Siwash Sweaters at the Lake

Siwash or Cowichan sweaters were a staple wardrobe item for shacktenters and early visitors to PANP. The Cowichan band north of Victoria, British Columbia harvested the water resistant wool and designed and knitted the sweaters. Each design was unique. These warm and waterproof sweaters were perfectly suited to the cold, windy, rainy days or cool evenings, which were interspersed amongst the sunny, warm beach days for which Waskesiu was known. The sweaters were so long wearing they were passed down through families. Many families had a “resident” Siwash sweater that hung in the cabin ready for anyone one to help themselves to for a quick run out to the community toilet building, to wear on a cool early morning fishing trip, or to bundle up in after a chilly swimming lesson on a windy, wavy day in Lake Waskesiu. At one time, Siwash sweaters were sold from several different retail outlets in Waskesiu for fifteen to twenty-five dollars. In time, many Saskatchewan knitters created prairie versions of these popular, long wearing sweaters which were handed down from the oldest to the youngest child of the family.

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