Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Pussyhat Quilt: Free Pattern

I am making this quilt to commemorate the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21, 2017. I participated in the Charlotte, NC, march, and wore the pussyhat I knitted. (For information on pussyhats, please visit

The Pussyhat Project was designed to give people participating in the march a unique collective visual statement – a sea of pink hats with pussycat ears. The word “pussy” is intentionally provocative – it’s a reference to Donald Trump’s admission/bragging on the “Access Hollywood” tape with Billy Bush that he sexually assaulted women:

“I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it,” Trump says, “… I did try and f**k her. She was married. I moved on her like a b***h, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married.” [Trump and Bush see actress Arianne Zucker.] “I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her. And when you’re a star they let you do it. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” – Donald Trump

NOTE: I am personally offended at the use of the word “pussy” to describe women’s genitalia. I use the word to take it back, in the same way that some African-Americans are using the word “nigger” to take ownership of it, and make it less powerful as an insult. During the election, several women I know who supported Trump got very upset at people using the word “pussy” and were dismayed that their school-aged children were hearing it. I pointed out that Trump’s use of this word, and more importantly, his admission that he had sexually assaulted women, was the reason for the word becoming so common. It is very difficult for me to understand how someone could vote for an admitted sexual predator. 

One of the reasons I marched was to protest sexual assault. I have many friends who have been sexually assaulted. One was sleeping in her graduate school apartment when a man broke in and raped her. One was groped by her boss at work. I know women who were raped as teenagers, and in fraternity houses at college. Women who were repeatedly sexually molested by family relatives when they were teenagers. Late in her life, my mother told me that a handyman forced her to sit on his lap and touched her genitals when she was about five years old. I had some close calls myself.

So yes, it's time to talk about the “pussy grabbers.” And when the pussy grabber becomes the president of the United States, it’s time to scream.

Here are the directions. I’ll post a photo of the whole quilt, and create a free, downloadable PDF of the directions, when I finish the quilt. 

My pussycat Wicked oversees construction of the Pussyhat Quilt

Pussyhat Quilt

My version is 5 hats wide and 7 hats long, and measures 51" x 40". It’s easy to add hats to the width or length to make a bigger quilt. 

Since each of the hats is made from a different fabric, I found it easiest to cut the fabrics into the appropriately sized squares or rectangles first, and then cut the individual pieces from them. (The sizes are indicated in the directions below, and in the diagrams.)

Diagram 1: Bottom Row (whole hats)
Use 12" x 8" piece.

For each of the 4 whole hats in the bottom row, cut from a different pink fabric:

  • One A - 2-1/2" x 8-1/2"
  • One B - 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" 
  • One C - 2-3/4" square cut diagonally in half to make 2 C triangles

Diagram 2: Bottom Row (ends)
Use 7-1/2" x 7-1/2" piece.

For the 2 half-hats at the ends of the bottom row, cut from a different pink fabric:
  • One E - 4-1/2" x 5-1/2"
  • One C - 2-3/4" square cut diagonally in half (You only use one half for the ends)
  • One F - 4-1/2" x 2-1/2" 

Diagram 3: Hats in all other rows
Use 10" x 10" piece.

For each of the 27 whole hats in the other rows, cut from a different pink fabric:
  • One B - 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"  
  • One C - 4" x 4" square cut diagonally in quarters to make 4 Cs
  • Two D - 2-1/2" squares

Diagram 4: Ends in all rows except bottom row
Use 7-1/2" x 5-1/2" piece.

For each of the 6 blocks (half hats) at the ends of other rows, cut from a different pink fabric:
  • One E  4-1/2" x 5-1/2"
  • One C - 2-3/4" square cut diagonally in half (youll only use one)
  • One  D - 2-1/2" x 2-1/2"
You will also need to cut C and D pieces for the very top row, to go between the ears in the block. You can cut these from scraps.

Each hat is designed with a band at the bottom that is designed to look like the ribbing on the hat (or the cat’s neck). I made my quilt so that it looks like the crowd of people at the Women’s March wearing pussyhats. So the first row (at the bottom) is at the front, and shows all the ribbing, but the other rows are partly covered over by the ears of the hats in front of them. (You could leave off the bottom row, the ribbing, if you prefer.)

I recommend that you lay out the pieces for each row, and sew them together before adding the next row of pussyhats. Work just one row at a time. Because the hats are staggered, they have two different fabrics between the ears, and it can get confusing unless you lay the pieces out where you can see them and make sense of the arrangement.

1. Lay out the pieces for the first two rows of blocks at the bottom, alternating lights and darks and different shades of pink until you get a pleasing look.
2. Ribbing row: Sew together the A pieces. Sew an F piece on each end. Press seams in one direction.
3. Faces row: Sew together the four B pieces. Sew an E piece on each end. Press seams in opposite direction from step 2.
4. Ears row: Sew C triangles together as shown in the diagram above, press toward the ear fabric, then sew them to squares in the order of the design. Press seams between triangles toward one side.
5. Sew the ribbing row to the faces row and press toward ribbing row. 
6. Sew the ears row to the faces row and press toward faces row. 
7. Repeat until you have sewn all the rows together.
8. Layer with batting and backing, and quilt. 
9. Bind, and add a label. 
10. Snuggle, enjoy and dream of a time when sexual assault is taken seriously by our society and we don’t have a president who is a sexual predator. 

Want to make a difference? Please contribute to RAINN.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, y in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.”