a cowichan at christmas

a few months ago I did a blog about my new interest in the Canadian Style of Cowichan Knitting, I actually managed to find one of Etsy with a bit more of a Native American feel that I have worn a lot since i got it


But at work the other day Sandra mentioned to me that she had seen what she thought was a Cowichan cardigan in the window of the Lerwick Save the Children charity shop.. my interest was piqued.. so on my day off on Thursday I decided to go for a peek.


Of course I bought it.. I have no self control when it comes to vintage knitwear. I was walking down the lane towards the Street which has Save the Children at the bottom, from about half way down I could see it through the window and in less than five minutes I was walking out with it in a bag.. hey ho..




It is a very classic Cowichan cardigan and I’m really pleased I bought it, its a bit big but not overly so and I could definitely wear it as a jacket. Literally wearing it for 5 minutes to take these photos made me very warm and in my house that’s something!


It has been made in the traditional way, and not steeked as far as I can tell, I hate purling and cant imagine having to incorporate Fair Isle and Intarsia with knitting back and forth.. but I see how the thick roving wool its knit from might not be ideal for steeking, if it had been there would be a lot more bulk around the edge of the zipper.


I don’t know how a traditional Canadian Cowichan ended up in a charity shop in Shetland but I’m glad it did.. because now I can enjoy it.

Happy Knitting.. oh.. and Happy Christmas!


18 thoughts on “a cowichan at christmas

  1. Great find! The fit of the sweater is actually perfect. They are incredibly warm and really meant to be worn as jackets. I’ve been looking in thrift shops here for one and haven’t had any luck. I think I might give up and just knit myself one in the New Year (after I finish that Fair Isle vest, which I just cast on for this week). Merry Christmas!

  2. You are right……….what a story that would make……….how DID that sweater wind up in Lerwick??? But it’s perfect for your weather.
    Merry Christmas!

  3. It’s a lovely sweater and so well knitted. I think we’re all curious about it’s trip to Lerwick!!
    I don’t know how your weather is there in the winter but this sweater/jacket looks like could keep you really warm.

  4. This is so great! My dad has a big Cowichan sweater (not a cardigan) that he bought in Alberta. He wears it cross country skiing in the winter and my mum knit him a matching hat.

    I’m so impressed a Cowichan sweater ended up in Shetland! I live in Toronto and almost never see them in vintage shops (and, when I do, they’re priced a little too high for me.) It looks great on you!

  5. I love cowichans too – my husband has quite a collection of vintage Mary Maxim styles, and I’ve knitted a few – 2 vintage Mary Maxim patterns for my husband and daughter and a traditional one for myself. It is indeed super warm and I wear it as a coat. They are incredibly fun to knit, in my opinion! Your find is lovely and I agree – the fit is just about perfect!

    1. Thank you, what do you use to knit it with? I have a few Japanese knitting books with lovely patterns for cowichan inspired cardigans, did you go back and forth? I would be tempted to steek but it might not work with the bulk. Xx

      1. I didn’t steek – all the patterns I did were knit in pieces and seamed together. I didn’t find it added unnecessary bulk even in a toddler size. Here’s a link to my ravelry page so you can see the ones I knitted and what yarns I used for each. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/andieface
        I love those japanese cowichan inspired sweaters! I haven’t gotten the guts to try one yet though :)

  6. What a find… Like finding out on the antiques road show that your candelabra is worth thousands! I always knit fair isle back and forth. It’s ok if you have one thread I the right and one in the left hand and weave the one thread in both on the knit and purl sides. I don’t like the idea of cutting my knitting, even though I know it doesn’t undo. Love you pictures of the waves, and the hat, and he Sarah Lund jumper and… And … Everything. Jeanie

    1. Thank you, I’m still quite slow at knitting Fair Isle so I dislike purling as it feels like it stops my flow. I think because I do machine knitting I don’t mind cutting up knitting – although it must feel different when it’s hand knitting!!

  7. Cowichan Sweaters do not have raglan sleeves and are not seemed at the underarms. The old ones that do have raglan sleeves are usually White Buffalo or Mary Maxim designs and are knit with inferior wool. The Cowichan spun yarn was really special.

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