FO: Pink Cat Protest Hats

I realize I am terribly remiss in the usual year-end blog housekeeping, like posting the Christmas gifts I knit for my family this year, a summary of the projects I knit in 2016, or even taking pictures of the things I knit and have been wearing for months now.

2017 Knitting Resolution: get back on track with photographing my projects.

I did have occasion to photograph a very special project, the pair of pink hats I knit for the Women’s March on NYC, a sister protest of the Women’s March on Washington that the NYC Mayor’s office estimated at 400,000 strong.



Pattern: Official Kittyville Hat by Kitty Schmidt, published in Stitch n’ Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook and archived online. My project page is here.
Size: Hat size, for larger adult heads
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft Solids, Aran weight, 100% acrylic, in Rubine Red; I used less than 1 skein for both hats, approximately 144 grams, 267.8 yards/ 244.8 meters.
Needles: Size 7 (4.50 mm) 16-inch circular and DPNs
Modifications: Omitted ear flaps, ties, and pom-poms; increased stitch count overall (see notes below).

Started: January 16, 2017
Finished: January 18, 2017


Still / again fighting for what's right #WomensMarchNYC #WhyIMarch @nycwomensmarch

When discussing our plans to march, my mother and I were each initially hesitant to wear pink cat-eared hats because we worried they could be infantilizing or too cutesy for such serious issues. The more I read about the Pussyhat Project, the better I understood the real power of the hats as a unifying symbol. This article discusses it from an interesting perspective. I was particular drawn to the idea that these hats were nearly all hand-made, individualized, creative expressions of solidarity, an important antidote to red hats mass-produced in China. I loved the idea of knitters and crocheters making practical hats donated for other marchers, and I wish I’d made time to knit more than the two hats I did.



I have knit this pattern before when making a Hello Kitty hat, so I knew it made a comfortable, cute hat. I also knew that if we wanted to, we could unravel the ears and have a “normal” hot pink beanie to wear or donate to charity after the march. Although in truth, we’re both so fond of our hats I don’t see us parting with them anytime soon.



We both have fairly gigantic heads. I joke that it’s an Irish thing, but it’s also possible we have quite average-sized heads and are abnormally sensitive about the way hats fit around our ears. Either way, I wanted a slightly looser-fitting hat, so I cast on 100 stitches and knit a little longer than the pattern calls for before beginning the crown decreases. It resulted in a slightly slouchy fit, which made them very comfortable, and I just placed the ears at the bottom of the decreases so they’d sit nicely on the top of the head.




My sign, quoting Hillary Clinton: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

In addition to our hats, we had a little pizza and painting party at my apartment the night before to make our signs. This too was an equally cathartic and therapeutic focusing of our energy into good intents and wishes for the future that we could carry out into the world. A surprising amount of people commented on how much they liked our hats and signs and asked to take photos, so I was pleased that we’d put the effort into making them as engaging and attractive as possible.




My mother’s sign: Complacent Is Complicit / Strong Women Stand Together

I was reminded yet again of why I knit, as an extension of why I am an artist. Making things with your hands gives you the chance to make something so unique it is the only one of its kind in the world. The vast diversity of pink protest hats that I saw echoed the individuality and particular expressions of all the knitters and crocheters who put their hearts and souls into them, each choosing a slightly different yarn, gauge, or style that reflected their personalities.



Just as each stitch is essential for creating a knit fabric, so too is each individual’s experiences and contributions essential to the fabric of society and democracy. Looking at the seas of pink hats like ours in march photos from around the world, I felt more connected with humanity than I ever have before, just by doing something small with my two hands. I am so grateful I could be a part of that.

FO – Eleanor in Blue Socks

Another pair of long-finished socks, these were such a treat during last spring’s trip to Italy.

Like broken-in jeans and a cushy sweater, these were instantly comfortable and felt familiar.

Pattern: Eleanor by Gigi Silva/Monkey Toes; available as a free pattern on Ravelry; my project is here
Size: US women’s 9
Yarn: Regia Havanna Color 4-ply fingering weight, in color 4182, 75% new wool / 25% nylon; I used 80.4 grams, which was approximately 367.5 yards/ 336 meters
Needles: Clover size 2 (2.75 mm) bamboo DPNs, set of 5
Modifications: worked toe-up, with a short-row heel

Started: February 5, 2009
Finished: March 31, 2009

I’ve knit a pair of Eleanor socks before, but I was dissatisfied with the eyelets on those (I really should reknit one and finish that pair). For this pair, I followed the pattern and I’m so glad I did.

I felt a weird tenderness toward these socks, partly as a consequence of working them slowly on bamboo DPNs. These were my refuge after long, cold days working outside, and later, my little bit of warmth and relaxation tucked in my bag while doing thesis research in Venice. I knit these while waiting for, and then riding trains, and I vividly remember one frustrating afternoon where I actually wrote in my journal “I just want to sit outside and knit my socks in the sunshine, the hell with thesis research.”

This pattern is great – I’ve really enjoyed it immensely both times I’ve worked on it, and I’m surprised that it doesn’t get boring from something so repetitive. I knit 8 repeats up the legs, and though I had enough yarn, I didn’t feel like figuring out calf increases. Still, I imagine they’d look smashing as knee socks.

I knit the majority of the second sock on the plane home, when I was utterly exhausted and couldn’t wait to be with my family and sleep in my own bed. My seat-mate, a college-aged guy from the UK, seemed genuinely perplexed by me, but I was completely unconcerned. At one point a woman walking by knocked my working yarn on the ground in front of the flight attendant’s drink cart, and it was a bit of a disaster as they rolled it over, pulling my sock and DPNs and all out of my hands and dragging it down the aisle. There is a break in the yarn, and even those little woven in ends elicit a fond smile whenever I see them.

The yarn is sturdy and was very pleasant to knit with. I’ve always loved Regia and found it to be an excellent yarn at a great price. The subtly blended colors are delightful in person and they sustained my interest throughout knitting. The rich blues and warm, gentle browns and tans remind me of corduroy pants and flannel shirts, of the beach where the ocean and sand meet, and of mud flats at low tide with wind-bent cattails and a brilliant blue sky.

In short, they feel like home.

Previous Entries on this Project:
Also Blue

FO – Spring Forward Socks

These are a bit of a flashback, since I finished them more than a year ago, but I still really love my Spring Forward Socks.

These are probably the pinkest, most feminine, girliest socks I’ve ever made, and I just adore them.

Pattern: Spring Forward by Linda Welch, free pattern from summer 2008 Knitty; my project is here on Ravelry
Size: US women’s 9
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy fingering weight, in Petal Shower, 100% Merino wool; I used 90.9 grams, which was approximately 360 yards/ 329.2 meters
Needles: Knit Picks size 1.5 (2.5 mm) nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5
Modifications: worked toe-up, with a short-row heel

Started: January 3, 2009
Finished: April 5, 2009

As you may have surmised, these socks are practically perfect in every way. The fit is wonderfully comfortable. Because I had so much yarn (seriously – the yardage for Smooshy is so generous already, and I still have 20 grams leftover!), I was able to make the leg as long as I wanted.

The lace pattern was wonderfully easy, and fun, and I love the way it looks. The springy shapes are playful and move the yarn in pleasing ways, while still maintaining an almost solid fabric, so they’re not too open to wear as trouser socks or what have you. When I actually worked on these socks, they moved as quickly as, say, Monkeys, which made them very satisfying.

I still haven’t found a heel I love as much as a short-row heel (which is probably not a bad thing), and these were worked with 10 stitches on each side and 13 in the middle.

Apart from a wonderful pattern, I think what really made these socks for me is the yarn. I love this yarn so much I want to sing songs about it – the springy quality of the heavenly soft Merino is ideally suited for this bouncy lace, the colors are just variegated enough to stay interesting without getting distracting, the colors are lovely blends of pinks and creams so beautiful that I love every one, and the finished sock feels downright decadent on my feet. For the time it takes to make a pair of hand knit socks, it is very rewarding for them to feel so cushy and refined, like the luxury they really are. I will definitely be using as much Smooshy as possible in the future!

As for these socks, I can tell I will be getting a lot of wear out of them, starting right away.

Previous Entries on this Project:
Pink

FO – Hello Kitty Hat

My labmate and dear friend Penelope is fairly obsessed with Hello Kitty. When I was brainstorming her Christmas gift, I thought something playful and well, adorable, was in order, and so I made her a Hello Kitty hat.

Pattern: Official Kittyville Hat (Ravelry link) by Kitty Schmidt, free pattern on Kittyville
Size: adult size hat
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft 10-ply aran weight, colors White and Raspberry, 100% acrylic; I used about half a skein of the white, which was approximately 165 yards/ 151 meters and a small amount of the raspberry
Needles: Susan Bates size 7 (4.5 mm) 16″ circular and Knit Picks nickel-plated double-pointed needles, set of 5 size 7 (4.5 mm)
Modifications: Knit hat as written; added bow from the Hello Kitty Hat pattern (Ravelry)

Started: January 12, 2010
Finished: January 13, 2010

I saw a number of almost unbearably cute Hello Kitty hats on Ravelry, but I decided to go with just the bow and ears attached to an otherwise serviceable white hat, as a kind of homage to Hello Kitty, a hat in the spirit without being a literal depiction. Also, this way Penelope could actually be Hello Kitty, and that is way, way more fun.

The pattern was great: straightforward, fast, and easy, making for a very satisfying and enjoyable project. I loved the I-cord and had to refrain from making 3-foot long tassles. The pom-poms look sweet now, but they were quite a hassle to make. I’ve read before that acrylic makes lousy pom-poms, and I think it was only through sheer obsession that I got these to a state I am happy with.

I love the way the ears are constructed from picked-up stitches, knit in two layers that are sewn together for stability and structure. Having the seed stitch echo the lower band and ear flaps was a nice touch. I really like the way the seed stitch looks on this hat, and it didn’t occur to me until I was almost done with it that it’s really no more work than K1, P1 ribbing.

Of course, what makes this project is the bow. My goodness, am I smitten with this bow. It’s such a simple construction (garter stitch rectangle with a smaller rectangle cinching it in at the middle and sewn together), but it comes out utterly adorable. I sewed it down at a coquettish angle, and the hat came alive.

I had so much fun making this hat, and I loved giving it as a gift. Penelope was totally thrilled and looked ridiculously cute. I’m so happy!