Saturday, February 18, 2017

Roll On, Pink River, Roll On!

That pussy hat thing was pure genius, and successful beyond its originator's wildest dreams. One woman comes up with a hat design so simple a rank beginner could make it. It has little ears suggestive of a pussycat; it's pink, for girl power; it honors women's traditional domestic arts; it allows women to snatch back (as it were) the term "pussy" from its vulgar associations, simultaneously mocking the new leader of the currently-Free World; and if it catches on, the Women's March would be a river of pink. And oh boy, was it ever! Which means now I need a hat.

I put it out to Facebook: I need a pussy hat, but I don't know how to knit.

Of course, I heard from women offering to make me a hat. Which made me realize I wasn't really angling for a donated hat. Was I? I'm squeamish about accepting gifts, so what was I thinking? Here's what I was thinking. I was thinking the phrase "I don't know how to knit" was more or less equivalent to "I can't dunk a basketball."

Maine photos by Walter Henritze
It isn't. And after all the generous offers of hats and personal lessons and the dozens of links to knitting patterns and crocheting patterns and video tutorials, I realized: well shit. I durn well orta be able to knit a pussy hat. Even if it's a shitty one. In fact, I'm gonna do it! Rowr!

Still, my doubts about knitting don't come out of nowhere. One fine summer I spent a week with friends at a house on the coast of Maine. The wide porches opened onto the Eggemoggin Reach, all sailboats and serenity.  Half of my friends could probably figure out how to knit a sweater for Siamese-twin octopuses, and the rest of us couldn't knit at all. We decided to have a teach-in. We'd all make the same scarf side by side, sitting on that splendid porch, with all the time in the world. There was a yarn shop in town and we paid it a visit.

There's the first place I went wrong. I just had to buy something fancy. After all, I've often thought I would have learned piano much sooner if I'd been given real music to play instead of stuff like "March of the Hobgoblins" that was written specifically to introduce the student to Triads and boredom at the same time. So I decided if I were going to make a scarf, it would have to be fabulous. I got some multi-colored yarn with nubbles and tufts and cowlicks engineered right into it. It was going to be swell.

Linder calmly fixes my scarf while I gesticulate wildly
But it was all nubbly and weird and I couldn't see what I was doing with it. We sat knitting side by side and periodically I'd hold up my emerging rag and say "I think I messed something up, here." One of the experts would cheerfully examine it and say "Oh see? You dropped a stitch way back here in the second row," and then she'd squirrel a crochet hook through the thing like she was rescuing a hamster from a roll of chicken wire, and boom, she'd pop up with the hamster intact, and hand it all back with a smile, but no, I didn't see, I never saw. I never saw my dropped stitch and couldn't find the hamster and even if I had, I couldn't have coaxed it back out if I'd put fudge sauce on its kibble.

I lugged around my half-finished scarf for years and finally gave it to someone who thought she could finish it, and I hope she has.

But I checked out the tutorial video for the pussy hat and it looks straightforward. I know I can do this. I just need pink yarn now, which, by the way, is utterly unavailable for the moment all across the country. Isn't that cool?

Because if I'm going to go with you all into this brave new world, I'm going to need a pussy hat to remind me that maybe I can do things I think I can't. And when all us protesters and bloggers and atheists-registered-as-Muslims and people with Black Lives Matter signs on our lawns are moldering away in the internment camps, whoever knows how to make a sweater out of mongrel fur is going to be a step ahead. There might not even be a piano.

36 comments:

  1. I wouldn't mind a pussy hat for myself, especially in this cold forsaken climate,but I'm probably much more incompetent than you at knitting. I know you need a couple of needles and a lump of yarn. That is the extent of my knowledge.

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    1. I'll have an update, but I'm through the ribbing and starting on the stockinette, and I've only gone back to the yarn store 18,000 times. I am very slow about learning how to fix mistakes!

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    2. No need to go back to the yarn store. Just unravel the mistake and start over with the same yarn.

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    3. WELL...I've gone back to the yarn store after unknitting to the mistake and then being unable to figure out how to fix it and also having made a whole new mistake in the unknitting process.

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  3. I know you can do it!!! And you have a yarn shop within walking distance? I am green with envy.

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    1. This would be going nowhere without it. Well, I can always hit up neighbors.

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  4. I am reclaiming my title as a knitter! I learned to knit over 50 years ago but put it aside in favor of quilting (and living in southern and middle Texas--not much call for sweaters, scarves, and knit caps.) I will proudly pick up my needles again and join you as another drop in the Pink River!

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    1. I just wish there was some way I could include "Irresponsible Host" somewhere on the hat....

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    2. I had to think about your last comment, but oh yes--that's what we are now! The crazy, it is so prevalent I've been limiting my exposure so my head doesn't shrapnelize.

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    3. "...I'm going to need a pussy hat to remind me that maybe I can do things I think I can't." YES! Thank you, Murr!

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    4. Although...so far, I haven't proved that I can...

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  5. Just remember that you need to finish it sometime BEFORE it gets hot enough there that wearing a knitted hat will give you heat stroke, never mind those little hamsters and be DONE with it!! Good luck!

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    1. Except that sometimes those little hamsters take off running, and that is not good.

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  6. Way to go Murr. Every new thing we master makes us stronger......and younger.

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  7. Love this post. Hadn't knit a hat in many years but I knit a pussy hat.

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    1. I look horrible in hats, but I'm going to wear this one. My head is so tiny the hat will look like a little eraser.

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  8. Great post! I used to knit but like cbott I don't have much call for anything knitted here in FL. I could teach you though, or, at the very least, cheer you on! Pictures please!

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  9. I can knit and crochet but I can't follow a pattern so knitting is out and my crochet granny square is only 3inches by 3 and I can do that in my sleep. My mother used to make all my dresses so when I had to start, I kept 4 of the favourite ones and they were my simple patterns. Mother was also clever in using patterns that could be expanded as the rear end did.

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    1. That IS handy! I used to crochet. I'd make those squares and intended to put them together. But in a burst of creativity, I made them in Beige and Brown. Who WAS I then?

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  10. That is a cute little hat. But I won't be making one, I can't see myself wearing something with ears. Maybe in a different colour, could you shoot me a link to the pattern? I'll give it a go.
    Beige and Brown squares? Yikes! You'll have to make an equal number of squares in different, brighter colours, then maybe you could cobble together something that looks good.

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    1. Oh that crocheting project died in a bag somewhere fifty years ago. Not to be resurrected. As for the pussy hat--which kind of has to be pink to be a true pussy hat--the link to the video is in the second-to-last paragraph, "tutorial video." Click on that.

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  11. Love the pussy hats. Tried to get one while I was at the march in my hometown. Yeah, that's me, mooching off other more talented women.

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    1. If I'd had pink fleece I would've sewn one up quick as a bunny, but I don't. In fact I have almost no pink material. Now I'm glad because it's making me learn this thing.

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  12. I crocheted mine from google instructions. I must say that with a little instruction a monkey could have done it. A mistake wouldn't have mattered and the point is to wear a pink pussy hat, perfection be damned. So get crackin'. We are pulling for you. We need you on the line.

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    1. I'm crackin'! I'm crackin'!

      But as long as I'm going to try to learn a new skill AT MY AGE, I don't want to have some dang dropped stitch unravel the whole thing when I'm done.

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  13. I made three of them on request. It was an honor and each stitch was a protest of my own.

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    1. Yay! So you can tell me: how long does it take YOU to make a single one? Because I'm looking at a $500 hat, at minimum wage.

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  14. When you are done with the hat, you'll be just raring to learn another craft. Check out this woven rug. I'm sure Tater can supply the raw materials. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/sacred-cat-rug

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