Patricia Guthrie / Whidbey News Group Mary McLeod of Langley, a longtime knitter, said she’s been promising pink hats “to everybody.”

Pink hats and politics: Islanders join efforts toward women’s national march

Whidbey Island will be well represented next Saturday at the Women’s March in Seattle, one of many “sister” cities holding their own versions of the national march taking place in Washington, D.C.

Four buses are booked to take Whidbey residents to the downtown Seattle march, said organizer Diane Jhueck of Oak Harbor.

Atop their heads will be pink hats, the symbol of the march, made by legions of Whidbey residents who’ve gathered in past weeks to knit, sew and talk politics.

The Women’s March on Washington is aimed at facing “the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear,” according to its website.

As many as 200,000 marchers are expected to converge on the National Mall while the City of Seattle is preparing for tens of thousands.

Under the name POWER for People of Whidbey Elegantly Resisting, Jhueck got the word out about the round-trip Seattle buses via Facebook. She soon had more people wanting to go than she had seats.

Keeping abortion legal, birth control accessible and getting equal pay for equal work are just some of the reasons local residents give for participating. Others simply point to Trump.

“The authoritarian takeover of my country, that’s my concern,” Jhueck said.

“Protecting women’s rights,” Pam Muncey said while leading a circle of knitters at Langley’s Knitty Purls. “I’m super concerned about women’s health.”

The Langley store collected hats that local knitters made and mailed them to national march organizers who are distributing them.

Over the past month, Knitty Purls kept running out of skeins of hot pink yarn, color 106. “We sold $450 worth of pink yarn in one day,” said Muncey, a school teacher who teaches knitting at the store on Saturdays.

Barbara Bond decided to tackle knitting for the first time because of the march.

“It wasn’t fun the first few times I tried,” she said, “but now I’m getting the hang of it.”

Pussyhats featuring two small ears are in response to Trump’s remarks about “grabbing” women between the legs. Two women in Virginia created an easy pattern to knit, created a website and it took off.

While the name of the hat bothers some women, others don’t cotton to pink. Peggy Juve stitched together many colors of fleece to create her own cat ear hat. Then she made many, many more.

“I’ve made 70, maybe 80,” said Juve, co-owner of the The Side Market, a Bayview Corner artist cooperative. The design and textiles store had a “sew-in” last weekend, attracting some 50 people.

Mary McLeod of Langley, a longtime knitter, said she’s been promising pink hats “to everybody.”

“I can’t go to the march,” she said. “It’s what I feel I can do in the face of utter despair.”

Casey’s Crafts on Highway 525 near Langley is holding a “knit-in” today for pink-hat making. Owner Laurie Davenport says “girls as young as 10 and those up in their 80s,” have been clearing her shelves of pink yarn all month. “We ran out and a re-order just came in,” she said, “so we’re back in the pink.”

 

Patricia Guthrie / Whidbey News Group Pam Muncey leads a circle of knitters at Langley’s Knitty Purls who are making dozens of hats for the Jan. 21 women’s marches planned in many cities. In the past month, the store routinely ran short of hot pink yarn and circular knitting needles used to make the simple hat.