I've found that in knitting, sometimes the smallest notion can take me off on wild exploration of some new technique, fiber, designer.
The latest example came when Sweetie and I were rewatching "The Matrix". I guess I wasn't a knitter when I first saw it, because I don't remember noticing the sweaters worn in the movie. Very basic pullovers, with every manner of ladders and rips.
There aren't a lot of images available online, but this will give you an idea if you haven't seen the movie:
While watching the movie, I immediately thought of the Rowan pattern "Raspy" from "Denim People" and said to Sweetie, "You know, I could make you a sweater like that."
We've been talking about me making a sweater for him, but we hadn't really figured out a pattern and yarn. I was a bit surprised (and pleased) when he replied, "I wouldn't mind having a sweater like that to wear around the house." Actually, I could tell from his tone, the idea was appealing to his inner-geek, so I set about to plan a course of action.
First, I checked out Raspy. For some reason, I thought it was a unisex pattern, but it isn't. I would need to make all sorts of adjustments, but then, I thought, it's so simple, why do I need a pattern at all? Just do a simple top down pullover--no cuffs, no collars--and drop a few stitches here and there.
But then I became curious--who made the sweaters for the movie? That's where things get a bit murky when you try to glean all your knowledge from the internets.
To my amusement, one of the first names to come up was Suss Cousins (my amusement springs from this recent discussion). A blurb for her book "Hollywood Knits" includes the following: "...she has also chosen to include some of her most inspired designs for films from The Matrix to How the Grinch Stole Christmas." I haven't seen the Matrix sweater in this book, so I'm not sure what sweater she may have designed. Reportedly, there is another Matrix sweater in Erica Knight's book "Simple Knits with a Twist", but, again, I haven't seen it.
Most of them start off as a brand new white sweater and we’ve dyed them, then we’ve stitched them, ripped them and made holes in them, using sandpaper and pumice stones. We have also re-stitched them and darned them, then poured more dye on them until we finally age them with paint to make them look greasy and grimy.
The Skif sweaters worn by actors such as Keanu reeves, Laurence Fishbourne and Carrie-Anne Moss in the film have started a whole new trend in fashion...These sweaters are perhaps best known for being uncomplicated and freeform, with raw, unfinished edges, chunky seams and distinctive metal tags sewn on the backs.
SKIF's designs are Habu-like in their simple, freeform, unfinished qualities (ready-to-wears available at this online shop).
An interesting aside, the SKIF website has a blurb under "upcoming events" about the arrival of SKIF handknitting patterns.
So, anyway, bottom line, I still don't really know exactly how the Matrix sweater was created. It doesn't really matter, Sweetie will have his (even if you-know-who did design the original).
PS--regarding that certain shameless self-promoter, I had to laugh at this comment from a customer reviewer on Amazon:
From the second paragraph of the introduction where she says, "The beginnings of the current knitting boom seem to have coincided with the the first time Bill Cosby walked onto the set of the The Cosby Show wearing one of my sweaters.", I was completely put off.