You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

breaking news

US to expand pool of people targeted for deportation

Pussyhat Project hooks Austin crafters

Local knitting and sewing groups join movement to make a pink hat for every participant in Women’s March on Washington.


Highlights

The project aims to create more than a million hats for participants in the Women’s March on Washington.

Area businesses are offering knit-ins for anyone who can benefit from their, ahem, purls of wisdom.

A few weeks ago, the employees at Hill Country Weavers noticed a strange trend.

Their pink yarn, not usually one of the most popular colors, was flying off the shelves.

“We started running out,” said Hill Country Weavers employee Lisa Walsh. “We had women coming in, pattern in hand, asking for needles and pink yarn. Suddenly we were looking at our shelves and seeing no pink.”

The women all held the same pattern for a pink hat with two pointy cat ears on top. But they weren’t knitting Christmas presents for Hello Kitty-loving grandchildren. They were making a political statement — craftivism, if you will — as part of the Pussyhat Project, a national movement that launched Thanksgiving weekend with a mission to provide a handmade hat to every person participating in the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“Your stereotypical knitter is not someone marching in the street,” said Walsh, 51. “We’re trying to put something positive out there. If I’m going to sit here and knit, instead of making a Christmas stocking, I’m going to make a pussyhat. Whenever I hear someone say there’s nothing I can do, I say, ‘Yes, there is something you can do. Knit a hat.’”

The project aims to create more than a million hats — they may be knitted, crocheted or sewn using any variety of patterns as long as the material is pink and cat ears are involved — although current march attendance estimates are closer to 150,000.

Organizers, who chose to include that polarizing word in the project’s name “because we want to reclaim the term as a means of empowerment,” say that creating a sea of pink at the march will promote unity and warmth for marchers and give those who cannot attend a way to show their support. The movement has gained nearly 10,000 likes on Facebook in recent weeks and attracted a celebrity following — Amy Schumer and Patti Smith have both been snapped sporting the hats.

In Austin, interest has been high enough that several area businesses are offering free events for anyone who would like to learn to make a hat and can benefit from their, ahem, purls of wisdom.

“There’s something for just about every skill level,” said Leslie Bonnell, owner of Stitch Lab, which will host three community hat-making “stitch-ins” and also serve as a drop-off spot for people who have completed hats. “What we’re doing is creating a space and offering some guided help. It’s kind of a community effort to get together and work on these. The main thing is to have that togetherness. Even if you’re just making one hat, that makes a difference to somebody at this event.”

Stitch Lab will host its stitch-ins at its South First Street store, which is scheduled to close in late February to make way for a new development. In late 2016 Bonnell said it was unlikely that Stitch Lab would be able to relocate but this week noted that she is in negotiations with an interested buyer that could allow the well-known shop to move to a different location, “fingers crossed.”

“As a business owner, I want everyone to be welcome, regardless of their political leanings,” Bonnell said. “For me and for Stitch Lab, it’s about equality. I want it to be very clear that that’s the spirit that we’re doing this in. I don’t want to alienate other women who voted for Donald Trump. Women are asking for equality — they’re not asking for better than, they’re asking for equality. I can’t imagine anyone who can’t get behind that.”

But not everyone is behind the mission. Shortly after announcing the stitch-ins on Instagram and Facebook, Bonnell, who plans to knit a dozen hats for the cause, received messages calling the idea “disgusting” and advising that she “get a grip.”

Walsh said Hill Country Weavers, which opened at its new location on Manchaca Road on Jan. 2, was not initially planning to host any knit-alongs but decided to get involved because of customer interest. Walsh said although she plans to knit 25 hats and hand-deliver them and the others she collects to the Women’s March — where she’ll participate alongside her 69-year-old mom — the store does not intend for any events to be politically charged. Owner Suzanne Middlebrooks echoed that sentiment.

“I don’t want it to be political,” Middlebrooks said. “I want it to be about human rights. That’s our position.”

Walsh said all — from children to mother-and-daughter pairs to men — are welcome. Oh, and if you go, could you bring some of that that hard-to-come-by yarn?

“We’d love donations of yarn,” Walsh said. “Pink yarn.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Lifestyle

Easy Street Recumbents to host bike rally this weekend
Easy Street Recumbents to host bike rally this weekend

Easy Street Recumbents to host bike rally this weekend   Rather sit back when you ride a bike? An Austin bike shop that sells recumbent bicycles – two or three-wheeled bikes on which the rider leans back in a supportive seat with his or her legs extended in front to pedal – will host a celebration this weekend.
Pet lizard waves at owner, startling moment caught on camera
Pet lizard waves at owner, startling moment caught on camera

A bearded dragon in a terrarium performs an unusual stunt: When its owner waves, the lizard waves back. The unusual waving was caught on video and has now gone viral. But the pet lizard isn’t really waving at its owner, or maybe it is. The reptiles, native to Australia, tend to wave their arms more when they’re young, but the gesture could...
Amazon lowers minimum amount for free shipping back to $35
Amazon lowers minimum amount for free shipping back to $35

Amazon has decreased the minimum amount for users to qualify for free shipping. The Verge reported that a year after the company raised the minimum amount to $49, it has now moved the point back to $35. The offer does not apply to Amazon Prime account holders, who have free two-day shipping for any order under Amazon's Prime membership program, but...
‘Lego Batman’ stays No. 1, conquers ‘The Great Wall’
‘Lego Batman’ stays No. 1, conquers ‘The Great Wall’

“The Great Wall” was a hit in China. In North America, it was a dud. The most expensive film ever made in China and with a budget of $150 million, “The Great Wall” was intended to prove that the world’s No. 2 movie marketplace could produce Hollywood-sized blockbusters of its own. Though it ran up $171 million in ticket...
Must see: Impatient dog honks car horn to hurry owner out of Subway
Must see: Impatient dog honks car horn to hurry owner out of Subway

An impatient dog was just doggone tired of waiting for its owner in a car outside a Grove City, Ohio Subway restaurant, so it did what anybody else would do: It laid on the horn. Tim and Yvonne Blankenship were pulling into the restaurant for lunch when they happened to catch the dog, named Diamond, on camera honking the horn incessantly, trying to...
More Stories