An Indigenous filmmaker and crew have just reexamined the history and legacy of Cowichan sweater knitting, and if you are not familiar with their story, you can now check it out for free on CBC Gems. Airing recently, award-winning writer and director Mary Galloway met with contemporary First Nations artists to document the tradition of knitting Cowichan sweaters. The Cowichan Sweater, Our Knitted Legacy, aims to teach about this unique knit piece through explorations of its 100-year history and cultural impact while giving voice to the knitters who still work in this tradition.
The Cowichan Sweater, Our Knitted Legacy is available to stream now on CBC Gem
I highly recommend streaming it online through CBC Gem as it is 45 minutes of teachings and inspiration that not only examines its past but gives a glimpse into the potential future of this unique garment.
I had the pleasure of chatting with the 33-year-old Indigenous filmmaker Mary Galloway and producer Tiffany Joseph who both have roots in the area of the garments' origins. One current obstacle for contemporary Cowichan sweater knitters is access to base materials; I brainstormed an offer to collect donations of Briggs & Little Country Roving for the knitters in their documentary.
So here's the deal: Anyone who wants to add a cake of Country Roving (a $14.95 unspun five-ply 100% Canadian wool yarn that is a nice match for Cowichan sweater-style knitting) to any other purchase made at our store I will make sure this pay-it-forward yarn purchase gets into the hands of these knitters. In addition, I will personally match an additional half-cake for each pay-it-forward yarn purchased! This means that for every 2 donated cakes of Briggs & Little Country Roving purchased, 3 will be donated to this donation drive! These purchases will be collected until the end of March 2024 and then I will order these in one shipment and arrange for this entire order to get in the hands of someone mentioned in the documentary.
Join me in celebrating The Cowichan Sweater, learning about its knitted legacy and directly supporting this local gem.
Photo (Gabriel Underwood) from CBC.ca