Pussyhat, Pussyhat, Where Have You Been?

Pussyhat, Pussyhat where have you been?
     I’ve been to Washington in hopes to be seen.

Pussyhat, Pussyhat what did you there?
    I gave brave marchers a warm symbol to wear.

This post includes information for recipients of my hats followed by a bit about my involvement with The Pussyhat Project.

Information for Hat Recipients

Dear Pussyhat Recipient,

More than a thousand knitters from all over the nation participated in this project, what are the chances you would end up with one of mine? I hope it will keep you warm during the Woman’s March on Washington, and I hope that you will enjoy its warmth long after or donate it to help keep someone else warm through the long cold winter. Although we do not know each other, know that your hat was knit with great care, warm wishes, and good intentions.

All hats were based on the basic Pussyhat Project Pattern and are made with wool. Your hat is tagged with a number for identification, care instructions are listed below by hat number. Please read on for more about your hat.

General Care Instructions

 

Hand Washing Instructions

Hand washing is appropriate for all hats. Soak in cool water using a gentle wool wash, such as Kookaburra or Eucalan. Some knitters use a touch of a very mild liquid hand soap or a few drops of Dawn Liquid rather than wool wash. Drain. If using soap, re-soak in plain water to remove soap residue but do not agitate. Saturated wool is very delicate, carefully wrap in towel and squeeze out excessive moisture. To dry, lay flat and pat into shape on a towel.

Machine Washing Instructions

If your hat is machine washable, use cold water and select gentle cycle. You may want to enclose it in a lingerie bag to keep it from snagging and stretching. Use a mild detergent, such as The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo. To dry, lay flat and pat it into shape on a towel or rack.

Washing Tips

img_7495If the wool gets really stretched out in the washing process (shhhh, don’t tell anyone I said this) a couple of minutes in a dryer can tighten those stitches back up…but be very careful! The hat should still be damp enough to pat into shape and air dry.

I put hand knits in my top-loading washing machine on the spin cycle wrapped inside a towel to remove excess moisture; this leaves the piece damp and firm rather than sopping wet, soggy, and easily damaged. Hand washing is gentler on hand knits, and when wool is spun dry it dries quickly. Generally I hand wash knit garments, even those made with machine washable fibers.

Hats 1-3

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Rowan Pure Wool Superwash (100% wool)

 

img_7484Hat 4

Care: Hand Wash (sorry)

Contents: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool (100% merino wool)

 

 

img_7486Hat 5

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Cascade 220 Superwash (100% wool) and Claudia Hand Painted Yarn (100% Merino wool).

Notes: Brim was trimmed with double strand of the Hand Painted Yarn.

 

img_7487Hat 6

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (wool and nylon)

Notes: Yarn held in double strands to give more thickness, hat is still warm but lighter weight than the others.

 

img_7488Hat 7

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Fibreworks Fingering (100% hand dyed wool from Australia)

Notes: Knit hat with double strands. Made a very thick hat, should be extra cozy!

 

img_7489Hat 8

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Fibreworks Fingering (100% wool from Australia) and Claudia Hand Painted Yarn (100% Merino wool).

Notes: Knit with both yarns combined to give hat more thickness.

 

img_7490Hat 9

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Fibreworks Fingering (100% wool from Australia) and Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (wool and nylon).

Notes: Knit with both yarns combined to give hat more thickness.

 

img_7491Hat 10

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Cascade 220 Superwash (100% wool) and Fibreworks Fingering (100% hand dyed wool from Australia)

Notes: Brim striped with the hand dyed yarn

 

img_7492Hat 11

Care: Machine Wash

Contents: Cascade 220 Superwash (100% wool) and Fibreworks Fingering (100% hand dyed wool from Australia)

Notes: Brim striped and body of hat slip-stitched with hand dyed yarn

Hats S1-S20-something: The Sister March Hats

img_7528Edited January 12 to add hats made for sister marches.

After mailing my hats for to Washington, DC I continued to knit hats for sister marches with whatever pink yarn I could find, beg, borrow, or steal. Some of the yarns did not have labels, some of the hats are constructed with two or three yarns held together, and all are a mix of yarns. I cannot be certain of the washing instructions, most are probably okay to machine wash and line dry, but to be on the safe side I would recommend washing by hand, wrap in towel to spin or squeeze dry, lay flat to dry, and gently reshape.

Pussyhat, Pussyhat where have you been?
     I’ve been from the Atlantic, to the Pacific, and in between.

Pussyhat, Pussyhat what did you there?
    I sprinkled marches with pink from here to there.

My Involvement with The PussyHat Project

I first heard about The PussyHat Project in an email from Klose Knit, our local yarn store (LYS in knitter’s terms). I was overseas at the time but with the miracle of the Internet was able to see what type of yarn the pattern called for and placed an order so that it would be there when I arrived home. My intention was to knit 3 or 4 hats, but once I got started I changed my goal to 10 hats. For anyone who has seen Spinal Tap, you will understand that once I made a goal of 10 that I just had to go to 11.

Many knitters have something called “stash” and I am a big time offender. However, when it came to pinks it was something of a challenge to find enough yarn for so many hats. I had yarn that was pink but it was the wrong thickness, but with a little creativity–such as holding two yarns together as I knit–I was able to use up my supply of pink yarns. In spite of a wealth of yarn on hand, I still found myself ordering more online and stopping in at the LYS for just one more skein. It is the curse of stash that, no matter how large it is, the right yarn is seldom there for any given project. It is also a blessing (or a curse) that knitters seldom mind shopping for more yarn.

What people wearing these hats may not know about this project is the camaraderie and cooperation that was shared among the participants. There is a website for knitters and crocheters called Ravelry. The group thread for the PussyHat Project has been very active. People posted details about modifications they made for knitting the hats more quickly. It is thanks to those generous people that I was able to knit my hats faster “in the round” rather than knitting flat and seaming them afterwards. I did have to seam the top, but I used the oft-dreaded Kitchener stitch over and over, and now know it so well I will never have to look up instructions for it again. Thank you for that. I also picked up the hint to add bows to accentuate and define each ear.

While crafters shared their tips, experiences, and thoughts, many designers offered their cat-inspired hat patterns free to project participants. Some of the small independent yarn companies and individual shops offered discounts on pink yarns. Whatever effort I put into this was well worth it for the graciousness and sense of community I experienced while participating in this project.

There were threads about the Woman’s March on Washington as well as sister marches located elsewhere across the country and abroad. I found options for buses to Washington from my home state as well as options for marches closer to home. I checked the Facebook groups for the different options and decided upon the march in Chicago. The group has been very active and informative about the march and other events. The idea of marches occurring in cities across the country and abroad as well as in Washington really appealed to me. It will be a long day but in the end I booked Amtrak tickets for a very early morning train ride to Chicago and a late afternoon train ride home. And yes, now I need to knit another pussyhat.

There are many reasons why I wholeheartedly joined in on this project. Of all the reasons why I chose to participate, perhaps the most important one is to have the sense of unity. With all the divisiveness—the us-versus-them rhetoric—I am so fortunate to be able to participate in a project that emphasizes cooperation, common purpose, and good will. We all have our individual reasons for joining in (or abstaining from) this movement, but I think a sense of unity is something we can all believe in. I hope to share my experiences in Chicago in a future post, but in the meantime I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this project. To those of you wearing one of these hats, thank you for caring enough to stand up and be counted as one hoping to keep the “United” in the United States.

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