Fall Etiquette : Cowichan knits General Style 63 Comments

JKISSI : The weather doesn’t appear to be too warm or too cold which makes for the perfect temperature to go ahead and put on a knit sweater. The fall seems to be everyone’s favorite season before we transition into the cold winter. The special thing about the fall is the ability to layer up while still showing each clothing piece unlike the winter season where you are forced to be bundled up for your dear life.    Knitted sweaters are  perfect layering pieces in the winter when it becomes excessively cold to simply wear by itself. We didn’t have the chance to post about this last fall/winter but knitwear played a good role in the blistering New York City cold. It also was beneficial when the weather was just good enough to wear it alone. We came up with the idea of formulating a post for different fall items also providing a more vivid look into each article of clothing.


Cowichan, Street Etiquette, Granted Clothing, Sperry Topsider, GAP, Boots by Sperry Topsider, Sperry boots, Cowichan tribe, Cowichan pattern, Geometric patterns,

JKISSI – Vintage Cowichan  shawl sweater | GAP Khaki Utility Shirt | A.P.C New Cure Jeans | Sperry Topsider Boots

Fit Description –  I’m slightly disappointed that I haven’t had the time to really wear in my APC jeans this past summer. To make up for the lost time I have been trying to fit them into my rotation more frequently. In addition I have been looking at other raw denim jeans to purchase once I’m completely finish with this pair. The khaki GAP utility shirt is two years old and still holds its color and fit from when I purchased it originally. I have to admit that shirt is probably the best purchase I have made at the retailer. The Cowichan sweater pictured above was a steal that didn’t require any type of alterations which really surprised me when I received the sweater. The geometric patterns on the sweater is what really caught my attention at first glance. The Cowichan tribe of British Columbia are known for hand sewing similar sweaters to get through harsh winters.   The Sperry Topsider boots were a excellent boots purchase that I made last year around this time. This year it will be interesting to see what kind of boots I will purchase. I have a solid list of boots varying in different styles that I’m looking for this season. You can surely stay tuned for that post in the future.

Cowichan, Sweater, chunky knits, cowichan, Granted clothing sweaters, Granted Clothing

1. Canadian Sweater Company LTD

2. Granted Clothing – The Caramel Camel

3. Granted Clothing – Classic Deer Vest

4. Filson – 2008 Cowichan sweater

The fact that all of these sweaters above are all hand knitted right here in North America should convince you to purchase one. These sweaters will keep you incredibly warm during the fall/winter and are great layering pieces.  Today, with the majority of  larger companies  moving their production over to the East, it’s always great to highlight the ones that stay true to the essence of American production. The good people at Granted Clothing gave us a series of pictures depicting how the sweaters start out from scratch to the beautiful sweaters pictured above.


Have something to say?


  • Billy

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    I love it. I really like ur sweater in the picture, I saw it and fell in love!

    Great blog.

  • Max

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    These prints kind of remind me of Dale of Norway sweaters – some of the best sweaters ever made in the last 130 years. Though, they might be a bit thicker than you like, they do have some that are early fall. Have a look.

  • blackactionhero

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Sweaters are a good look if you can pull those patterns off . Question; is the “hoodie”making a comeback this fall?I hope not .

  • G-reg

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Very nice blog and fit. The boots are very nice, and I’ll be looking forward to your boot post. Hopefully it’ll expose me more to whats out there, because I’ve been on the look for boots as well, but haven’t seen anything that really caught my eye (minus these sperrys, they look amazing)

  • Edward Rodim

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    And for people that still think this site isn’t the best male blog you have to be kidding me lol

    Great stuff overall Joshua , picture are on point and I’m thinking of buying one from Granted clothing seen some that I really like.

  • willy cheesesteak

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    ^Hoodies never went out of style, only certain types became trendy/played out.

    Nice cowichan though, Josh. Last year on Ebay there was a really sick navy one with red and white anchor and ship wheel print, very nautical looking, I shoulda copped :\.

  • Chief

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    JKISSI,,, I mean this is the most complimentary way possible. Next time you’re going to write a post on Cowichan knits, you might want to actually wear one. As well, this post could have been written in 4 or 5 sentances. Save the fluff for your professors.

    p.s. You talk about American production and 3 out of the 5 sweaters you highlight are made in Canada

  • joseph a

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    good read, though i think i’ll stick to the varsity cardigans

    btw, what method you using for your curls?

  • Tari..

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    In the past i wouldn’t have actually took a second look at those sweaters ..lol
    but my fashion sense has recently changed to a wider range of clothing :)
    i really like the designs on them!!

  • ryan

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :


    That is a Cowichan sweater. And Canada is in America, North America specifically which is exactly what he said. You’re a clown.

  • Steven Wilson

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Great post Jkissi

    Don’t listen to the haters like this guy Chief if you don’t like the way he writes then don’t visit this site. Like ryan mentioned he is wearing a cowichan sweater please keep the negative comments to yourself we don’t need that over here. Canada is included North America seems your geographical skills aren’t up to par, I hope you dont reside in the U.S

    Have a good one everyone

    Proves the fact that if your doing something someone will always try to throw salt smh ..

  • David

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Sir, you don’t fail to amaze me again I fully understand the sweater in question. I have always loved the tribal design of many hand sweaters, these very sweaters always were something I liked. Even, when they were really popular in the 90′s of course you remember that. It never really surprises me that “fashion dos nad don’ts”, always seem to come and go around and changes places. I’m sayin the dos become don’ts and vice versa, not at all saying that the sweater is a don’t I am just saying the style change in fashion is fascinating. I remember that Eastcoast weather so I know it is on the teeter of becoming winter there…as for this Midwest weather it still feels like summer. I really can’t wait for the Fall to come in its entirety in this area, until then I will be in some cargos and a light hood sweater. Great job with this one man keep pushing them and the people will come!

  • blackactionhero

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Thanks Cheesecake. Seems I’ve exposed myself for not being a hoodie guy . Sites like this have me polishing up my skills when it comes to style,a welome inspiration to my life. Keep up the good work .

  • retroaaron

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Great fit altogether. The different shades of brown/tan really complement each other. Unfortunately, down here in the south (TX to be exact) it hardly ever stays cold long enough to put such well-made sweaters to the use they deserve. Maybe if I can find a nice one within my budget I will take advantage.

  • dayinthelyf

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    nice fit and nice hair Josh, makes me wanna ditch the plain Jane bush for something more…uh…whats the word i’m looking for? Anyways nice fit on the new cures. I got put on dior 19cm and I think theres no going back…next pair for sure.

  • Prêt-à-Porter P

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    with those sweaters, you have to be either pretty young or pretty old to pull those off. but the camel one has an unusual charm. i wish i could convince someone into wearing this thom browne/black fleece one.
    you carry your sweater really well. and the thing that always impresses me about your style is that you have an incredible sense of color. it’s just one of those things that’s just innate, cant really be taught. you’ve got the gift!!

  • Missiah

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Great post Josh . But btw you’ll always need haters like that ! smh lol

  • friendinfashion

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    Love how you’ve styled the cardi – love the neutral tones, boots bracelets! Even though we are approaching summer here in Aus, I’d pick up the deer vest today! ;)

  • bladt

        posted on September 22 , 2009 :

    That sweater is great, man. Fit is nice for the most part. Not feeling the cut on the jeans. If they were a little bit more straight, more so “slim” rather than “skinny”, the fit would be ten times better. Well put together, though and I’m LOVING the hair man hahaha..

  • omie

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    I really like the sweater… I’ve been thinking about getting a tribal type sweater since last winter….boots are great too…You n Trav got me hooked on the boot scene..just brought a pair of clarks n they’re awesome..greaat work!!

  • Jon B

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    Good post I like the sweater , keep up the good work as always please the let that guy get to you lol it’s all in this online thing where they can’t and wont say it in person.

  • Greg Enemy

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    very sharp my guy. this whole look exudes autumn…definitely need to cop some shawl-collar cardigans soon! those topsider boots are clean aswell. kudos.

  • Trav

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    you already know that Im jealous of that sweater. The whole Cowichan trend is deadly with the right execution and of course u came correct as always. Stay tuned for more fall post guys.

  • Tiara

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    IDK why but every time I think about a cowichan knit in the context of a whole outfit, the outcome isn’t very appeasing lol, but this is a well put together fit. You definitely made it work. I’m loving the red and black one by the Canadian Sweater Company, I think I’m gonna get one of those for my brothers.


        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    Billy : Thanks same way I felt when I saw it like 0_0 lol

    Max : Yeah they do share the same similar pattern on some of the sweaters, tey look alright but I have to be honest here the quality doesn’t look up to par with the hand knitted ones.I’m not trying to knock that company or what they represent just what I’m seeing.

    : Yeah true it’s all about if you feel comfortable in it , some people might say it’s too much of a old ‘grandpa’ look for them personally. Willy cheesesteak answered that question perfectly.

    G-reg : Thanks the sperrys were definitely a good steal because the original price was a bit high so when they went on sale I had to get them quickly. Yes man the boots post is coming soon still going all over the internet seeing what is out there based on quality/pricepoint etc etc , there are some good boots out there all depends on what you are looking for exactly and how much you are willing to drop bank on it.

    Edward Rodim : Wow, that means a lot we try to bring something different to the table from the usual , not to pat ourselves on the back too much. Yeah I definitely recommend that they look great for the F/W def keep you warm.

    WillyCheesesteak : You were around when I purchased it was worth it man, wow that navy / red / white sounds tough man ! lol you should of dropped a bid on it

    Chief : It’s alright man I won’t take it no other way, there are actually 4 sweaters I posted up and they’re all hand knitted right here in North America.

    Joseph A : Hey just a idea to go around I wasn’t trying to force you to wear it lol I’m pretty much comfortable with trying something that’s not always accepted and try to put my own twist on it a bit. Varsity cardigans are a good look also , btw I don’t like to use any gel because it hardens hair eventually leading to breakage of hair so all I use is a bit of mousse to maintain throughout the day.

    Tari : That’s what it’s all about sometimes going out the comfort zone ,or what you previously thought you could never do. After a while you will start to find something appreciate in many different clothing happens to all of us! lol

    : Thanks for clearing that up.

    Steven Wilson : Yeah man you can only let the person get to you , so I choose not to hey it’s the internet so much you can do with that.

    David : You always understand me! Yeah eastcoast fall weather is one the best everyone seems to love, every person I speak to it’s like “I can’t wait until fall hits” and now it is finally here. I couldn’t imagine living in a hot climate all year round maybe because I’m just to used to the season changing northeastern coast. We’re all in this together no worries we will continue to bring out some good post even though it takes a number of days to get everything together we’re working on that.

    Retroaaron : I know what you mean the price is a bit out the way for a struggling college student where books are the first priority,after that food , and some spare cash for the end of the week parties and such. Anyways yeah man they’re def worth it though if you bring yourself to it, I would probably go with the vest since your in TX and all.

    Reggie : Thanks man lol at jane bush for something more clean? lol i dont know either can be pulled off in a clean way all depends I guess. Dior 19 cm’s are great I haven’t had a pair myself obviously but what I hear from people is good reviews of the jeans. Def a go

    Pre-ta-porter : That sweater looks nice! The black white just gives that classic feeling off I think I could possibly do that one lol. Thanks a lot appreciate it with me color should be expressed in different ways that compliment eachother ,we were all raised accustomed to putting certain colors together that always looked good together like
    red/black, black/white, navyblue/red,etc etc it’s just that extra color that compliments the other two that really connects the whole thing or even a fourth would be, maybe I’m just weird like that ahaha

    Missiah : Thanks a lot

    Friendinfashion : Yeah it seems the deer vest is catchign everyones eye the sameway when I saw it lol , thanks checked out your lastest blog post very nice , ladie check out her blog for good doses of style/fashion

    : Hey man I know the slim/skinny cut on jeans isn’t for everyone so I don’t blame you it’s just what I like to wear personally I think the look could of been pulled off by someone else wearing more looser also, that’s the good thing about that. The hair is here to stay lol! thanks for the comment though being honest though lol

    Omie : Yeah like I said briefly in the post I have alway been interested in clothing with native american type prints on them. Yeah I’m mad that the UK get a more wide selection with the desert boots lol I have to try and get my hand on more colors myself!

    Jon B : Thanks brah

    Greg Enemy : Thanks man yeah that’s what the picture says to me also , real autumn like becaue it’s definitely here. Can’t go wrong with that always great to have those on deck, nice blog checked it out.

  • goke

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    dope fit as usual…those boots are serious

  • Kenny

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    AMAZING fit Josh! That sweater is a problem. You are really out to get me huh? lolol. I love fresh dudes. You’ve def inspired me. I’m on ebay looking for a Cowichan sweater right now. I am NOT PLAYING! The Sperrys are dope.

  • Rhamier

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    Your such a good sport Josh lol I love the new entry, its funny you posted about these because I was just thinking about looking for a sweater like this. I didn’t know the name of it though but now I do. The Gap has some Japanese raw denim in stock for $88 and they are a skinny fit just incase u wanted somthing a little cheaper

  • jfkjean

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    #2 and #4. Copped.

  • David

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    Yo, J man I’m saying take your time it is absolutely no rush for anything that is what makes Trav and your blog unique to others that are out. This meaning that time is yours and you control it, I was just saying I would like to get a twofer on these more of a double the fun. Because real talk I really be wanting two, but it is only one post. Then I notice the details and I end up just fine.Hahaha

  • Najee D.

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    You’ve got me thinking maybe I should add some text to my site instead of just pictures lol. But I guess that what sites like this one’s for.

  • Kadeem J.

        posted on September 23 , 2009 :

    And the transformation continues…sweater is amazing bro. Very hard piece to pull off so I’m a bit nervous to purchase one…the boots I neeeed to add to my collection…NICE

  • Rolly (TheSouthSider)

        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    Hey Josh!

    This kind of reminded me of what i have posted on my site before. Check it here http://dsouthsider.blogspot.com/2009/05/henrik-vibskov-cardigans-with-twist.html

    But honestly, those knits are to die for! lol!

  • Blank Label

        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    I am not a big fan of chunky knits, but do like to mix it up once and a while and I really am enjoying the tribal pattern on these knits which add some sweet flavor to the top.
    i would stay away from the black/red one though. i would love the one you have in the pictures, just with green instead of blue =)

  • Jian

        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    Josh — nice one: http://www.valetmag.com/the-edit/objectified/092209.php?highlights_hp

    can’t take credit for that one however, looks like the editor-in-chief has good taste.

  • Steven Williams Sr.

        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    Great post here Joshua I just purchased one of them :D secrets!

  • Max

        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    JKISSI: “tey [sic] look alright but I have to be honest here the quality doesn’t look up to par with the hand knitted ones.I’m not trying to knock that company or what they represent just what I’m seeing.”

    Your eyes deceive you, my friend. I don’t work for the company or anything but Dale of Norway has been making these things for over a century and their quality is what sustains them. That’s why they say when you buy one of them you’re “making an investment.”

    Because of the size of stitch for the images above (they all look like the Tunisian Simple Stitch), I think it is certainly something that one could make on their own sans the hefty price tag. Plus, one could come up with their own design patterns instead of having a jumping walleye or deer. Those somehow just don’t scream “urban world of NYC” to me. :)

  • Theo Martins

        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    Sweater is a great fit, love it bro.


        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    goke : thanks

    Kenny : Lol hey man don’t act like you don’t do damage everytime you walk in my workplace lol. That’s why I come right next door to J.crew to return it aahahah. Aside from the jokes though you definitely inspire me too keep it up

    Rhamier : I try to be , no need to over react because of someone’s comment on the Internet, he honestly said what he felt , his opinion everyone is entitled to one. The only thing was his opinion wasn’t factual. If it was maybe we would of had a good debate/discussion. Yeah I wouldn’t go with the GAP ones I worked there back in High School and I seen the quality of jeans it would be good for people who are just starting out with the whole raw denim journey, but I’ll pass on that. No offense to Patrick Robinson and the whole team at the GAP just not my ideal 4th pair of raw denim jeans. The thing is I’ll pay the price if it’s worth it you know lol poor college student but I’ll invest in something worth it

    Jfkjean: Don’t blame you lol

    David : Yeah it’s the only thing that people would complain about a little , i think 2 a week would be good , mroe than that would be a little too much in my opinion for what we are trying to present. We are trying to provide post with some content a bit. I’m glad you understand.

    Najee D : Hey man if you feel you need to why not ? I like what you do it’s more of pictures than anything but I feel if you did it everyday would be very good I backtracked alll the way to your first post. I like where the site is going, maybe some text every one day out of the week? see suits your blog.

    Kadeem J : Thanks and I agree I could of pulled it off in a good way, or just lit myself in flames lol. The boots you have I really like the brown ones in the accessories post, but we could all need some new boots it looks like.

    Rolly : Hey , I like the Vibscov sweaters it reminds me of the AUS brand Coogi sweaters they used to make back in the day , color knits very good people check it out though

    Blank Label : I hear what youre saying a lot of people are not fans of the chunky knits, I personally like it and the tribal patterns are a whole different story of appreciation lol. Lol the blackred one is a good look if you can pull it off in my opinion you would need to change your aesthetic a bit to accompany it lol

    Jian : Thanks Jian yeah me and Cory exchanged emails about it , a good guy that’s no surprise all of you guys at valet mag are doing a great job. I seriously check this site way too much lol there’s so much info to grasp on valet mag one of the best upcoming online mags
    check it out guys

    Jian I’ll see you when you come back to NYC.

    Steven Williams : Great great, I know you wont go wrong man let me know when they arrive though lol you dont have to be too secretive! lol


        posted on September 24 , 2009 :

    Max : hmm my apologies the quality doesn’t look too subpar maybe because I wasn’t a fan of the patterns on the sweaters , just kind of rubbed me the wrong way i guess. Hey, yeah I know your not trying to promote the products because you work for them. you suggested ome products similar to the one I was talking about , after looking at the whole site I would say yeah it is good quality , I quickly glanced at the pictures the first time around. Lol yeah would be hard to pull these off in the ‘urban world’ of nyc rofl

    Theo Martins : thanks brah !

  • Edward Rodim

        posted on September 25 , 2009 :

    Got it cant wait to get it in the mail.

  • David

        posted on September 25 , 2009 :

    I have come to realize that you guys are on if not thinking the same way I am. After, only being an avid follower for a month our views on style and the fashion industry are on the same wave length. I am seriously considering putting the Street Etiquette blog in my little Selected Few blogroll or something. I already did a post on you guys and that was before I even started really paying attetion to what you two gents are getting down with on this and relaying to the people not just the public…trust me there is a difference. I see it as this though at least you two don’t consider yourselves “dandies” at least that is what I am getting, not at all saying that a “dandy” is a bad thing in my dier opinion I don’t particularly like the title for myself or any other person. It seems disrespectful though many of them take pride in living up to the name. Oh, besides that the point I was getting at is that we will have many of these side convos to the other posts about fashio, style, art, etc,. I want to say it is a pleasure following you guys because I don’t see to many blogs on the net giving their honest opinons about much of anything let alone the thing I am most interested in “FASHION”…making me really seek out those with the hungry and drive the rivals or even matches mine. Passion is key, keep doing your thing gents.

  • Jeff

        posted on September 26 , 2009 :

    Really been slacking on commenting on the posts man lol. I’ll make up for it though haha. This is a really great post man, really makes me want to step up my sweater game. As usual your fits never cease to amaze me Josh. Keep up the good work.

  • Taevon

        posted on September 26 , 2009 :

    Nice outfit bro! really feelin the shoes!

  • Tecknicolor

        posted on September 28 , 2009 :

    Such a timely post. Not only is it getting cooler, but personally, I’ve been looking for a good wool, fair isle sweater for the winter. They’re so Aspen meets Mr. Rogers meets grandma…. Not all of them look good, but if worn right, they can be great and timeless.

  • Twitted by grantedclothing

        posted on September 28 , 2009 :

    [...] This post was Twitted by grantedclothing [...]

  • [...] Please take a look at the rest of the feature here [...]

  • mr.bonds

        posted on September 28 , 2009 :

    Great post, my favorite. The fit was on point too. The sweater vest was the best. Perfect item to wear out and even in the house when it is extra cold. I am looking for the perfect boot purchase so I fell your pain. Too many choices.


        posted on September 29 , 2009 :

    Edward Rodim : Great cant wait to see it , email me which one you purchase.

    David : Hey man, its all mutual understanding and appreciation I won’t sit here and act like I’m any higher or lower than anyone else commenting. I’m just grateful we have such a loyal readership on here where you guys appreciate the content we put on here ! Keep up the good work on your side

    Jeff : It’s ok man no problem , I went on swipelife a few times and it was down whats going on have to talk to Felson one of my favorite sites to visit.

    Taevon : Thanks bro

    Tecknicolor : Yes, I agree I don’t think I fancy every sweater that looks like this , but when done correctly it can look tough, and not to mention it keeps you warm so hey can’t complain at all.

    Mr.bonds : I think everyone can agree on Granted Clothing’s Deer Vest is the best out of them all , I really like that one a lot also , yeah boots posdt will be something serious I’m curious to see what brands we involve in the post.

  • Phil

        posted on September 29 , 2009 :

    Let me drop a 50th comment for the brethren from S.E.

    Always dropping the most proper of posts when they get to it.

    Wait till them see what we have in store.

  • KeithBrooks

        posted on September 30 , 2009 :

    Great outfit. The blue and khaki/brown color combination always works well. Love the fact that the belt, buttons on the sweater, and beaded bracelet all match. Well done.

  • James

        posted on October 1 , 2009 :

    I love the Topsider boots — they’re really the perfect footwear for the fall transitioning months.

  • cyrax

        posted on October 1 , 2009 :

    what size are your apc jeans and how do they fit. why’ll im giving you an interview about them you might as well do a whole post on them and school me lol


        posted on October 2 , 2009 :

    Fantastic blog, I’ll be back often! Keep up the good work.

    You might be interested in my blog too, we highlight young fashion designers and up-and-coming brands. Check it out if you get a moment!




        posted on October 3 , 2009 :

    Phil : Thanks a lot brother Phil , yes people will be shocked at what we all have in stored on our different respective paths!

    Keith Brooks : Very much appreciated for the good words

    James : Yes I agree with you I have had them for over a year now it seems Sprry site has seemed to restock them on the site with a new color addition also check it out


    Cyrax : My APC jeans are a size 29 I had to size down two from my normal size of 31 , they fit real snug but thats how I like them to fit, they are starting to fade slowly so I’m excited about that like I said above I havent worn them as much as I like but will do.

    Tailored Society : Nice blog you got there , some interesting reads keep it up I will also visit it again.

  • Snoblak

        posted on October 5 , 2009 :

    I never thought I would like knit sweaters like these. But what’s also an added bonus is that the Cowichan people are from British Columbia, Canada where I lived for several years before making my move here to London. I have not looked at the link yet but I assume they make them for women as well?

    Natasha Ndlovu.


        posted on October 5 , 2009 :

    Snoblak : Oh nice I thought you were originally from the UK that’s great to know, yeah if you click the link they have some specially made for women I know you can def pull this off :d

  • The Ca$h

        posted on October 9 , 2009 :

    Ayo Kiss
    These’s sweats look great.
    The designs and styles are amazing
    I love your scene of fashion


        posted on October 12 , 2009 :

    The Cash : Thanks brother

  • Canadian

        posted on October 17 , 2009 :

    While these sweaters are cute, they are NOT Cowichan authentic. First, Cowichan sweaters are specifically from the west coast of Canada, named after a tribe who reside in the Cowichan region. There are specific methods to making the sweaters, using specific wool. You should not represent these as being “authentic” as they are far from it.

  • Holly

        posted on December 8 , 2009 :

    but where is this cowichan sweater from?? what company?

  • girdl

        posted on December 10 , 2009 :

    holly… the authentic sweaters are made by men and women of the Cowichan tribes, on an island in british columbia, bc. there is no company that makes them- there’s a loose association formed by the leaders of the tribe to help a few of these people get their business together, but most of these sweaters are made by little old people living below the poverty line on reserves. they were taught how to raise sheep, spin wool, and knit by the white colonists and preachers who came to the area around 200 years ago. they don’t have the land or resources to raise their own sheep these days so they buy virgin sheep’s wool from shops on the island- i work at one of these shops- and they bring the wool home to spin on a machine they have usually jury-rigged from an old sewing machine, or a pedal-powered spinning wheel. they try to teach their children and grandchildren how to knit but there isn’t much of a living to be made by the sweaters, and it isn’t too cool to knit in their culture.
    not to stereotype, but i’ve lived in cowichan and am actually descended from a group of related first nations people who speak the same traditional language- hulqu’minum- and most of the people from the cowichan valley are sweet, shy and soft-spoken people who have suffered incredibly in the past few hundred years. i love almost every one of the people who come into my shop to sell sweaters and buy wool and a lot of effort goes into their work.
    in the fifties, the sweater became popular in north america and a knitting pattern company made good business selling patterns for imitations. a lot of the sweaters accredited to the cowichan people are imitations and you should not buy the first sweater claiming to be an authentic cowichan sweater. most of the time you can tell an authentic sweater from a fake by looking at the way the shoulder is sewn. fakes usually have a more-flattering raglan shoulder (yes, i will admit that the fakes are often more flattering, since the design is slimming, but i’d really rather have the real thing even though it doesn’t look too good on a “generously proportioned” woman), where the real thing’s sleeve is straight across the arm. the shoulder is sewn across the top, and the body of the sweater is knit all in one piece, not in panels. old sweaters were made out of sheeps wool, almost always out of natural colours, but they started to buy a specific brand in the mid-century called buffalo wool. they’re back to buying virgin sheeps wool and that only comes in sheepy colours, like black sheep, grey sheep, white sheep. i’ve seen the occasional non-natural wool sweater but that’s very rare and it’s usually when a knitter is too poor to buy the more-expensive real wool. real wool is the best choice for here on the west coast because it’s relatively rainy and just cold enough to need something as warm as a cowichan sweater. a lot of the people here used to be fishermen until the stocks depleted and a cowichan sweater was just what a fisherman needed. virgin, undyed sheep’s wool is water-repellent thanks to an oil called lanolin that is secreted by sheep.
    in case you wanted to buy a sweater it’s simple to google a shop that sells the authentic sweaters. there are a few on vancouver island and they ship worldwide. you just have to provide your measurements. it’s nice to buy a secondhand sweater on ebay but buying a new, real sweater supports a cottage industry and the business is genuinely appreciated by the knitters.

  • girdl

        posted on December 10 , 2009 :

    jeez, i feel a little obsessive reposting on here, but i just wanted to mention that granted does not sell authentic cowichan sweaters. they appropriated the traditional design, as happens quite often.
    there are some pictures on the wikipedia page about cowichan sweaters.