Pink hats with cat ears have turned into something of an unofficial uniform for Saturday’s Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and people are desperately trying to buy yarn to make the hats in time.
The demand for pink yarn stems from the growing Pussyhat Project. The project, based on President-elect Donald Trump’s “grab her by the pussy” comment caught on video, started soon after the election as a way for march participants to wear hand-knitted (and crocheted or sewed) hats at the mass protest the day after Trump’s inauguration.
Participants are making the hats for themselves or donating them for other march attendees to wear. Project organizers are aiming to have 1.7 million hats flood the march in a sea of pink pussyhats. Organizers said they expect about 100,000 hats to have been made and ready for marches around the country by Saturday. A “hat tracker” map shows them being sent in from all parts of the world.
The only problem is hat makers are in desperate need of any pink yarn to use as instructed in the official pattern guidelines. An official Pussyhat Project spokeswoman said in an email to Mashable Wednesday morning that demand for the hat is overwhelmingly high.
For many passionate supporters, it has been a mad dash to knit, crochet and sew more hats. With only a few days until the huge gathering takes place, yarn supplies are starting to run out especially in a certain color.
A representative for New York yarn store Lion Brand Yarn Studio said the rush to buy pink yarn this week has been “crazy,” so there is not much left for wannabe pussyhat protesters. The thicker pink kinds are decimated, she said in a phone call to Mashable Wednesday, while other kinds are going fast.
Michaels craft store public relations manger Mallory Smith said in an email to Mashable, “Michaels loves supporting our customers creativity and being a part of their community engagement.” They said they’ve seen a recent increase in sales of pink yarn, but noted the company’s 1,300 stores shouldn’t have “any significant out of stock issues at this time.”
It is worth calling ahead if you are on the hunt for last minute yarn, though, as on the ground it is a different story. Mashable talked to a store representative at a Michaels in Northern California Wednesday morning. She said the location was out of solid pink and hot pink yarn. Other stores had a similar shortage, she said.
For those willing to go for a blended look, the representative said there are still spools of pink with other colors mixed in. But if you really can’t get your hands on the pink yarn to knit or crochet the hat you desire, consider a thinner yarn, a different color entirely or your hat instead.
Plenty of knitters and crocheters took to Twitter to note how precious a commodity pink yarn has become. One knitter in Woodbury, Minnesota, posted about a craft store out of yarn, while another said in South Burlington, Vermont, Jo-Ann’s, A.C. Moore and Michaels were reportedly dangerously low on pink yarn supplies but supposedly ordering more shipments of the pink material.
Finally made it to a yarn store so I can make a pussyhat, and of course they’re out of chunky, quick-knit yarn in pink.
Ann Scranton (@annsy5) January 13, 2017
Even on Amazon, orders for spools of hot pink yarn are hard to come by, with many shipments not expected to make it in time for the march.
It’s not even a yarn shop, but a Brooklyn cafe and performance space has become a de facto Pussyhat Project hat-making factory and the wild demand for hats has hit them hard as well.
Kettle & Thread owner Elizabeth Barraclough said in a call with Mashable after holding a Pussyhat-making meet-up a few weeks ago, the cafe starting receiving donations and eventually became a hat drop-off site. Soon people started to call to see if they could get a hat or purchase one.
That’s when she brought in her friends (and her friends’ mothers) to start knitting in earnest. Since then the cafe has made 60 hats. On Tuesday, Barraclough said 20 callers asked about buying hats. The demand has been so high, Barraclough also started “upcycling” old vintage sweaters into the pink hats. “I only have two hands,” she said.
But as she knits and crochets up a storm, she said it’s all worth it. “I love being part of it and participating,” she said. “I think it’s something positive in light of all this awfulness.”
She’s heading to D.C. with her three sons on Friday in time for the Saturday march. The whole family will be wearing hand-stitched hats, she assured.
Another hat maker on Twitter took the yarn shortage as a good sign, indicative of how many people are participating and supporting social justice, civil rights and equality.
Good news-when I went to buy Pussyhat yarn today, they were pretty much out of pink yarn. Heartening!
Mitla96 (@Mitla96) January 16, 2017
That’s one way to spin it.