LYNNWOOD — Jacob Akers is the Dude.
He’s also the dude who knits.
What’s up with that?
Akers, 29, knits brown-and-white patterned replicas of what Jeff Bridges wore in “The Big Lebowski.” In the 1998 Coen brothers’ cult classic, Bridges is a slacker known as the Dude. Or Dudeness. Duder. El Duderino.
Bridges wore the bulky Pendleton cardigan unzipped, over a T-shirt, often with pajama bottoms and said “man” or “dude” in about every other sentence. He also paraded around in a bathrobe in the guy flick/stoner movie that rates as one of Akers’ favorites.
Akers is no slacker or stoner. He’s a stocker at the Lynnwood Costco Business Center, working the 2 a.m. shift.
He started knitting as a teen at Meadowdale High School. He tried to teach his mom. It wasn’t her thing, he said.
His scarves and socks impress his friends. “They are gobsmacked when I tell them I made it,” he said.
Akers, whose other sport is fishing, said none of his buddies knit. But globally, the lockdown during the pandemic led to an increase of “sew bros” connecting virtually.
Josh Bennett, a New Yorker with bodacious biceps, has 74,000 Instagram followers on @joshbennettnyc. He does #knitwithjosh and posts pics with his squishy-faced French bulldog, Shubert.
There’s a Men Who Knit Facebook group. “Knitting this in between my bus routes,” posts a Brit bus driver needling pink socks.
Great Yarns in Everett recently posted a photo of Akers in the Rucker Avenue shop with his Dude sweaters.
“It was one of the most engaged-with posts on Facebook and Instagram,” said Tawnye Dixon of Great Yarns.
Before stitching “Lebowski” sweaters, Akers replicated simpler items from other movies, such as a 14-foot “Doctor Who” scarf and a striped version from “Harry Potter.”
“When you put that on, the scarf alone you feel like everything that goes along with being that character,” he said.
That was good, for sure, but Akers aspired to be the Dude.
“Something just sparked,” he said. “That would be a cool sweater to have, hanging out, or even if I wore it to the bowling alley once everything picks up. I needed to have that sweater.”
There was no way he was going to pay $249, which is what Pendleton charges for the wool cardigan like the one Bridges wore in the movie, which came from his personal closet, not a Hollywood wardrobe set.
The company stopped making the sweater, known as the Westerley, in the 1980s and brought it back due to demand from Dude wannabes.
Pendleton also sells socks to match for $24.50 and Dude dog sweaters for $49.
The Dude cardigan was the first time Akers attempted a sweater.
“That’s a mountain-and-a-half of learning to do,” he said.
The folks at Great Yarns helped him learn the stitches.
“He said, ‘I am going to do this,’” said Fontelle Jones, owner of Great Yarns.
The shop is a haven for those sharing a passion for transforming strands of yarn into functional art.
“We are attracting younger people. It can be calming and therapeutic instead of always spending time in front of a screen,” Jones said.
Akers spent about a year, off and on, making two Dude sweaters. He’s working on a third for a female friend.
“It got to the point where it was an easy rhythm. I’d just turn something on and go to town,” Akers said. “It’s a lot of patience.”
Wearing it transports him to Dude-ism.
“In the movie, he’s like zen and laid back,” Akers said. “That’s what I wanted. So every time I put that on, I am super relaxed and feel like I am in that world. It allows you to escape everything for a while.”
Akers bought Dude pajama pants on Amazon to wear at home. Unlike The Dude, he doesn’t go out in public in sleepwear.
“Oh, no. I won’t go that far,” he said.
He mainly wears the sweater to the yarn shop. “I don’t like wearing it outside because of the rain and everything,” he said.
Akers turns 29 Tuesday.
He used his 20% birthday discount at Great Yarns to buy a new knitting needle set.