Sweater vests and movies

And today’s victim is…

An Eddie Bauer size XS purple knit sweater.  I looked it up on online and apparently they do not produce this sweater anymore (a wise decision).  I picked this sweater up from Goodwill for a whopping $4.00.  And here’s another picture of the sweater just in case you needed more convincing that it is practically begging to get taken apart:

And for you knitters out there that are wondering how I took this apart, here’s how:

1. Pick the top edge of the piece of work.  This is usually the top of the article of clothing.  For a sweater, it’s always the neckline.  Most sweaters will have a double knit neckline, meaning that both the inside and outside are knit and it just forms a kind of flattened loop around the neck.  This area is useless to us, since it’s disconnected from the rest of the yarn, so start with cutting it off.

2. Take apart the seams.  There are two ways to knit a sweater:  In one piece (like most pull-overs) and in segments that are stitched together.  Since you can clearly see the seams for the sleeves in this sweater, you know that it’s the latter.  That means that this entire sweater consists of 5 pieces of thread: 2 long strands for each of the sleeves, 2 really long strands for the front and back body of the sweater, and 1 strand to make the double knit neckline.  The body of the sweater has the most continuous yarn, so that’s what we want.  The seams (if the sweater is made by a company) are most likely held together by string, not yarn, so cut that out and then rip off the sleeves.  Then, start pulling away.

3. Separate the front and back panels of the sweater.  As you unravel, you will have to take apart the seams at the edge in order to keep going.  Initially, this just means taking off the sleeves, but as you get lower down, you have to take part the side seams below the arms.  Again, these are held by string, so just cut it with scissors and then pull really hard to break the rest.  Warning: be careful when cutting the seams, if you accidentally cut the yarn instead of the string holding the panels together, you’ve just cut your one long continuous thread into two.  For me, I found it was easier to do one side at a time and just use the yarn I needed, so I only took apart the back arm seams and unraveled the back of the sweater first.

4. Repeat with other side.  Simply cut the arm seams and then pull away the rest of the yarn, or however much you need.

Now, since this sweater was XS to begin with, I knew I couldn’t make anything too large.  I originally planned to make a cardigan out of the yarn, but I’d be limited to an XS cardigan.  Instead, I sacrificed the sleeves to make a small sweater vest:

I know a lot of you are thinking, “No one wears sweater vests anymore.  Only grandmothers do.”  In fact, I had a lot of trouble getting my friends to even try this on.  But the truth is, there are three reasons why I made this sweater vest. 1) It looked better than the other patterns I found (Judy and Denise can confirm), 2) It was a challenge, since the pattern I used was very vague and I had to make up a lot of it along the way, and finally 3) because it was interesting to knit.  For those of you who knit a lot, people will always tell you that they want scarves or hats or socks.  But after making so many scarves and hats and socks, you just get tired of making them.  They want it more than you want to knit it.  Sometimes, a knitter just wants to make something interesting, that involves a lot of picked up stitches and decreasing and increasing and cables and cast offs.

So I hereby solemnly swear that I will only knit things that interest me, no matter how ugly they are, and I refuse to turn into a soulless scarf knitter (no offense to those of you who just knit scarves, but you are soulless).

Oh yeah, I did eventually get one person to wear this sweater vest and keep it on long enough for me to take some pictures.  Enjoy:

This is Emily.  She is wearing my sweater vest in the doorway of the men’s bathroom.

This is Emily again.  She is wearing my sweater vest on the floor in front of the doorway of the men’s bathroom.  She’s having a good time.  I promise.

Surprisingly enough, Emily did not want to keep my sweater vest, so for any of you out there with a penchant for grandmother garb, let me know and it’s yours.

This being one of my bigger projects, it took quite awhile to finish.  So what did I do to pass the time while I worked on this?  Movies.  Lots and lots of movies.  In particular, there were three I watched that piqued my interest: Sherlock (the BBC series, each episode is basically a movie), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Warrior.  Sherlock is a witty British TV series on the modern Sherlock Holmes, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is way to hard to follow, and The Warrior makes you want to beat someone up and cry at the same time.

But why am I mentioning these movies to you, you ask?  Well, Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the main character, who is also present in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as a blonde Peter Guillam.  Also in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is Ricki Tarr, played by Tom Hardy.  Tom Hardy is also present in The Warrior, where he plays an estranged son fighting in a UFC competition against his brother (Joel Edgerton), who is married to Tess, who is played by Jennifer Morrison.  Jennifer Morrison, a couple years back, was a regular on the TV show House M.D. as Dr. Allison Cameron.  In this TV show, Dr. House and Dr. Wilson are based off of two literary characters.  Who?  Well, none other than Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Get it?  both surnames as synonymous with domiciles, both have a drug problem, lack of social skills, live in apartment 221B, and maintain a questionable relationship with their partners, Watson/Wilson).  Boom.  Full circle.

No, I did not use Wikipedia to look up names or find links between movies.  I know, I’m impressed as well.

***Current neuroscience research shows a correlation between motor cortex activity and the place of constriction when pronouncing (or preparing to pronounce) particular consonants, suggesting that a brain-machine interface may some day be built, giving hope to people with Parkinson’s disease or who are otherwise linguistically impaired.


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