When she was in third grade, Beth Shorr finger-knit a black and mint green yarmulke for her father—and was delighted when he wore it to temple that year for the holidays. But it wasn't until she landed a job assisting a producer at Comedy Central's The Daily Show that she started knitting regularly. When Shorr and a coworker took a local class, she discovered that needles and yarn helped her unwind in the evenings; soon she was experimenting with vibrant scarves and hats. Then, in 2006, Shorr's father passed away from cancer. "I found the yarmulke I'd made for him, and it was a source of inspiration," she says. Knitting became less a casual hobby than a way to grieve. "I made gifts for family and friends, and they started encouraging me to sell them," Shorr says.
Her Support Staff
A year later, Shorr opened her shop, BShorr Handmade, on the crafts Web site Etsy. Her colleagues at The Daily Show—where Shorr is now a talent coordinator and the assistant to host Jon Stewart—were early supporters, offering to model her hats, berets, and scarves for the site. Some of her creations are named after her coworkers (the Chabotski hat honors production prop master Justin Chabot, who needed a hat with a brim to wear skiing). Shorr's hectic days fetching coffee for celebrities and ushering Stewart to meetings even inspired her to knit a cell phone case she calls a Gadget Cozy, with a wrist loop to keep her BlackBerry close (and her hands free) at the office.
Her Double Life
Shorr knits late into the evening, usually in the company of her two cats. "Sometimes my sleep suffers when I try to balance my worlds," she says. "But I like having a social work environment and then quiet time at home to knit." BShorr Handmade is a hit at local craft shows, and last year Mad Men star January Jones was photographed wearing Shorr's circle scarf. Still, her Daily Show colleagues remain her biggest fans. Says Stewart, the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind black BShorr hat, "Somehow Beth assessed my cranial weaknesses and was able to design and knit me a perfect kepi, one that didn't make me look like an eggplant wearing a sock. Girl's got skills."—Arianna Davis
Photo: Ben Goldstein