Saturday, October 26, 2013

Interactive Crocheted Turkey Menorah for Thanksgivukkah!

Is it a bird? Sort of. Is it a peacock? Almost.
But wait, of course! It's an Thanksgivukkah menorah!
Are you looking at me quizzically? Or are you nodding knowingly? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

If you've chatted with Jewish people lately, are one yourself, or you watch Colbert, you may be aware that Thanksgiving this year falls on the first day (second night) of Hanukkah, causing a clever person to dub it 'Thanksgivukkah.'

Alternatively, one of my favorite machine embroiderers, Sue Warshell of Stitches by Sue, is calling it Thanukah, which is definitely less of a mouthful for a holiday that's all about eating. (What about Hanugiving? Or Thank-u-kkah?)

Whatever you call it, the calendrical coincidence only happens once every 77,000 years (if ever), so it is a sort of a big deal. Happily, it has generated waves of creativity, not just linguistically, but also with fusion foods (pumpkin challah! pumpkin kugel!), crafts, decor, (many at Buzzfeed), and even fine art.

There are also amalgamations of the respective holidays' major symbols, turkeys and menorahs. For example, there is the menurkey, designed by a 9-year-old and funded on Kickstarter; a turkorah, by a wood artist; and a nameless candelabra made by arranging a flock of identical ceramic turkii (back at that Buzzfeed page), which could perhaps be dubbed a Turk-o-flock-o-Hanukkah-thanks.

I've been pondering this unique holiday in the midst of my personal crocheting jag. So, the other night, I was moved to make the following thing, complete with removable Pilgrim/Hasid hat and "lightable" tail candles.

Before lighting:

I suggest permanently lighting the middle candle, the shammes. Then, to light the nightly candles, while sitting at the festive table, simply pull out your handy Hanukah crochet hook (also good for spearing latkes) and hook a picot in yellow yarn. Here's the shammes and the first night only lit up (far lower right):
 The third night:
 The fourth:
 The sixth:
The final night:
Note the blue star on the removable Pilgrim hat/yarmulke (Pilgrims: Lost tribe?) It also has a tiny ball of yellow yarn as a fashion accessory.
For my second Thanksgivvukah menorah, I stitched a pocket on the back of the tail, to hold the beginning and ending yarn balls, as you chain stitch through the holiday (and for storage).
When the holiday's over, simply pull out all stitches, roll the yarn back into a ball, and put it in the the pocket, and bury it in a platinum time capsule until the year 79,811.

How did I make it? I can't give you an exact pattern, but I can give you a somewhat detailed strategy. Download the free 4-page sheet here.

To work with my strategy, you must understand working in rounds in crochet, and know how to increase and decrease. If you are experienced at crochet, especially amigurumi, this pattern will be a breeze. (My favorite amigurumi learning and pattern site is

Since I did this project this rather quickly, it has NOT been tested. That's why the strategy sheet is free! If you give it a shot, I would welcome comment and suggestions, and maybe a picture or two wouldn't hurt, to cathy (dot) perlmutter (at) gmail (dot) com.

So Happy Thanksgivukkah, or whatever you call it! And don't forget to cook a turdonut! (I just made that up. It's sufganyot/jelly donut stuffing for the turkey! The jelly inside the donuts inside the turkey makes it a triple cardiac threat, just like a turducken!)

I'll try to stop now. 

UPDATE: I can't stop. Pumpkin Latkes = Plotzkes.
UPDATE: Many more mashups are here
UPDATE: Not all Thanksgivvukah things are kitschy! Extraordinary artist/illustrator Flora Rosefsky has made four gorgeous art prints to celebrate the festive table (the last four prints on this page.) Use the contact form to purchase inexpensive 8" x 10" or 11" x 14" prints. 

UPDATE: 11-16-13 A sequel to the Turkey Menorah saga is here


  1. Replies
    1. I'll help you make one! Come on over!
      It may work to count off the Advent, too.

  2. Oh, don't stop! Please! You are awesome! You should be on Colbert....
    Happy Turdikah!

    1. Turdikah, Jeri? Let me think: I got Turkey. And i got the "kah." But what's the "di?" Dinner? Divine? Dreidel? It must be staring me in the face, but what is it? A Turdreidel?

  3. You could just stuff the turkey with chocolate gelt...

  4. You have outdone yourself! You have tempted me to crochet-just kidding.

    1. Ahhh, if only I could get you to crochet! I wonder if one can crochet with silk dupioni?

  5. Thanksgivukkah is what America is all about--food and music are some of the first things to be shared and adopted by newcomers and old-timers in our country. One question: are turduckens Kosher?

    1. That's an interesting question, Linda. Ducks are considered kosher, so I think the combo is okay, unless you drink duck/chicken/turkey milk to accompany it! Thanks for stopping by!


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