My Studio Knit Brain Hat has been featured in Racked!
The March for Science Searches for Its Pussyhat
Marchers wearing brains, resistors, and double-helix strands on their heads will all be in Washington on Earth Day.
April 11, 2017
by Elizabeth Preston
Excerpt: YouTube knitting instructor Kristen McDonnell was checking the analytics for her website this January when she noticed that a 2015 Halloween post was, in her words, “going bonkers.”
The old tutorial showed how to knit a “sort of creepy” pink novelty hat that looks like a brain. Now, with the January 21 Women’s March fresh in public memory and plans for a Science March underway, the brain hat had been proposed as the next pussyhat. McDonnell’s pattern was going viral. “I had to upgrade my server,” she says.
McDonnell has embraced the attention from science lovers and redesigned her site to highlight the brain hat. It’s a pretty straightforward design, which McDonnell wasn’t the first to think up. First, you knit a whole bunch of yarn tubing called I-cord. Then you stitch it onto a knit hat in two hemispheres of freestyle swirls. McDonnell sells a baseball cap version on Etsy starting at $44, and dozens of other Etsy sellers are offering their own brain hats for the march.
Parallels to the pussyhat are imperfect. For starters, there’s the time. McDonnell says making one classic brain hat from start to finish, including knitting a base hat and 17 feet of cords, took her more than 40 hours. But an average knitter could knock out a pussyhat during a couple nights of TV viewing — and use the next few nights to make extras for friends or strangers. Craft stores sell a little hand-cranked machine that can make the cords, but assembling them into a cerebral cortex is still a slog.
For a complete step-by-step tutorial of this knitting pattern, you can watch my video below. Subscribe to my YouTube channel Studio Knit for more fun knitting ideas! Additionally, all Brain Hat videos can be watched here >