Cowichan Sweater Tales

Cowichan Sweater

The weather outside is frightful… but a Cowichan sweater is so delightful.  It’s time once again for my annual Cowichan sweater post!

Once upon a time there was a a magical Cowichan sweater that spread joy and warmth everywhere it went.  This sweater is 1950’s vintage so I can only image the epic tales is has to tell but my story with it began two years ago.

My sister was in town for the holidays and we had set out on a full throttle marathon shopping adventure which landed us at California Pizza Kitchen’s bar (our shopping trips always end up at a bar). As we sipped our cocktails we couldn’t help but notice a girl sitting across from us in the coziest, chicest sweater we had ever seen.  After a quick Rock Paper Scissors we determined my sister would ask her where she got it.

Little Miss Cozy Sweater said it was a Cow-wi-gen sweater and that she got it on E-bay.

If you don’t already know this, my sister and I love a good scavenger hunt.  We are OBSESSED with tracking down and finding impossible things, so once Little Miss Cozy Sweater gave us that tiny bit of information it was like signaling the start of a race.

We put on our detective hat’s and went to work on our phones.  After about 10 minutes we learned that Cow-wi-gen is actually Cowichan and it’s a form of knitting NOT a clothing brand.

Cowichan sweaters (also called Siwash Sweaters, Indian Sweaters, Curling Sweaters or sometimes Mary Maxim Sweaters) originated in the 1800’s with the native tribes on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and have become iconic to B.C. ever since.

Cowichan sweaters are knit from natural, hand spun, undyed sheep’s wool. The yarn is so strong the sweater will hold it’s shape for decades and the high lanolin content of the wool makes a water repellant, stain resistant sweater that keeps its wearer warm and dry, absorbs body moisture, and ventilates body heat.

After two more cocktails, I had located this Rockabilly inspired Cowichan beauty on Etsy and hit “Buy Now”.  My sister snagged one with a traditional Thunderbird on the back.

I was so in love with my sweater that I wore it all winter last year and one day donned this beauty for a shopping trip with @WonderWeekes (Tiffany my assistant) where we (once again) ended up at a bar- Jeannie’s inside Nordstrom.

We were sipping on our drinks when I noticed a couple at the next table staring at us.  After a few moment the guy at the table got up and came over to us (which at this point I realized was singer Frankie Moreno) and he told us that his girlfriend was so in love with my sweater that he wondered if he could buy it from me.

I looked over and realized that his girlfriend was professional dancer/choreographer  Lacey Schwimmer (Her parent pretty much invented west Coast Swing Dancing).

Although I’m a huge fan of her’s I just couldn’t part with my beloved sweater.  The whole thing happened so fast I didn’t really have time to think but after we left the bar and I had gathered my thoughts I remembered that a few months ago I had bought another Swing Dancing/Rockabilly style Cowichan on Esty that had a slightly different color palette and I hadn’t worn yet.  I messaged Lacey on Instagram, met up with her a day or so later to deliver the sweater.

It was like Inception- a girl in a bar had inspired me to buy a cowichan now I (a girl in a bar) inspired someone else to buy one. Totally kismet.

Lacey did a whole series of photo’s in hers which you can see on her Instagram CLICK HERE. 

So here we are neck deep in another Cowichan Sweater season and I’m hoping this inspires someone else to take the baton and start a Cowichan adventure for themselves.

Not only are these sweaters totally chic they are also uber warm, unique and wondrously comfortable.  It’s like a big hug from an old friend and who knows, someone may come up to you in a bar and ask you where you got your Cowichan and you can continue this epic tale.

Happy Holidays!

Stylist’s Tip: These sweaters are meant to be over-sized and are usually unisex so they are VERY roomy.  I am wearing a medium.  So keep in mind and check measurements when selecting your size before purchasing.

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

Cowichan Sweater

What I’m Wearing: Vintage Cowichan Sweater | Have a Holly Dolly Christmas Tee | Zara Skirt | Tory Burch Clutch |

Click to SHOP Cowichan Sweaters:

What is a cowichan sweater

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