From bright fuchsia to a delicate petal, pinks are in demand at some Twin Cities yarn shops in advance of women's protest marches planned in Washington, D.C., St. Paul and around the country later this week.
A survey Monday of a few yarn shops revealed a run on pinks that has gathered speed in recent weeks as the inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump approaches.
"We've had lots of pink yarn going out and pink hats coming in," said Shelly Sheehan, co-owner of the Yarnery on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. "The knitters are making the hats fast and furiously. Some are making them for themselves and friends. Others are making them to donate."
The cat-shaped hats — two rectangles woven together with ears pricking up at the corners — are a visible reference to a vulgar term for female anatomy that Trump used in a leaked video during the fall campaign. The so-called Pussyhat Project suggests people knit their own hats to wear to the Women's March on Washington, D.C., and similar marches across the country or knit them in support of other protesters. Patterns are available online.
At Lakeside Yarn in Excelsior, manager Bridgit Fiore said the chunkier yarns are selling the fastest because the hats can be completed quicker.
The basic pattern is meant for the novice knitter. One customer came in who hadn't knitted in 20 years and asked if she could finish two hats by Saturday. "I told her, 'It depends on what you remember about your knitting,' " Fiore said.
Last Thursday for several hours, Fiore said that pink yarn was the only thing she sold. It's been a "really significant" run, but neither she nor other store personnel could quantify sales.
As for shades, "Most people were going big and bold," Fiore said.
Mary Pranica, floor manager at StevenBe yarns in Minneapolis said most people want their hats to be bright. "You're making a statement with your hat so you find a yarn to help you do that," she said.
Also, Sheehan said the initial pattern posted online was in a shade of fuchsia, so that color went first.
The shops report that customers also are putting their personal spins on the hats with multicolored pinks and weaves. The hats are an easy way for knitters to get involved and help others make the public statement — or do it themselves.
The Yarnery is also a drop-off site for finished hats. Sheehan said those who need hats can take one, but are asked to make a voluntary donation to a cause of their choice.
Outside the urban bluer political zones of the Twin Cities, pink isn't as popular.
Kelly Judson, owner of the Double Ewe Yarn Shop in Circle Pines, has a sign posted in her store for those who sit and knit at her tables. "Everyone deserves a place to relax and feel welcome. Due to its divisive nature, please refrain from discussing politics," she said.
Judson said she's had maybe three customers come in for pink yarn, but that friends who own shops in Portland, Ore., and Seattle report selling out of pink. As for her pink inventory, Judson said with a laugh, "I've got tons."
Similarly, Marjorie Intveld, owner of Sheepy Yarn Shoppe in White Bear Lake, said she's not selling much pink and that October is a bigger month for the color "when people are knitting for a good cause like cancer."
Intveld said some of her customers are buying the pinks, but that others are "very offended." Still she said, "I think it's an easy pattern and I think anybody who knits who could get a few done by Saturday."
Sheehan said the Yarnery is comfortable taking a political position. "This one is really for the knitters. It's a way to get involved. It's a way to focus our energies and maybe do something good," Sheehan said. "I don't know that we've seen something like this in this magnitude."