Though she looks nothing like Rube Goldberg or Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Imogene Hedges, of Kingston University in London, has something in common with them. And you thought you could only share traits with identical twins, didn’t you?
Inspired by charity shop employees known to spend hours unravelling home-made sweaters, and the fact that wool is often more expensive than the sweaters they make, Imogene invented – and shared in this year’s New Designer show from the National Centre for Craft & Design in Lincolnshire – an unknitting machine. I hope the next Wallace and Gromit caper involves a marking on a piece of sweater wool, and they bring this out for assistance. All pictures are copyrighted and owned by Imogene Hedges, guys, thus the neat minimalist style.
It just begs to become a quality-varying infomercial.
Too many sweaters clogging up your closet? Is wool too expensive? Don’t even buy our product! Make your own. Pop a kettle o’tea on. While you wait, get the unraveling started and attach the end of it to the bicycle wheel/pedal frame you assembled this morning, also utilizing that bike you never fixed. Stay tuned for programming paid for by our sister company, the Bike Surgeon. Now guide the wool so that it will pass by the kettle’s spout. Toss that sweater on a table, while you’re at it.
Get comfy in your favorite chair and pedal, baby, pedal! Notice the wool softening as it passes by the kettle’s steam, and marvel at how quickly and easily the wool collects on the wheel. It’s money sticking to the side of a wheel! Never been done! When you’re done, collect it around a spindle that gnomes attached to your chair in the middle of the night. Soon your friends will tire from your endless sweater-unknitting stories.
I was never part of a family where sweaters were a big part of the gift-giving progress, and those that were given were either emblazoned with sports logos or hadn’t a speck of wool in them. Even so, this seems like an invention meant for those families. And of course, the charity shop workers. But those guys get so much already.