Thursday, 10 October 2013
On June 23, 2012, the Algo Centre Mall in Elliott Lake Ontario, which had been plagued by structural problems throughout its history, suffered a partial structural failure on June 23, 2012. A 12m x 24m rooftop parking lot collapsed into the mall, crashing through an upper level lottery kiosk and the mall's escalators. More than 20 people were injured and two people were killed. The mall, which employed more than 250 local residents and represented 10% of Elliot Lake's retail space and 6% of its total area wages, had to be demolished.
The investigation of the mall collapse and class action lawsuits are ongoing, and the hearings have all been faithfully attended by one particular spectator, Heather Moyer, whom everyone involved with or following the case has come to know as the Knitting Lady. But as Global News learned when they interviewed her, Heather Moyer's not just in the courtroom to knit.
Monday, 13 May 2013
Sunday, 17 February 2013
Eleanor Roosevelt was such a constant knitter and sewer that she seldom went anywhere without toting along one of her projects. She couldn't bear to be idle and often brought her handiwork to the many political and social action meetings she attended. Many photographs of her show her with her knitting or carrying a knitting bag. Such pictures cropped up repeatedly during my research for the Hollywood knitters post of February 11th, but I didn't include her photos in that post because she wasn't an actress and at any rate, Eleanor Roosevelt deserves a post of her own.
According to this fascinating 2009 Knitty interview with Mary Ann Colopy, a seasonal park ranger at the Roosevelt/Vanderbilt National Historic Site, Roosevelt's knitting was very utilitarian. She wasn't a designer. She knitted useful items for her family and friends and very few examples of her work have survived because they were generally the sort of thing one wears out and then discards. The pattern for very basic mittens that accompanies the article is one that was found among her papers.
For all the time that Roosevelt spent knitting, as a topic of interest it seems barely to have registered even on her own radar. In her nearly 8,000 “My Day” newspaper columns, she mentions her own knitting less than ten times. But then this wasn't surprising given the sheer amount of other, much more important work that she did in her life: the speeches she gave and campaigning she did on behalf of her disabled husband; the six-day-a-week syndicated national newspaper column she wrote for 27 years; her constant public speaking; her relief work during the Depression and war work during World War II; her political activism regarding civil, women's, labour and universal human rights; and the work she did with the United Nations. I have read that the United Nations Commission for Human Rights that Roosevelt chaired was by far the hardest working of any at the U.N., to the point that one of its members complained that his own human rights were violated by the length of the committee meetings. Knitting was simply a useful, homely task that Roosevelt did and probably enjoyed, but that didn't merit mention or discussion; it was probably something she did in much the same spirit that she washed her face. And such an attitude is completely in character, really. Roosevelt wouldn't have accomplished all she did without being the sort of person who knew how to keep from getting side-tracked by trivial or secondary concerns.
I like this picture because I imagine Roosevelt pausing in her knitting to contemplate how to get even more mileage out of the members of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights.
Monday, 11 February 2013
Image google "actresses knitting" and the search results will overwhelm you. In a job where many hours of a work day are spent simply waiting until the director summons you, knitting has long been the perfect movie set activity, because it's easily carried to work each day, can be relied on to involve as many hours of work as are necessary, can be picked up or dropped as needed, and won't mess up the actress's hairstyle, makeup, or costume. It's always been common and is popular even now: Cameron Diaz, Tyra Banks, Ryan Gosling, Hilary Swank, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Kelly Ripa, Scarlett Johansson, Kate Moss, Kate Winslet, Debra Messing, Tracey Ullman, Uma Thurman, Russell Crowe, Christina Hendricks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Antonio Banderas, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Fry, Tyne Daly, Judi Dench, Daryl Hannah, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Dakota Fanning, David Arquette, Amanda Seyfried, and Julia Roberts are all reputed to be knitters, and I am sure that's only a very incomplete list. Some of these actors taught each other to knit: Kristin Davis taught Sarah Jessica Parker; Catherine Zeta-Jones taught Antonio Banderas (when he recovering from a knee injury); Julia Roberts taught both Whoopi Goldberg and Cameron Diaz.
Many a Hollywood actress has been captured on camera in the act of peacefully knitting in a folding director's chair, some of them so often that one wonders how they found time to act. Here are some of my favourites from the golden age of film. I'm sure you've recognized the above photo as being one of Katharine Hepburn, who need only put down her knitting to look ready for a Vogue cover shoot.
Bette Davis crocheting while her stand-in knits. Bette Davis was one of the constant knitters and crocheters — I must have come across at least a dozen photos of her so engaged while researching this post.
Audrey Hepburn knitting. Her character knitted in Breakfast at Tiffany's, but as I recall it Holly Golightly didn't seem to be more than a beginning knitter. Maybe Hepburn deliberately made herself look less skilful to suit the role, because you can tell from this photo that she does know what she's doing.
Grace Kelly was another seemingly inveterate knitter.
Mary Pickford knitting a sweater for the American Red Cross.
Sophia Loren, making knitting look mod.
Vivien Leigh, putting Laurence Olivier to good use.
Mother and daughter Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha Richardson enjoying a teaching moment. I love little Natasha's expression of tongue-stuck-out concentration.
If you want to see some more Kodak knitting moments, you can check out some online collections here, here and here. Or just google the word knitting and the name of your favourite actress or actor. You may be surprised.
Coming up: the Vogue Knitting Spring 2013 review is set to post tomorrow morning!