Elizabeth Poe, the owner of Tennessee knitting boutique The Joy of Knitting, faced a social media backlash this week after she told knitters supporting the recent Women's Marches across the US that they are not welcome at the needlecraft store. Poe made the announcement in a statement on the store's Facebook page, this week.

The row stemmed from a campaign for participants of the marches to wear a so-called "Pussyhats" – a pink knitted hat designed to look like cat's ears – as a symbol of solidarity with the movement.

The pussyhat movement was conceived as a means of reclaiming a derogatory term for women's genitalia – recently in the spotlight again thanks to Donald Trump's infamous comments – "as a means of empowerment."

As hundreds of thousands of marchers descended on Washington DC and at other rallies around the world, the image of the pussyhat became synonymous with the global act of defiance in the name of women's rights.

Though not everyone was happy about the concept of reclaiming "women's crafts" as a symbol of revolution.

In a post on the boutique's Facebook page, Poe wrote: "With the recent Women's March on Washington, I ask that you if you want yarn for any project for the women's movement that you please shop for yarn elsewhere. The vulgarity, vile and evilness of this movement is absolutely despicable."

Poe branded the behaviour "unacceptable" and said it was "not welcomed at The Joy of Knitting".

Adding that she would "pray for these women" Poe said she could not support the movement as a Christian with a duty to promote "values of mutual respect, love, compassion, understanding, and integrity", adding "The women's movement is counterproductive to unity of family, friends, community, and nation."

With the recent women's march on Washington, I ask that you if you want yarn for any project for the women's movement...

Posted by The Joy of Knitting on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Poe's comments were reacted to furiously by those who supported the march, including fellow-Christians, with one member commenting: "I'm an ordained minister and pastor a church. I literally read the Gospel every day. I doubt you do, because if you did, you would know that standing up for justice for the oppressed, equality, and healing were the central messages of Jesus."

Another added: "If you believe that emulating a vulgar, vile, evil bully such as Trump makes you a Godly woman, you are wrong."

Others accused the shop of hypocrisy, writing: "Will you be offering all those knitters who bought their pink yarn at your shop their money back, or did your principles only come to the fore after the check cleared?"

Regardless of the comments, in excess of 15,000 on Saturday afternoon, Poe was unmoved by her detractors, telling the Tennessean: "This is starting to undermine their efforts… I think if you want to get your point across you need to do it the right way."

Demonstrating some misunderstanding of the design of the hat, she added: "I just think that walking around dressed as a vulva is gross. Hatred is not acceptable speech."