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Protesters Knit Up A Statement As The Pussyhat Project Takes Chicago

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 16, 2017 9:52PM

Pussyhat Project / Facebook

Thousands of people are expected to demonstrate downtown on Saturday, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, at the massive Women’s March on Chicago. When protesters gather to make a statement against the incoming administration’s threats to women’s rights, health care and myriad other issues, they’ll have a sartorial statement to match: the pussyhat—a pink knit show of solidarity that knitters in Chicago have been working furiously to produce.

Lynne Coe, owner of Knit 1, just wrapped up a week of formally hosting knit-ins at her shop in North Center, providing materials and a gathering space for those looking to stitch together a visual representation of the cause.

As many as 65 people filled the shop on Sunday, Coe said, knitting out the now iconic ears-up pattern. (The design specs are available here.) The reaction was “overwhelming,” as nearby businesses like Big Bricks chipped in, donating pizzas, unprompted, or stopping by with seats and stools. “Nobody in the neighborhood [reacted in a way] other than enormously positive,” Coe told Chicagoist.

The outpouring of action reminded Coe, 58, of the 1960s social-justice surge, “when everybody was united behind the cause either for civil rights or against the Vietnam War or for voting rights.” The knit-ins crowds were a diverse group, including several men, who felt ”motivated to respond in a positive way” to the incoming Trump administration.

The demand was so high that Coe had to enlist the help of a neighborhood friend who dyes yarn just to keep up with the weekend’s demand.

In fact, supplies were so sought-after that Knit 1 is now booked for reservations for hats through the week. But interested parties can still be a part of their contribution to the pussyhat vision. A group is meeting at the store on Saturday at 9 a.m. then taking the CTA downtown to the Women’s March. Like the organizers themselves, Coe said she hopes the march becomes a jumping-off point for broader, sustained activism, “feeding off the energy this election has created.”

Knit 1 / Facebook