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So it’s a long story, but every year I go to a huge knitting convention hosted by Vogue Knitting, my favorite magazine. This one, held in New York City this weekend, was the same as any other in a lot of ways: incredible fiber art, swarms of crafters, and even a knitted fashion show. But this year, in addition to the usual yarny celebrations, plenty of convention-goers and vendors were rocking Pussyhats, a symbol of solidarity for the upcoming Women’s March on Washington.
For the past two months, crafters have been making pink, pointy-tipped hats for themselves and to donate to fellow protesters, including those attending the march and those unable to go.
The project’s organizers are drawing on the “power of the handmade,” according to the mission statement; they note how knitting circles have often been derided as silly or frivolous but are actually “powerful gatherings of women, a safe space to talk, a place where women support women. Anything handmade shows a level of care, and we care about women’s rights, so it is appropriate to symbolize this march with a handmade item, one made with a skill that has been passed down from woman to woman for generations.”
There are really easy knitting, crochet, and embroidery patterns available to download on the site, as well as tons of variations on Ravelry (which, if you are at all interested in crafting, you should know about — it’s basically Facebook for knitters, combined with an enormous crowdsourced pattern database).
And if you’re looking for support while you make your hat, or a place to drop off your extras, or even a spot to pick one up if you’re not a crafter yourself, there are yarn stores across the country opening their doors to the movement. It’s not too late to make or get one before the upcoming weekend, no matter where you are or how new you are to making things. But you might want to hurry — according to an employee at New York City’s Knitty City, “they go as fast as they come in.”
There have been critical questions raised about the project’s efficacy — after all, a million cozy hats won’t solve any of the very real issues bearing down on us, and some say they may even distract. But if we can spend an hour or two working with our hands, focused on bringing something into the world that wasn’t there before — something good, something soft, something bold — that feels worthwhile to me. Especially if it makes us feel, however briefly, less alone. (Not to mention less cold.)
That spirit of collaboration and community is inherent in knitting culture — which is why, after all, Vogue Knitting Live exists. This year’s convention was a living testament to the Pussyhat project’s popularity. In the few hours I was there, I spotted at least a dozen Pussyhats in the wild, each one unique but all unified by their bright pink color and cute little earflaps.
I started making mine as soon as I got home.