ONCE the domain of grannies in armchairs, knitting has, as they say, finally arrived. The hobby is the latest craze among young women after admissions by celebrities including Julia Roberts, Madonna, Cameron Diaz and even macho heartthrob Russell Crowe that they are keen needle clickers.

My brief brush with knitting lasted long enough to make a scarf for my little sister's Barbie (yes, that's how many moons ago it was). The garment was intended for me, but I couldn't quite master the two strokes required.

"Knit one, pearl one" was too much for a teenage mind awash with boys, first bras and spot creams to cope with.

Needlework had the same effect and at school I hated the classes. The most I could manage without cocking things up was a wonky line of cross-stitch. Anything else was disastrous. A blouse was the most ambitious item we were taught to make -- mine looked like a pillow case with armholes.

I did once manage to run up a cushion cover which must have been okay as my mother used it in the front room as opposed to sticking it in the loft with all my other half-baked attempts at creativity.

But how I wish I was adept at both knitting and sewing. The beautiful jumpers I could lovingly craft for my daughters, the little cardigans, the woolly hats. And, most vitally, the fancy dress costumes.

I have to say that, as a mother, fancy dress is the bane of my life. This week my daughters require no fewer than four outfits, one each for a school event and two more for a party. Thankfully, one of the costumes chosen by my eldest daughter is Cinderella BEFORE her transformation. I'm great with rags.

But the other selections -- Little Red Riding Hood, Barbie, Rapunzel and The Little Mermaid -- are going to be tougher. In fact, I'm inclined to think along the lines of impossible.

Now if I could sew and knit I'd have it covered. I'd be off to Bombay Stores faster than you could say blanket stitch. I'd have the red cape, the fish tail, even Rapunzel's long plait made for next-to-no effort -- or expense.

Plus I'd be able to revamp my own depleted wardrobe, get rid of the threadbare acrylic pullovers from the charity shop and replace them with beautiful chunky wool knits in rich colours.

In the light of this surge in interest I'm sorely tempted to try again.

If the hands of a macho Gladiator can deftly work a pair of knitting needles I should be able to. I might even find it relaxing. It's years since I had a hobby other than eating crisps in front of the television.

But something tells me it won't work out. Like the other night, when I attempted to sew a name tag on to a PE top and ended up attaching both to my own skirt.

And the time recently when I tried to invisible-mend a hole in my husband's coat. The result was about as invisible as a wide-screen TV.

He ended up buying a new one.

Still, I'm going to give it a go, invest in a decent set of needles and pins.

Only there are no celebrities around to teach me -- I should have asked Russell Crowe when he visited his in-laws near York last week.

Any grannies fancy the job? Now it's gone all trendy they've probably given up knitting in favour of surfing the internet.