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Shopping for Cowichan sweaters.

Handknitted by Coast Salish Indian women, Cowichan sweaters are truly Northwest wearable art. Warm and serviceable, these sweaters, are somewhat water-repellent because natural lanolin remains in the wool. Selling for these women since the 1930s.

Misssionary sisters are credited with teaching the women to knit in the 1860s. Their highly original designs come from many sources: kitchen oilcloth, linoleum, commercial Indian blankets.

In recent years, the product has been changing for the better to meet market demands. Many knitters use high-grade, machine-carded wool which they handspin. Prices average about $100. You'll also find socks, mittens, and toques.

But beware of copies; some are machine-made in Japan, while others are handknitted in Western Canada. An authentic Cowichan is knitted in the round and has set-in sleeves but no side seams.

Along with nearly all branches of Hudson's Bay Company, the following British Columbia shops carry genuine articles. They accept mail orders; call for prices. Area code is 604.

Cowichan Bay. Betty White Gifts, 748-8541.

duncan. Hill's Indian Crafts, 685-4249 (also stores in Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo).

Vancourver. Eatons, 701 Granville Street, 685-7112. Heritage Canada, 650 W. Georgia, 669-2447.

Victoria. Cowichan Trading Company, 1328 Government Street, 383-0321. Longhouse Gallery, 906 Gordon Street, 388-7323. Sasquatch Indian Sweater Shop 1233 Government Street, 386-9033.
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Date:Nov 1, 1984
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