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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