When she’s not fighting evil as Marvel’s badass heroine Jessica Jones, Krysten Ritter has a totally docile off-duty hobby: Knitting. “Yarn, patterns and needle sizes have come such a long way since your grandmother’s afghans. Creatively, there is just so much to get into, so much to play with,” the actress tells People Style. “It’s an amazing way to turn inward and get off your phone.”
Now, the actress has taken her love for the calming act of weaving wooly work to the next level: She’s created her own pattern and kit with We Are Knitters. For $88, you get the yarn, the needles and the pattern needed to create Ritter’s oversized snood. “What I wanted to do with this kit was to make a scarf that is cool enough that hard-core knitters would want to make it, but is easy enough that beginners could pick it up and do it,” she says. “It’s only two stitches. You’ll have to familiarize yourself with it a little bit, but I wanted it to be something that is totally user-friendly and right for everybody. If it’s your first project, maybe it will introduce you to a whole new hobby!””
Though her grandmother taught her how to knit when she was little, it took her a while to get back into it. “When I moved back to New York, I saw a lot of girls knitting on the subway, and it had a bit of a comeback,” she says. But when she scored a small part in 2003’s Mona Lisa Smile that “required a lot of sitting around,” the movie’s lead, Julia Roberts, jumpstarted her interest again.
“Julia Roberts knits, so it was just a thing that everyone was doing on set. I got really into it back then. The movie was set in the ’50s, so we were all like, sitting around in ’50s clothes and knitting,” she says. “It’s a really good way to pass the time when you’re waiting around on set.”
But for Ritter, those days of waiting around on set are long gone: She’s currently starring in Netflix’s Jessica Jones, and is busy filming the second season in N.Y.C. “My job is getting in the way of my hobby!” she jokes, but admits that friends on set and off often ask for knitting tutorials and she’s happy to oblige.
The “versatile and handsfree” scarf Ritter designed is more than just chic, it’s practical: “What I like about it—and this is so gross—but when I walk my dog Mikey, the last thing I want when I have to pick up s–t is my scarf falling in it. With this scarf I can bend down and not worry about it. Seriously, I see people out my window bending down to pick up dog s–t and their scarf falls in it!”
Ritter’s Instagram account is proof of her knitting skills. “My Instagram is basically all knitting, my dog and a little bit of The Defenders,” she says. “Anytime I see a sweater that I think is kind of cool, I’m like, ‘I don’t want to buy anything ever again, I want to make everything!’ For summer, you can use cotton. You can even crochet a cute bikini.”
Ritter even made seven “pussyhats” for friends to wear during the Women’s March on Washington. Kat Coyle, the owner of The Little Knittery, one of Ritter’s favorite spots in L.A. to source her yarn, started the phenomenon. “She started it, she did the first pattern. And now this pink awesome hat has become a symbol for this entire movement,” she says. “It took off in a huge way… It’s on the cover of Time and the New Yorker! I was so proud to be a part of it and to knit a whole bunch of them to put on my friends for the march.”
But no matter your level of expertise, Ritter urges everyone to try knitting. “The worst part is making a mistake and having to go back and fix it. You can get kind of frazzled… but like anything else, once you teach yourself, you can do it,” she says, citing YouTube as one of her sources of inspiration and tutorials. “I think everyone these days is looking for something to help us get off our phones.”
Will you try it?