Rebecca Tyrrel: Russell Crowe has taken up knitting as a tool for anger management

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Who knew that Harry Styles, the curly-haired, urchin-faced pretty boy from One Direction, fancifully described by a leading fashion commentator as "part Indie-boy mess, part French arthouse, part young Mick Jagger", enjoys knitting?

The details are scarce but doubtless One Direction's mentor Simon Cowell, who cannily constructed the group from failed X Factor soloists and signed them to his Syco label, will recognise the commercial possibilities of a Greatest Knits compilation when the time is right.

Harry is by no means the only entertainer with a penchant. Knitting has been glacially cool for a while. Scarlett Johansson, Uma Thurman and Jimmy Hill (who is believed to confine his creative efforts to chin-warmers) are among its many advocates. Russell Crowe has also taken it up as a tool for anger management, and there are hopes in Hollywood that he will introduce his fellow Australian hothead, Mel Gibson, to its calming delights, if only so that Mel could add "Sugar knits!" to his arsenal of chivalrous greetings for female police officers. (You'll have to remember his "Sugar Tits!" outburst to find this funny.)

At 18, however, Harry is the youngest major celeb knitter on record. How he came by the hobby is uncertain. Top showbiz analysts will speculate that his taste for older women played a part. Following his relationship with the television presenter Caroline Flack, then 32, he is now dating the 23-year-old American country singer, Taylor Swift (the pair are collectively known, sub-Brangelina fashion, as 'Haylor'), whom he recently took home to Cheshire to meet his mum in just the sort of weather conditions that demand a snowman-themed pullover.

While there have been no reports that any bandmates – Zayn, Louis, Niall and, of course, Liam – are knitters, this is not to suggest that they are any less all-boy than Harry. "We've been working away on this," said Niall recently of the fragrance the band will shortly unveil, "and we're proud of the way it has turned out."

The paraphernalia of rock and pop has moved on a bit since the young Jagger sought relaxation from a slightly different sort of needle. Yet very few bands can survive at the top for 50 years, and when it all ends for One Direction, as history suggests it may before long, at least Harry has a ready-made alternative career as the Mary Berry of the knit one, purl one.

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