I was excited to hear yesterday that the Canadian government has officially recognized the Coast Salish Cowichan sweater as having national historic significance! The Coast Salish have a rich tradition of arts and crafts, and the sweaters are one of my favourites. GO KNITTING!
My inner (or outer, depending on how well you know me) cynic can’t help bringing up one thing: it’s too bad that the government didn’t make this recognition prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics, which maybe would have encouraged a money-where-mouth-is arrangement to have authentic Cowichan sweaters for the games, instead of made-overseas knock-offs.
But enough of that - let’s celebrate the enduring beauty of these iconic designs. Here are a few links to help get you in the mood:
>> I was thrilled to find Prairie Wool in my new LYS, the perfect substitute for the discontinued Canadian White Buffalo yarn.
>> West Saanich Woolworks has beautiful knits and an interesting story: its founder married into the Tsartlip First Nation, and with her children has given a contemporary twist to the production and sale of Cowichan knits.
>> I knit my own Cowichan knock-off, for better or worse, here.
>> The official announcement and full list of the 13 recently-recognized First Nations items, sites, and persons can be seen here.