Threads Through Time-Pussy Hat

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Donna Bowman
Knitted Pussyhat, 2020
Acrylic yarn

Shortly after Facebook posts calling for women to march on Washington went viral in November 2017, Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman conceived of a pink “cat-ear” hat as a unifying visual signifier for marchers and posted an instructional PDF. The pussyhat, referencing Donald Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape, was simple enough for novice knitters and crocheters: two identical rectangles joined on three sides, whose corners formed ears at the top of the head when worn. Makers crafted pussyhats to wear themselves and to be distributed to marchers, often customizing or modifying the basic pattern. In many cities and towns, pink yarn  was sold out in the weeks before the march. The organizers’ vision of a “sea of pink” on the National Mall came to pass, with photos of the crowd dominated by thousands of hats in every shade of pink, and similar images characterized sister marches around the country and the world. The pussyhat emerged as the enduring icon of the march and of women’s resistance to the Trump administration, appearing on newspaper front pages, editorial cartoons, and magazine covers.

To make your own hat: Pussy Hat Project Instructions  

 

Donna Bowman
Cloth face mask, 2020
Cotton fabric, cotton thread, elastic

Faced with a shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) in March and April 2020, hospitals began calling for local sewists to make cloth masks to stretch their medical-grade supplies. Conflicting messages early in the COVID-19 pandemic about the effectiveness and advisability of homemade masks gave way by June to widespread official recommendations for the public to wear masks. Home sewists, along with fashion houses, small textile businesses, and theatrical costume shops, created cottage-industry-style production lines to turn out masks by the hundreds of thousands. Local groups organized on social media coordinated requests with teams of sewists, cutters, drivers, and suppliers, while national groups recruited makers for large-scale efforts on behalf of tribal communities, the homeless, care facilities, and other underserved or resource-poor populations. This mask is made according to instructions from Deaconess Hospital in Evanston, Indiana, and is among the simplest and most widely used face covering patterns: two identical rectangles sewn together with elastic ear loops or ties attached at the corners, pleated during the final top-stitching step to fit a large range of adult faces.

To make your own masks: Facial Mask Instructions