Two Book Reviews on Historical Knitting: Cowichan Sweaters and Estonian Knitting

We know PieceWork readers adore historical knitting, and that is why we include the topic in each and every issue. These two reviews appeared in the November/December 2011 and January/February 2013 issues of PieceWork, respectively. To find out more about Cowichan sweaters and Estonian knitting, read on!

historical knitting

Working with Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy & the Cowichan Sweater
By Sylvia Olsen
Winlaw, British Columbia, Canada: Sono Nis Press, 2010. Hardbound, $38.95, 328 pages. ISBN 978-1-55039-177-0.

“Cowichan sweaters . . . are a lot like the Coast Salish women who knit them: hardy, practical, and enduringly beautiful. . . .” This sentence from the author’s introduction sums up the unique tradition that is Cowichan sweaters. This richly illustrated book with its archival black-and-white photographs provides the context for the tradition and its makers. Beginning with the centuries-old tradition of weaving woolen blankets from homespun to the origin of the Cowichan sweater, this is a story worth knowing. A portion of the sales from the book will be donated to Coast Salish programs that promote wool working.
—Maitlan Swift

historical knitting

Ornamented Journey
By Kristi Jõeste and Kristiina Ehin
English ed. Türi, Estonia: Saara Publishing House, 2012. Hardcover, 120 pages, $45. ISBN 978-9949-9181-7-1.

This is not a project book, although it contains general instructions for knitting color-patterned gloves supplemented by crisp detail color photographs and black-and-white illustrations and charts. Nor is it a museum catalog, although it depicts examples of traditional Estonian knitwear in the textile collection of the Estonian National Museum. It is an unusual collaboration between the Estonian artist-knitter
Kristi Jõeste and her childhood friend the Estonian author Kristiina Ehin, a moving tribute to the long tradition of knitting gloves in Estonia and to the knitters who made them. Kristi’s beautifully knitted gloves and wrist warmers inspired by traditional gloves and embroidery patterns illustrate Kristiina’s five short stories about Estonian knitters. Inspiration galore, compelling stories, and solid technique await you in this different but masterful book.
—Maitlan Swift

Read another great book review on historical knitting in our blog post “A Book Review for Knitters Who Love Traditional Knitting Patterns: Twisted-Stitch Knitting.”

Dive into these issues on historical knitting from PieceWork!


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