Cowichan

Cowichan is Canada. For over 150 years, the native Coast Salish people of Vancouver Island have created these distinctively patterned, hand-knitted sweaters, toques, mitts, and socks.  Each piece of Coast Salish Indian clothing is unique, incorporating traditional designs of animals, birds, sea creatures, and geometric shapes.  The Salish knitting is a very old traditional art form; and over the decades these hand knitted sweaters have become well known for their beauty and expert craftsmanship. The Coast Salish Indian knitting represents historically the extraordinary resourcefulness, creativity, and adaptability of the people of the Coast Salish Tribes.

The clothing designs have been passed down from generation to generation; typically from mother to daughter, and there are some excellent male knitters as well. Please note the distinction that while we reference the shops of our other artisans, Cowichan sweaters are most often made right in the knitter’s home. The raw wool is hand washed, hand teased, hand carded, and finally hand spun. This meticulous hands on technique helps to preserve all of the natural oils that are found in the wool; making the sweaters water and stain resistant, and perfect for the Northwest Coast winters.

This beautiful art form is still used culturally in the winter dances of the Coast Salish longhouses, and it can be seen being worn by people from all walks of life, including Prime ministers, Presidents, and members of the Royal family.