A new yarn for ‘pussy­hat’ shop

Home of the iconic knit­ted pink cap is leav­ing At­wa­ter

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Es­mer­alda Ber­mudez es­mer­alda.ber­mudez@la­times.com

At­wa­ter’s ris­ing rents pushed the Lit­tle Knit­tery, where the pink cap was born, to make a fresh start.

Ev­ery now and then, peo­ple drop by the Lit­tle Knit­tery in At­wa­ter Vil­lage to catch a glimpse of where it all be­gan.

It was here that two young women part­nered with shop owner Kat Coyle in Novem­ber to cre­ate the “pussy­hat,” the iconic pink cap worn by thou­sands of pro­test­ers at the women’s march.

And it was here that dozens of women crowded around Coyle’s knit­ting ta­ble for weeks, us­ing her pat­tern — a sim­ple cap with cat ears — to make hun­dreds of hats for a move­ment that went global and brought so­lace to many who were crest­fallen by the out­come of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

“The Lit­tle Knit­tery is a very spe­cial place,” said Jayna Zweiman, co-cre­ator of the “pussy­hat project.” “It’s be­come a cul­tural fix­ture.”

So it was not easy for Coyle to tell cus­tomers in March that she was leav­ing the neigh­bor­hood. Her lease was not re­newed and the space, from what she knows, is be­ing turned into a cafe or eatery.

Coyle was dev­as­tated at first. In five years, she’s built a faith­ful clien­tele of knit­ters who buy her col­or­ful yarn, looms and nee­dles and take part in her knit­ting, cro­chet and macrame classes. They gather around her ta­ble to chat about pol­i­tics and art.

Coyle was still re­cov­er­ing from the pussy­hat whirl­wind when her land­lord told her she would need to re­lo­cate.

Glen­dale Boule­vard, where the Lit­tle Knit­tery is lo­cated, has trans­formed in the last five years as At­wa­ter Vil­lage has be­come more up­scale.

Coyle saw ten­ant af­ter ten­ant leave her build­ing in re­cent years — the wa­ter store be­came a home decor bou­tique, the in­sur­ance busi­ness be­came a so­lar power dealer and the dry cleaner is now an up­scale restau­rant.

“I don’t know why I was so shocked,” Coyle said.

“Be­cause hope reigns eter­nal,” said Edna Hart, who works at the shop.

At the end of June, Coyle plans to move the Lit­tle Knit­tery to Los Feliz.

The new lo­ca­tion is go­ing to add 15 min­utes to Sophia Bl­izi­o­tis’ drive, but like many cus­tomers she said she would re­main loyal to the yarn shop. And she will take her pussy­hat mem­o­ries with her.

“That lit­tle spot is spe­cial, but I think the lo­cus of the move­ment is Kat and her part­ners and their po­lit­i­cal ac­tivism,” Bl­izi­o­tis said. “They gave me and count­less oth­ers a way to ad­dress our anx­i­ety af­ter the elec­tion in a very con­crete way.”

When Coyle talks about the pussy­hat project, she does so with a sense of awe.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “It’s not some­thing you plan for or imag­ine.”

She said that af­ter the elec­tion, many of her cus­tomers were dis­traught. Two young women, Zweiman and Krista Suh, ap­proached her about mak­ing a hat that cel­e­brated fem­i­nin­ity and clev­erly pushed back on Pres­i­dent Trump’s vul­gar state­ments about grab­bing women’s gen­i­tals.

“They wanted some­thing re­ally easy to make,” Coyle said.

So she came up with a cap in the shape of a rec­tan­gle that, when worn, cre­ated cat ears.

The idea was that the hats would be hand­made and do­nated to the thou­sands of women at­tend­ing the march. By De­cem­ber, the project had spread na­tion­wide. Tens of thou­sands of hats were made. Those who couldn’t knit do­nated yarn and ma­te­ri­als.

“The whole coun­try ran out of pink yarn,” Coyle said. “You couldn’t get it from any sup­plier.”

The Lit­tle Knit­tery was packed for weeks with knit­ters, heart­ened by the fact that they were cre­at­ing their pieces at the epi­cen­ter of the move­ment.

These days, things are more quiet at the shop. Only one pussy­hat is on dis­play near the reg­is­ter. It’s knit­ted out of “Kat Pink,” a yarn a sup­plier named af­ter Coyle. The piece is not for sale.

In fact, you can’t buy a pussy­hat at the Lit­tle Knit­tery. If you want one, Coyle asks for your con­tact in­for­ma­tion and she gives you a ring when and if a cap is do­nated to the shop.

Be­sides an oc­ca­sional pink hat, fans send the shop­keeper gifts — tributes to the hat she de­signed.

“Not a week goes that some­one doesn’t come by here to say thank you,” Hart said.

Mel Mel­con Los An­ge­les Times

KAT COYLE, left, owner of the Lit­tle Knit­tery in At­wa­ter Vil­lage, teaches Me­gan Holling­shead how to knit a “pussy­hat.” The shop soon will move to Los Feliz.

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