Unless you have been living under a rock (which sometimes I wish I am so I get it if you have been) you have heard about the Women's March and The PussyHat Project. So many fellow knitters and crocheters, and so many sewers and artisans coming together to help women express themselves visually. I was unable to attend a march but was there in the spirit of my work and honored by all the women who asked me to make them a hat. I also shared recently on IG about my grandmother, the most important woman in my life.
This march had generations of women marching together and that is powerful. And since I missed the march, I loved seeing the shared posts and photos of something so powerful in action. I wanted to invite another woman who inspires me as an artist to share her story after seeing her march post. Maybe because of the sign in the background of her IG march photo (You Pissed Off My Abuela) or maybe because of her unabashed empowerment in who she is, I invited Katie (The Queen Stitch) to share her experience marching and she graciously accepted. I hope she inspires you like she inspires me to be who we are made to be: empowered artists and empowered women! Take it away Katie...
My mom has been fundamental to me becoming a confident and assertive human being. When I was growing up she was a women's health and child advocacy lawyer. She worked with UNICEF in Iran, and she spent time in Ireland trying to sort through the IRA mess in Belfast. She was brave, and went where she thought she could be useful, always standing up for the rights of women and children when it was threatened.
She raised me to be prudent but open about health and sex. In high school, she brought me to her OB/GYN so I could be fully informed on what choices were out there. I have not always made the best choices in terms of dating or partners, but I avoided so much emotional, and physical strife in the dating and sex world because of this knowledge and access to resources.
Trump's rhetoric during his election, aside from his slut-shaming, shallowness, and general hate speech, seeks to undercut the confidence, educational opportunities, and health care of a huge group of women.
I was taught to crochet, like many, by my grandmother. Another “strong woman”, who created a safe space for me, while teaching me to create and recognize what safety meant.
The knitting, crochet and fiber arts community is often associated with coziness, staying home in your jammies, and in a way, safety. But that doesn't mean the community lazy, and as his hate started to build up the maker community stood up - and the pussy hat trend exploded.
The day before the march Alexi (of Two of Wands) and I were both hurriedly making pussyhats as quickly as possible. She was going down to DC and knitting her hats, I was crocheting mine for everyone I knew was going.
For my own garb, I wanted to remind everyone that this is more than just about Planned Parenthood. Yes, it's an important and wonderful institution that gives people access to knowledge and health care services, but this march is more than women's health. Women are more than their vaginas. We are not walking pussies that are grabbed and released, censored and taboo. We're human beings, community members, activists, makers.
I made what I called a "protest vest" to remind Trump, the powers that be, whoever is listening, that I am more than my pussy, and I am not ashamed of having one.
To be surrounded by so much creativity and anger, humor and knitwear, was inspiring and hopeful. I marched for equality, access, community, and confidence. --
ABOUT KATIE: Katie Jagel is a modern crochet designer with a kitschy and colorful take on the fiber arts. Her company The Queen Stitch is known for its original and fun designs. She has been crocheting for over 10 years and enjoys eggs for breakfast, and good lipstick.