K is for Knitting

(or other handcraft)

My great grandma, grandmothers and various aunts all had their favorite hand or needle craft. My grandmother and her sisters were garment workers, sewing the latest fashion on loud machines. Great Grandma took in “homework” from the factories or sweatshops, hand-sewing buttons, and finishing collars and cuffs. Some of the matriarch knitted, but most crochet. Linen closets and cedar chests stocked with tablecloth, blankets, scarves and hats. There was a special pattern for family tablecloths made from fine lace thread on very thin crochet needles. One grandma whipped up granny squares from left over yarn and attached them to make bedspreads and throw blankets. 

I learned to crochet, although not very well. I could put together a scarf. During intense cancer treatments, I crocheted several crooked scarves and a large, uneven blanket. When I was a kid, Great Grandma watched as my sisters and I hooked a chain and attempted to double crochet the next row. She’d inspect our grip on the crochet needle. If one stitch was missed or not uniformed, she’d grab and pull the whole thing out, and show how to hold the needle correctly and crochet perfectly. She did this while complaining and tsking her tongue at our sloppy work. I was never sure what she said because she did not speak English and I knew only a few “nice” Sicilian words. Great Grandma was a hard taskmaster. Either you accepted her terms of training or you snuck away to do anything else.

My theme for the 2022 AtoZ Blog Challenge is titled Grand Prompts To Ask Your Grands. Each day in April I will present a conversation starter/journal prompt to ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, older neighbors, co-workers, yourself…you get the idea. The questions are meant to forge connections between and within generations and inspire storytelling and journaling. 

Pray for Peace

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If you had purchased a paperback or ebook The Heart of Bakers and Artists, The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers and/or Becoming America’s Food StoriesThank you!

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The Heart of Bakers and Artists

The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers

Becoming America’s Food Stories

Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni, antics play out while slurping soup, and laughter echoes throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There’s always room.
The Heart of Bakers and Artists is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who wants to prove she is not a little kid. To be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhoods, she must tackle bigotry, bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and learn to cross the street by herself
The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers picks up where The Heart of Bakers and Artists left off.Lily has big dreams to sing out with her powerful voice, but must do EVERYTHING, since Mama fell into a deep depression, the baby is sick, and the “Black Hand” terrorizes the neighborhood, threatening her chance to sing at the New York Highlanders Fourth of July baseball game.
Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

7 thoughts

  1. I have always been terrible with knitting, crochet, or embroidery. Anything that requires stitching scares me. I went to a convent where we were taught needling but I was never the favorite student. I always messed it up. This is a simple but cute post. Loved reading this. The cancer treatment bit was a bit saddening but am glad that you are hopefully fine now. All the best on your A-Z journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This prompt grabbed me as I enjoy knitting, learning it from my mother in law when I first came to CT. She taught me how to crochet and how to make those granny squares and her favorite ripple pattern afghan. I’m sure I can write much on this topic… even my son as a young boy wanted to learn to crochet… LOL… tha didn’t last long with him. I wonder if he remembers that.


  3. My grandmother was a seamstress. One of the things she did was quilting. I wish now, that I had of taken the time to learn from her. I think she knit too but it is the sewing that I remember clearly. Thanks Antoinette, for another great A to Z post.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a tough learning environment for something creative. As you probably know from my blog – I’m all in with just about any craft! I recently took a crochet class and am enjoying trying out some smaller projects. I like that it’s something you can easily do while watching television or hanging out with the family. I also don’t think being good at a craft is that important – there is so much joy and many health benefits to be had from just the process of crafting itself. Weekends In Maine

    Liked by 1 person

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