Thursday, 7 February 2013

Curling Sweaters - Spring 2013

The seasonal exhibit up now at the Kimberley Heritage Museum is all about curling sweaters, bonspiels, and curlers. Most curlers had hand-made sweaters crafted by themselves or other local knitters to wear during weekly club play. The heavy knit 'Cowichan Sweaters' are a trademark style developed in the 1860s by the Cowichan people of SE Vancouver Island. First done in solid colours, patterns were added in the 1890s:

Example of traditional motif - Cowichan Sweater - (M. Stang, donator)

By the 1940s, knitting pattern and yarn companies such as Mary Maxim were offering patterns for the so-called Curling Sweater as well as other themed patterns:

Mary Maxim graph-style knitting pattern - "Bonspiel Days" - for Men

Nordic Sportsman's youth's and ladies curling sweater pattern

Before long, commercial manufacturers such as White Ram of Calgary, AB and Indian Art Knitting were selling their versions of the sweater in finer wool: 

Fireman's League championship sweater: Seagrams Stone National Curling Championship 1972 - S. Jereb donor

The machine-made types of sweaters were mostly worn during tournaments when they first came out.

Bonspiels always had a lot of socializing off the rink. Below is the type of outfit worn to a more formal dinner associated with a bonspiel.

Late '50s ladies suit

Bonspiel Programme from February 1939

Up now and until about the end of April, 2013, be sure to come in and see our collection of curling memorabilia and curling sweaters, most of which were donated by Ina Hansen and Mae Shaw (see National Curling Champs 50th Anniversary blogpost)

Dianne Cooper, volunteer

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    To celebrate our curling club's 175th anniversary my curling team decided to knit curling sweaters. I've been looking for patterns and really like the Nordic Sportsman Ladies' sweater in this post. Would yo happen to know where I might be able to find a copy of this pattern or some more details?
    Thank you!


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