ROCKLAND — Mim Bird, owner of Over the Rainbow Yarn shop in Rockland, likes to have a little fun with her staff and customers. Every Monday she posts a ”Fabulous or Godawful” knitwear idea for discussion on their Facebook page. Recently, she posted a pair of “Godawful” knit leggings and received a link to designer Steven West’s Westknits design page, who happens to be “a hipster young knitwear designer in the knitting universe,” said Bird. “He’s always doing something new and creative and he recently came out with sweater pants, called swants and it’s kind of a phenomenon on knitting social media sites.”
So, naturally, Bird and her staff decided the best course of action would be to run over to Goodwill and buy up a bunch of tacky 1980s sweaters, the fake Nordic chenille kind.
“We started hacking them up and experimenting and now we’ve come up with our own version of swants. It’s not exactly a pattern, but more of a procedure, and we like ours betters than Steven West’s,” she said.
Once they got the hang of it, the Over The Rainbow Yarn shop staff further experimented with some really nice sweaters from L.L. Bean, going from the Godawful designs to the Fabulous.
She elaborates: “West is not a tailor, so his swants don’t exactly fit the female form the best way. We made an accidental discovery that if you cut the sleeves off a sweater and turn it upside down, the arm holes are just like the crotch of a pair of pants.”
Speaking of crotch, (I don’t know if I’m at liberty to be speaking of crotches at Penobscot Bay Pilot), but the ladies at Over The Rainbow Yarn shop further discovered if you hack the entire sweater to bits and cut off the arm holes, what you get, in effect, is a really nice pair of swanties. Yes, that would be—sweater panties.
“We didn’t necessarily mean that anyone should seriously wear them,” Bird said after they posted a photo of swanties on their Facebook page. “But, I posted a photo of the swanties on Steven West’s Facebook page, so he could see them,” she said, adding, “a lot of his stuff is designed for the urban man, but clearly won’t work for a woman’s body. There’s some things a girl just has to keep hot.”
The swants and swanties are not actually for sale.
“We’re not in the business of selling finished goods,” Bird said. “We’re in the business of selling you all the materials you need to make your own finished goods and encourage you to experiment on your own.”
To find out how to make stunningly good looking garments, follow Bird’s forthcoming blog posts on the subject at overtherainbowyarn.com or follow them on Facebook. And if you don’t quite get it on the first try, don’t get your swanties in a twist—go find an ugly Christmas sweater and try again.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org