There have been lots of articles in the past couple of years about the revival of knitting as a popular pastime. The plethora of knitting patterns, blogs, tutorials on the net – as well as the sweeping success of sites like Ravelry – point to a trend that I can only hope will continue to grow.
One of the factors sited often in this trend is the publicity surrounding celebrities who love to knit. Many, like Julia Roberts, knit on sets and happily teach others about the therapy of fiber. On the set of “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” Julia could often be found filling her down-time with knitting. This fascinated her costar Cameron Diaz so much she eventually also learned to knit. Other celebrity knitters include Madonna, Dakota Fanning (who knitted a scarf for Denzel Washington’s wife), Catherine Zeta-Jones, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Geri Halliwell, Uma Thurman, Lisa Kudrow, Goldie Hawn, and more.
Sarah Jessica Parker has been repeatedly photgraphed while knitting,
as well as her “Sex in the City” costar Kristin Davis
and Desperate Housewife Felicity Huffman.
The late Mollie Sugden, who played Mrs. Slocombe on the Britcom “Are You Being Served?” was an avid knitter. From her obituary last July in the Guardian:
When her husband was once asked what item she would not be able to do without on a desert island, he said the complete works of Shakespeare. She herself said: “My knitting bag, stuffed with lots of wool – I’d never get bored.”
It’s not such a recent phenomenon. Many older celebrities knitted as well. My personal idol Katharine Hepburn, for example…
The marvelous Bette Davis,
and Bette again with Ann Sheridan,
and Eleanor Roosevelt.
I don’t think we can count Cary Grant, unfortunately…
While on the subject of men knitting, in centuries past it was the men who knitted, not the women. Today, more and more men are “coming out” as knitters. The football star Rosey Grier advocated both knitting and needlework, and even published a book about needlepoint for men. Rumours abound about Russell Crowe and Laurence Fishburne, although this photo is reportedly a fake.
In the past decade, books have started coming out dedicated to celebrity knitting. 2003’s “Celebrity Scarves” featured scarf patterns by 25 celebrities, from Daryl Hannah to Julianna Margolies, Rikki Lake, Rosie Perez, Eartha Kitt, Laura Leighton, Portia de Rossi, Vanna White, and Jennie Garth.
The sequal, 2005’s “Celebrity Scarves 2” features David Arquette on the cover (husband of Courtney Cox), and new scarf patterns and photos submitted by stars like Karen Allen, Dakota Fanning, Felicity Huffman, and Courtney Thorne-Smith.
And how can we discount fictional celebrity knitters, such as Dumbledore, Molly Weasley and Hermione?
Finally, you can watch an excerpt from one of my (obviously) favourite episodes of the Gilmore Girls, “Knit, People, Knit!”