This past weekend I marched in the Toronto Women’s March. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week or so you are probably aware of the pink pussy hat. The pink pussy hat was the hat of the march and was worn in solidarity with women, and in protest to President Trump.
The pink pussy hat is based on a very simple knitting pattern requiring only two stitches – knit and purl. The hat is knitted in a square and the sides are sewn to form a hat. When you put it on your head ears pop out.
I speed knit a hat on friday evening in order to wear it saturday morning. The gauge was off and the hat was too big. I had enormous ears! Oh well.
As a knitter I have always seen knitting as a way to make beautiful and useful creations. It is a practical skill that creates hats, mitts, blankets, and sweaters. Knitting is a form of spiritual care in many churches via the prayer shawl ministry. Lovely shawls are created and offered to members of the congregation when ill or experiencing a difficult time. I received one years ago when Matthew was ill.
I know women who knit as a contemplative practice or a means to manage anxiety. For example I know a women who knits when her medically complex child is in hospital – which is often. The act of knitting focuses her attention on something constructive and manageable in the chaotic swirl of the hospital. She once told me that the repetitive nature of the work grounds her when all else feels out of the control.
Knitting can be a form of social activism. I know many who knit warm hats, mitts, and scarves to help people who are homeless during cold Canadian winters. Communities knit afghans and garments last year for Syrian refugees arriving to experience their first Canadian winter. During Canada’s participation in the two world wars last century thousands of women knit socks to ensure soldiers and sons had warm feet.
And now with the pink pussy hat we have knitting as a form of protest. To me, it seems perfect that an activity largely seen as a feminine task became a rallying point to protest an American president who is so anti-woman.