Cowichan sweaters are also bulky by definition because the yarn used to create them is so thick and dense. That's what makes these sweaters so warm. A Cowichan sweater is about all you need to withstand the mild winters where I grew up.
Lately I've been nostalgiac for a Cowichan sweater. There's something very ugly-yet-pretty about a nice Cowichan sweater that says "Screw it, I'm going to be warm. Too bad for you if you can't see my boobs." But, of course, living in New York City and being on a there's-still-a-recession-going-on budget, there's no way for me to find my own used Cowichan. I could knit my own, but (as earlier noted) that would take me until 2012. A quick scan on eBay turns up a few nice examples of authentic Cowichan sweaters — not cheap — and a whole bunch of factory-produced Cowichan-style sweaters that sellers also refer to as "Lebowski sweaters."
Lucky for me, I have great friends. And lovely Sarah found me the above sweater at a thrift store in Victoria. It wasn't super cheap but a steal compared to buying one new, or investing the time to make my own. Many Cowichan sweaters are cardigan-style, with a zipper closure in the front. After trying on this one, I remembered why: they're so hot! And you need to be able to open up the front so you don't die of heat stroke. Coupled with some inspiration from this great blog Grosgrain, whose author teaches how to turn a regular sweater into a cardigan, I decided to have a little faith in my abilities and turn my Cowichan into a cardigan so I could get on with wearing it already.
It wasn't easy, and all the while I was chanting in my head "measure twice, cut once" — the mantra of carpenters and anyone slicing into something that could entirely unravel with one false move. All I used to make the transformation was some double-fold bias tape and a bunch of buttons. I decided against putting in a zipper because I didn't think my sewing machine could handle it. The sweater is really thick and I had to really ram it through to get the feed to work.
I also took in the sides somewhat to get a less boxy fit. I'm hoping to buy a real camera soon to improve upon the photos I post here (and portraits of my daughter). Law & Order SVU scouted our apartment this week for a shoot later this month and I'm hoping to convince my husband to invest our compensation in a quality camera. More sweater: