cowichan knitting

As well as having a huge interest in Fair Isle and Shetland knitting, im also interested in any other type of Native knitting. One of my most recent obsessions is Cowichan Knitting.


These warm and cosy looking ladies are all wearing traditional Cowichan sweaters, a type of style from the Vancouver Island area of British Columbia in Canada. The jumpers and cardigans are knit using fair isle and intarsia techniques. They are usually knit with thick pencil width roving (quite like J&S comb tops as far as i can make out..) You’ll not be surprised to hear my obsession was futhered by a recently purchased Japanese knitting book..


Unlike Fair Isle and Scandinavian knitting which has a lot of books written about it, i cant find too much about Cowichan Knitting, i found one book on Amazon which is winging its way from the USA now..

Some of the information i have found which is quite suprising (silly really) is that there is a Shetland link with Cowichan knitting.

‘In time, Cowichan knitters began to embellish sweaters using the Fair Isle technique. The teaching of patterned sweater knitting is generally attributed to a settler from the Shetland Islands, Jerimina Colvin. Mrs. Colvin settled in Cowichan Station in 1885, raised sheep, and hand-spun and dyed her own wool. She probably began to teach knitting by the 1890s, and added patterns as she learned them from other Scottish settlers.’  

found here

 Like a lot of Shetlanders i have relations that emigrated to Canada and my Granny who was much closer to these relations went over to Canada quite a few times, so really it makes sense why i feel a strong connection to this type of knitting! The next step would be to make one.. im think J&S Shetland Aran would make a nice thinner substitute.

But i wont be starting one til after my busy couple of months is over… maybe..

japanese knitting books

Fair Isle knitting is well known all over the world, of all the places my work sends wool too, there is always a large percentage of parcels going to Japan.  I first saw Japanese knitting books at work, if we have yarn in a magazine or book the publishers usually send us a copy.




the classic layouts and simple instructions really appeal to me, obviously i cant read japanese but once you learn the basics they can be easily worked out. Since i have had my eyes opened to this new world of knitting books (not that i needed any more?!) i have begun to start a small collection





what i love is that although there is a lot of Fair Isle based on very traditional Shetland knitting, the colour choices and styling are always so inspirational.





the few that i have bought i have got from they are very reasonably priced, it takes a while to come but then living in Shetland im used to pretty slow delivery.

i’ve had a busy few weeks and the next few will be getting even busier, in two weeks its Wool Week and after that i will start my gearing up for the Christmas Craft Fair. i cant believe its getting to this time of year again!