Two women with great taste, tons of ideas, and not enough hours in the day.

February 5, 2014

Where have all the Cowichan sweaters gone?

Reminds me of the lyrics from "Where Have All The Flowers Gone", the song the late Pete Seeger adapted in 1955.
Those wistful lyrics of sadness and loss remind me of the gorgeous "curling" sweaters I had scrounged at some thrift store back in my university days. I enjoyed their warmth and comfort for many, many years but, at some short-sighted stage of my life in the desire to lighten my load, presumably during a move, I regrettably passed these on to some donation pile. I keep a watchful eye out anticipating I will see my coveted sweaters cloaked over the frame of some stranger. I'm still watching.

DodadChick on Etsy

TheInvisibleAgent on WordPress

What I knew as the "curling sweater" actually had its origins as the iconic Cowichan sweater. The history of the sweater and of the First Nations women who are its original creators is richly described in Sylvia Olsen's book entitled "Working With Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater"  - published by Sono Nis Press 2010. The beautiful sweaters of the West Coast Salish were later popularized by "Mary Maxim"and others and the designs reinterpreted to appeal to popular culture. Hence today we see designs ranging from thunderbirds and moose to motor boats and rocket ships. A knocked-off version of the Cowichan sweater was even produced by The Hudson's Bay Company for Canadian team members of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
by CampKitschyKnits on Etsy

Whether you know it as the Cowichan, Siwash, Mary Maxim or curling sweater there remains a rich variety of sweaters out there - both old and new. Here are but a few that caught my eye.

A sampling of Mary Maxim designs 
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More Mary Maxim's

January 25, 2014


It's a pretty snowy day in Trent Hills today and we have been doing more than our fair share of shovelling. But the biggest challenge was deciding what would be the best way to get to our shop in Warkworth today. Some of our options were:

Train - except there is none in these parts so scratch that.

Skiing. True, there are lots of hills here but not that many. And without a chair lift - forget it.

A weird wheeled hovercrafty thing with ski attachments. Except we don't own one. Darn.

Snowshoes. Really? Are you kidding me? I get out of breathe going around the block!

By way of an adorable, vintage snowmobile. It would be perfect and we'd look so cute on it. Again the problem is that we don't own one. Poopy!

By sled. Good idea except they're all at the shop and not here.

By modifying our van into a hovercrafty thing. But by the time we modified our van it would be time to close the shop and come back home. So kinda defeats the purpose.

By spinning our way to work. We tried, but got too dizzy.


And by far our personal favourite way was to strip down to the bare essentials with a bunch of crazy friends and toboggan to work. The only problem was all our crazy friends are already in Warkworth and not here.

And so we stayed home!

We miss you Warkworth. Hope to see you and all our crazy friends tomorrow.