DMV Influentials: The Takoma Park Knitty Cats
Photo provided by NBC News
You know their products and you see everyone wearing them at the Women’s March every year.
That’s right— we’re talking about those infamously bright, pink cat eared hats known as “Pussy Hats” that are worn across the country, and in many cases globally. This international phenomenon is closer to home than you think. In fact, for the last few years a group of activist knitters known as the Knitty Cats have been using their hand knitting skills to use creating these hot commodities in our very own backyard— Takoma Park, Maryland.
Luckily for HYPE! Radio, we got to sit down with these women pioneers on how they got their start and how it’s evolved to continued influence in the DMV.
When meeting the “knitters” at Takoma Park’s Roscoe’s Pizzeria, infamous for their pizza and mean mojitos, sat five middle aged woman, all local knitters that meet weekly at the restaurant.
“We can’t believe we’re still here,” stated Pamela, Ross, and Jenny after explaining the constant demand for their product, even since starting back in January 2017 during the face of election chaos. The group highlighted the Trump presidency as a catalyst to creating Knitty Cast, which in the end served as a “wonderful silver lining.”
Through the face of adversity these women decided to create women empowering hats as a means of both resistance and spreading a positive message of love. After countless hours and nights of knitting, the group were comforted to see history before their eyes— hundreds of marchers wearing their hats at the 2017 Women’s March— recorded to be one of the largest demonstrations in U.S. history.
Yet Knitty Cats went beyond the Women’s March.
“It’s definitely one of the lovely things that came out of the political chaos. I met people in the neighborhood and the town that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
Video by Sandrine Silverman and Alfred Schoeninge
All within four blocks of each other, these women had been living right next to each other for years, but would only meet under these hat knitting circumstance— a reality that in the end would make these knitters feel less alone during a time of need.
While the group is still fortunate enough to be making hats, that comes at no easy expense. In fact, with a name like “pussy hats” the group is reclaiming the five lettered P-word and making it theirs despite the social avoidance of the word. With this fight for women equality comes various questions from the public, including individuals from Japan that naturally questioned the choice of name, as they thought “pussy was a bad thing.”
The group is proud of its name as they are re-appropriating the term in a quirky, new way. “Every hat has a punch line, so the people that purchase it feel just as connected.”
Whether it’s creating yarned hats or thinking outside of the box with yarn ornaments, yarn bombing, or yarn soap covers, one thing is certain— these women trailblazers are creating tangible items that will live beyond its creator, a true form of historical art and the epitome of a DMV influential.
If you’re interested in joining the group be sure to check out their Facebook to stay updated on all things Pussyhats. Knit-savvy or not, all ages are welcomed.