Introduction: Rainbow Pussy Hat

This is THE HAT for 2017, which burst to life on January 21st on the streets of Washington DC, NYC, LA and all over the world in the largest peaceful demonstration in history. I will not dwell on the repulsive behavior which made the pussyhat project necessary. I will say that knitting and wearing these adorable hats has become a very genteel and powerful way of saying that sexual assault will not be tolerated, forgotten, or brushed aside as just locker room talk. Wear one of these on a trip to the grocery store on a cold day and you create your own, personal march for human rights. It will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside and out; you will discover lots of allies... and if you are in a part of the world where there might be fewer allies, just showing yourself makes a huge difference. You will not be invisible, you will not be silenced, you will make your voice be heard -- without needing to raise it! You go high...

If I'm going to wear a message on my head, I might as well make a broad statement -- so I decided to knit this rainbow pussy hat. I love those pictures of a sea of pink hats, but my desire to show solidarity for LGBT rights matters more. Plus it's pretty darn cute.

Step 1: The Yarn

It was surprisingly difficult to find yarn for this project. Cozy neighborhood yarn stores only had beautiful skeins of very expensive natural fibers (and there's no way I could spend 6 times $30 for a cashmere hat!), and stores like Michaels just had huge, monster value packs with the wrong colors. Finally I went online and I bought Lion's DIY 100% acrylic yarn. These are smaller than usual skeins, with bright colors, and I could overlook the cheap acrylic feel because it was literally cheap: $1.

Another viable option seems to be this assortment.The red here is closer to a pink, which could be a good thing in this case, but I tossed a coin and chose the Lion brand.

Step 2: The Pattern

You will find lots of pattern variations on the pussyhat project website, but the basic idea is pretty straightforward: knit or crochet a piece which measures approximately 11" wide by 17" long, fold it in half, sew up the edges, and you're done!

To make a rainbow hat, you will need to start with 1.4" of purple (basically an inch and a half, but be stingy), followed by 1.4" each of blue, green, yellow, and orange. You will need 2.5" of red, then 1.4" of orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Switching color is really easy: snip off the color ball you are done with (leaving 6-10 inches) and just start knitting the new row with your new color.

The Lion's yarn I got was "rated" for 5mm (US #8) needles, but all I had on hand were 5.25mm (US#9). With this yarn, these needles and my knitting style I cast on 40 stitches, and each color besides red was 8 rows. Red was 14 rows.

As you probably know, the number of stitches and rows will depend on the yarn and needles you are using -- but also your personal knitting style, tight or loose. If you are using different yarn and needles, start by making a test with your yarn: cast on 20 stitches, knit one row, purl the next, and keep on going like that till you get a square. Measure your piece, count the rows, and do the math to figure out how many stitches you need to cast on, and how many rows you should knit to get the right dimensions.

Instead of the 4.25" rib on the official pussy hat, I made mine 2 colors wide... In other words, 3" which worked just fine. The rib is made of 2 knit and 2 pearl stitches. After that, yellow, orange and red are all knit on the right side, and purled on the reverse.

Remember the ribbed section will be narrower than 11" -- this is normal, and this is what you want. Only the flat middle section should be 11" wide.

Just one word of warning: the color transition looks great on the front (knit) side, but on the reverse it's not so smooth. This means that towards the end, when you transition from green to blue, even though THEORETICALLY you are supposed to start creating a rib, you should knit that first row to avoid a visible transition of colors, as shown in the 3rd picture (after taking the picture, I unravelled all the blue and fixed it). Start making your rib pattern on the second row of blue. This is not an issue for the blue/purple transition, because the purl stitches naturally recede to the background.

Step 3: Sew

Fold your hat in half, wrong side out, and sew the edges together, using the extra thread left hanging. Since all my colors were made of an even number of rows, I ended up will all my threads on one side, and I needed to use scraps to sew the other side.

If you're in a rush you could use just one color to sew the whole side, but it's better to use yarn which matches the color of the part you are sewing. You've invested this much, you might as well finish it right...

Stop all the loose threads, trim them all off, then wear your hat with pride!

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If you like paper craft and pop-up cards, check out my website, www.MakePopUpCards.com for lots of DIY ideas and patterns. You can also get your hands on that "Ceci n'est Pas un Président" image you see in the background of the last photo.

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Bio: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I ... More »
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