New project: it isn’t a sweater, it’s a jacket

BL Super

I’ve been inspired by customers – ever since I started to carry B&L yarns, my most enthusiastic supporters have been from Japan. The most popular varieties are Super and Country Roving, and I wish I could read japanese so that I could follow their blogs and find out what they are making. But it’s a pretty safe bet that they making cowichan style sweaters.

Oona loves everything japanese, so jumped at the chance when I asked her  if she’d like a cowichan style jacket. Funny story: in one of my favorite plays, there is quite an argument between the two characters as to whether a garment is a sweater or a jacket. When I designed the costumes for it so many years ago, those lines brought to mind my father’s old zipped cardigan – my grandmother had knit it using a Mary Maxim pattern and lined it throughout.

patron mary maxim

veste mary maxim


Years later, Marcel was cast in the role of Ernest and the costume designer found a pictorial Mary Maxim for him on Ebay. Maybe it’s because I’m now a knitter (I wasn’t for the first go-round of Ernest and Ernestine), but I found the costume choice hilarious.

Back to Oona’s SweaterJacket – real Cowichan sweaters are  knit using thick single-ply handspun yarn (it should also be noted that only authentic garments made by the Cowichan band on Canada’s west coast have a right to be designated as ‘Cowichan Sweaters’. As such, no hand knitting yarn has been commercially produced which can be said to be authentic). Over the years, several companies have offered yarn specifically for this type of knitting – White Buffalo and Briggs & Little among them. Since White Buffalo yarn has been discontinued, many now opt for country roving but, sadly, it isn’t available in a clear, bright yellow – and Oona is all about yellow. So, I’ll be using Super.

dessin veste


The yarns I chose can be seen above and here is my sketch. Next, I’ll need to swatch and draft my pattern pieces.

  • Love the pop of bright yellow and blue, great choice Oona! Looking forward to seeing this come together.

  • I mostly design for my daughter Isabel (soon to be 20, and a computer science major at Queen’s), but Isabel is all about bright blue. I have some of your Nordique in a peacock blue that’s waiting to be turned into something. Isabel is really into Japanese anime and I’m guessing your daughter is too. Looks like a stunning design! Can’t wait to learn about the technical details of the the collar. And yes, I can remember my grandfather’s Mary Maxim curling jacket.

  • Ooh, that is going to be gorgeous!! Your sketch is stunning, and the colours are going to be great.

  • meppybn

    Back to your original statement! it’s a jacket if it can be worn over (a sweater) ? A great colour combo too 🙂

  • mamayaga

    It will be GORGEOUS!!! Can’t wait to see it.
    P.S. Love your designs. Right now I’m knitting the Travel shawl.

  • Love to see this come to life … as well as that old Mary Maxim flyer!

  • I love following your design process, especially your sketches. I’m inspired, and I always learn something from you. Thanks!