Friday, February 10, 2017

Crafting a protest

I'm going to share with you my crocheted version of a pussyhat.  But first I'm going to talk to you.  Or you can skip my blathering, and jump ahead, but I do have some rather strong thoughts.

Do you remember when the word changed? When did the sweetness of another word for kitty become a name for a private part?  When did it become an insult?

In protesting the current administration, pussyhats have become a symbol of unity.  We are taking back the word, putting pink ears on our heads, and marching for respect, for equality, for human rights, against hate.  The bright pink riding the heads of protesters is a great visual, showing up well on the photos of large crowds.  It makes a statement that can't be missed.

But I have also seen people talk against them; saying they are vulgar, women wearing vaginas on their heads.  Women saying not all women are pink, and making brown or tan ones.  Somehow I think they missed the point, the message. This isn't a representation of our privates that are not up for grabs.  This is taking back a word that has been made vulgar and weaponized, used against women and men.  I mean, if that is how you see it, by all means, you do you. But this is my blog, my viewpoint.

Part of what I love about the pussyhat project is that it is people crafting with their own hands, people crafting for friends, sending hats to strangers. People sharing in protesting even when they can't march themselves.

I looked at the patterns provided here:

I tried out the crocheted one, as I don't knit.  I played with it, made some changes, made some other changes, gave some away, got feedback.  Then I came up with this.  And people love it and want directions.
I have never written a crochet pattern in my life, but I'm going to do my best.  And really, as patterns go, it is pretty simple.

That is the first thing you need to understand about this, it is a very simple concept.  You can knit it, crochet it, or sew it.  Once you have the dimensions down, you can play around with it, do whatever stripes you want, do it all solid.  The power is in your hands, only limited by your own creativity.

Think of it as a tube, about 20 inches around and 9 inches long, closed straight across at one end.  It lays flat, is rectangular in shape and can be mailed in a 9x12 envelope.  But when you put it on your nice round head, just like that, the top corners become ears.  What a wonderful thing.

For this hat, I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn.  It is widely available and had the range of colors I needed.  I used a size 5 mm hook.  Your results may vary, depending on yarn, hook, and the tension of the thread when you work: everyone is different.  It takes me a weekend afternoon, or a couple of after work evenings to make one hat, depending on how distracted I am.

These are the colors I used: Pretty 'N Pink, Medium Purple, Turqua (most of these have several languages, I have been giving you the English name, but this is the only name on this one), Spring Green, Lemon, Pumpkin, Cherry Red (Really?  I just now read the name of that color, and now I'm giggling a little, and here I am saying no, it is not about that! )

Chain 60.  Slip stitch in first chain to form a ring, but try to keep the chain from twisting.

Row 1: With Pink, chain 3.  Double crochet in the next chain and in each chain around the ring. Slip stitch to join to the third chain of chain three.

Rows 2-10: Chain three and turn work (so you are going back the other way). Double crochet in each double crochet around. At the end of row 10 end off (or row 16 if you want to make yours a solid color).

Rows 11-16: Do the same thing as the previous rows, but move through the rainbow.  I do purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red.  I prefer to have the purple next to the pink, you may choose to do it the opposite way.

Finishing:  Weave all loose threads into the inside of the hat.  Using a plastic yarn needle, or other large eyed blunt needle, sew across the pink end using pink yarn. Weave in those loose ends.

If you need help learning stitches, or how to sew a crocheted item, there are many websites and videos around, or ask a friend to show you.  There are different techniques, so be bold about trying several so you can find what works best for you.

Wear and share with pride.  I have a public album on Facebook of my pussyhats, in case you would like to see some of the ones I have made.  I intend to keep adding to it.