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Watertown woman’s Bill Cosby sweater wins

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Back in the ’80s — “The Cosby Show” days — Bill Cosby was known for his elaborate, hand-knitted, some might even say ugly, sweaters, which became character Cliff Huxtable’s trademark outfit. Over the past few weeks, the Cos ran an NCAA-style bracket on his website, allowing fans to choose their favorite from his vast, fleecy wardrobe of argyles, cashmeres, cardigans, and pullovers. The winning design, announced Monday on the “Today’’ show, was a sweater decorated with runners on a red track (Cosby ran track at Temple University). It was designed and knitted by Watertown’s Stephanie Sawyer-Ames, who says she made nine other sweaters that Cosby wore on his show. At the time, she was a graphic designer with a serious knitting hobby. She told us: “When sweaters started getting big on the show, I thought, ‘I do that sort of thing.’ So I wrote to the costume designer, and we started working together. And it changed the whole course of my career.” After her Cosby work, she designed sweaters professionally for 14 years, and she’s now a senior designer at TJX (which owns T.J. Maxx and Marshalls), where she creates comforters, quilts, and occasional pet accessories. “I turned on the ‘Today’ show and I was a little worried,” she said. “They were saying my sweater had won a ‘worst sweater’ competition. But Cosby came to my defense.” Indeed, Cosby was indignant at the suggestion. “They haven’t been voting for ‘ugly,’ ” he said. “It was the sweater that the people liked the best.”

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