years to want to learn. I think about her every time I pick up a project to knit.

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