Krysten Ritter, Master Knitter

"Everything is cuter when you make it yourself."

When Krysten Ritter isn’t kicking ass as Jessica Jones, writing gripping psychological thrillers, and hanging with her canine pal, Mikey, she knits—a lot. (Want proof? Just search the hashtag #krystenknitter.) The raven-haired actress loves knitting so much that she joined forces with DIY knitting brand We Are Knitters on a new capsule collection, which just dropped. The lineup includes eight different knitting kits designed by Ritter—her top pick, she told us, is a tricolor cropped sweater designed specifically with her bestie and stylist, Ilaria Urbinati, in mind. (It can be yours for $99.) While Ritter said she technically owes her knitting expertise to her grandmother, her love for the craft didn’t explode until she was on set for Mona Lisa Smile with fellow actress and knitting aficionado Julia Roberts, who kept a big bag of yarn and needles by her side throughout the filming process. “[Julia] got the whole cast of women super into it,” Ritter said. “You would just see everyone knitting. It was really cool and I got very into it after that.” (Imagining Roberts, Ritter, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, and Ginnifer Goodwin hanging out and knitting together in ‘50s-style garb gives us all the feels.) Her favorite part about her beloved hobby? The fact that she can do it anywhere—knitting in public, especially on the train, is particularly fun for her—and anytime, like on set for Jessica Jones. “The crew always gets a kick out of seeing me knitting when I’m in full Jessica Jones costume,” she said. Below, we caught up with the actress, who’s currently touring her new novel, Bonfire, to talk the We Are Knitters collab, the soothing powers of stitching, and the “secret nod” all public knitters share. 

Hilary Shepherd: You first collaborated with We Are Knitters in February, when you designed an Infinity Scarf kit. Why did you decide to do a full-blown collection now?

Krysten Ritter: I love We Are Knitters! Their garments are all things I’d wear in real life anyway, but I think everything is cuter when you make it yourself. The collaboration was very organic because I actually use and love all their yarn, and I starting posting my projects and tagging We Are Knitters on social media. The Infinity Scarf had such a great response and I enjoyed it so much that we decided to do a fuller collection including knitting and crochet kits for all levels of knitting, from beginner to advanced. 

HS: What’s your favorite piece in the collection? 

KR: It’s hard to pick a favorite because I love them all so much. For pets, I love the Mikey Sweater kit. (I have also made Mikey wear a mini version of the Infinity Scarf.) I also love the Sparkle Raglan Sweater, and it gets a lot of compliments when I wear it. 

HS: I saw that you proudly celebrated World Wide Knit in Public Day in June. 

KR: Knitting in public is my favorite, especially on the train. It’s  even more fun when you can do that secret nod to a fellow knitter doing it too. It’s just a better way to enjoy your commute time instead of being on your phone. 

HS: Why did you decide to start knitting? Did someone teach you?

KR: My Gram taught me when I was little, but I didn’t pick it up again until I worked on [Mona Lisa Smile] with Julia Roberts. She always had a big bag with her knitting [gear], and the whole cast of women got super into it. Some time went by, and it wasn’t until my boyfriend moved in several years ago and I had to make room in closets for his things that I came across my old knitting gear along with a note from my Grammy. I realized how much I had missed it, how modern yarn has gotten, and how important it is for me to have this relaxing, creative hobby that I can do anywhere.  If ever I get stuck or need to know how to do a stitch, I just watch YouTube videos. 

HS: What’s the most extreme creation you’ve ever knit and how long did it take? 

KR: I made a giant blanket for my friend as a wedding gift. It’s such a gorgeous statement piece that I’m so proud of. “Extreme knitting” refers to the scale of knitting projects—it’s all about extra-chunky yarn and large proportions. It’s a workout and not as practical for every day, but it’s so fun to try it out. 

HS: It seems like more women than men are into knitting—stereotypically speaking, of course. How do you feel about men who knit? 

KR: I love it. Everyone can knit. I also appreciate when men are open to learning. 

HS: What about the process of knitting do you love so much?

KR: It’s part of my self-care routine and striking a balance, especially when I’m on a hectic shooting schedule. Knitting also helps me stay creative and in the moment. If I got stuck while writing my novel, Bonfire, I would just relax and knit for a while, or it would be my treat at the end of a long writing day. 

HS: The holidays are coming up. Are you knitting any cool gifts?

KR: Yes, tons! I’m working on some socks, a scarf for myself for once (’cause it’s cold!), and I’m coming up with my version of a holiday sweater. 

HS: Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever knit? 

KR: I don’t consider it weird to knit on set, but the crew always gets a kick out of seeing me knitting when I’m in full Jessica Jones costume. That’s my kind of weird.

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