The PussyHat Project is a really beautiful concept that was achieved awesomely. It was conceived by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman as a visual representation for the Women’s March on Washington held January 21, 2017. Simple, right? But, the meaning behind every single aspect of this concept is what makes it special.
Knitting is a slow craft that has been famously identified as a woman’s hobby, which requires time, patience, and care. Pink is a color often associated with femininity. Combining the two creates a visual statement that is unmistakably female. Then, adding a simple, easy design (by Kat Coyle) that creates a quick hat that looks like it has cat ears when worn, and naming it a PussyHat (a play on pussy cat) is badass and reclaims the loaded P word that’s received recent publicity. It was a way to make your voice heard without having to raise it. It was something to make for yourself or others who were attending in your absence. It was a sign that someone cared enough to devote their time to this cause.
Knitters were encouraged to make the hats to wear to the Women’s March on Washington, and sister marches held across the country, across the world. The website provided a mailing address for D.C. hat donations, and included a printable note template to accompany the hat(s). It asked the hat maker to provide name, city/state, a women’s issue important to the maker, and contact information in case the hat wearer wanted to get in touch.
I was a little late in the game to join the PussyHat Project. I took a look at the website about two weeks before the scheduled march and I got to working. I ransacked my stash and found some hot pink worsted cotton by Blue Sky Fibers my mom had given me years ago as part of a different project. The unfortunate non-start of that project became the foundation for my PussyHat. I knit it in between painting my kitchen, going to work, and managing daily life with three kids. I finished with about a week to spare, and I already had a request from a friend for a hat of her own. As I was casting on the second hat, I got a message from another friend who asked for a hat, too. The catch was that she needed it quickly since she was going to the march in D.C. Hat 2 was built overnight and both were delivered in time to be part of history.
I, myself, did not attend any marches, though opportunity was abundant. Instead, I watched coverage streaming from my phone, crying the whole time. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and I was absolutely proud to have contributed my part to that sea of pink. In the rush up to January 21, stores were having a hard time keeping any color pink yarn in stock. There had been over 8,000 hats made using Kat Coyle’s PussyHat Project pattern, according to Ravelry. Alternate hat patterns had been created for knit, crochet, and sewing so everyone would be able to make something if they wanted. Marchers were making hats on their way to the event, with more yarn in tow in case someone needed a last-minute hat. Strangers were hugging when they spotted each other in their familiar pink hats. It became a symbol of solidarity.
After the march I still see a need for more PussyHats. I have to make one for myself, and fulfill the requests of two other friends. So far, I’ve been able to use stash yarn, which elates me. I have enough pink yarn in various weights to make a few more hats before I need to buy new yarn. It’ll be easy to find gauge and calculate the stitches I’ll need for each yarn weight. So far, I haven’t knit the same yarn twice, which makes me happy.
Small things make a big difference.