CELEBRITY SCARVES, by Abra Edelman, introduction by Isaac Mizrahi, Sixth&Spring Books, 2003, hardcover, $24.95.
“Celebrity Scarves” lets you knit with the stars – 25 of them. Some you’ll recognize easily, some you may not, but what they all have in common – besides gorgeous faces and Hollywood or television careers – is that they knit.
Author Abra Edelman says in the foreword that she requires “immediate gratification” and in “knitting terms that means I love making scarves.” She has knitted more than 300. She learned the skill while visiting a movie set and sat next to a young actress who was knitting. She asked the actress to teach her how and was immediately smitten – not only because she found knitting relaxing, but also because she recognized that here was the perfect mate for another one of her passions – shopping. Now she loves to shop for all things fiber and fluffy – like yarn.
Scarf variations, she writes, are endless, which makes knitting them an exercise in self-expression. Scarves are not only a hot fashion accessory, but easy enough for a novice knitter to get caught up in and to complete successfully – or not, depending on whether one is inclined to look at deviations from the pattern as “mistakes” or “design statements.”
In his introduction, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi says that movie stars have discovered that knitting is the perfect activity to do on movie sets when they are between takes. His Aunt Norma taught him to knit the year of his bar mitzvah. His first sweater design at age 13 was a crewneck sweater with the sleeves intentionally knit too long. I wish the book had included that pattern or at least a pattern for a scarf he designed and knit.
“Celebrity Scarves” includes scarf patterns from jazz diva Eartha Kitt, “Wheel of Fortune” spinner Vanna White, “White Men Can’t Jump” star Rosie Perez, “Splash” star Darryl Hannah and “Flashdance” star Jennifer Beals.
Kitt uses tapestry wool left over from needlepoint projects for her scarves.
White crochets scarves, a skill she learned as a little girl, rather than knitting them.
Perez also crochets, learned at age 9 when she was “poor and living in Brooklyn.”
Hannah knits with whatever fiber she can find, including embroidery floss, ribbon and traditional yarns. Once, she lost one of her knitting needles and finished the project with a Sharpie pen.
And Beals once knit an 8-foot-long scarf for fashion icon Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.
“Celebrity Scarves” assumes that readers already know the basics of knitting and does not include knitting how-tos. The book is illustrated with beautiful photographs of beautiful women with their beautiful handiwork snuggled around their beautiful necks. The knitted and crocheted scarf instructions in the book are simple and clear so that beginners can jump right in there, accomplished knitters can find inspiration and every reader can knit her (or his) way to scarf-making stardom.