Overview of the Cowichan Sweater
A genuine Cowichan sweater is recognized well all around the world for one good reason. The Cowichan knitting is an artistic creation that combines both skills and traditional designs. This beautiful and well-built wool sweater had its beginning with the West Coast Salish people. The settlers of the Cowichan Valley on the Southern Vancouver Island in the British Columbia were extremely skilled at creating warm garments and coverings out of various materials.
These materials include a dog hair, goat wool, and other fabrics available in the area. They used distinctly unique weaving techniques to create wonderful creation of garments. They employed spindles and looms before the European inhabitants arrived.
History of the Cowichan Sweater
However, there were two significant events that happened, which altered the course of history. Somewhere in the 1850s, the flock of sheep which was brought in by inhabitants was introduced to the area. Moreover, missionaries came into the Cowichan Valley who later taught the native students about knitting techniques. The natives began creating mittens and sock, and eventually started to make bigger garments.
Additionally, these knitters place the readily available wool to good and valuable use, and went on to make handspun sweaters with that can cope or withstand coastal elements such as the rain and the snow. The sweaters they created were designed from the real wool and contain natural oils were water resistant.
Evolving Artistic Creation of Sweaters
In due time, the Cowichan Sweater got on the preferences of the new innovations of Salish knitters, and they came out to be embellished with traditional or cultural designs by implementing the Fair Isle technique. The latter uses 2 to 3 colors that are styled in alternating patterns to create specific designs. Furthermore, the sweaters were knit in a round manner. This means that the garments were designed without any seams and were made from natural thick uncolored wool.
In addition, the sweaters that were created came normally in black, cream, and gray. They were heavier than the usual sweaters made with a lighter yarn or wool.
All essential elements were combined to make distinctively unique looking sweaters. Over time, the designs and the techniques in knitting were passed down through the families. One generation has taught the next generation an absolutely evolving artistic creation that has been there since then.