At the holidays, I often write about my Swedish heritage. That comes from my Dad's side of the family.
There's another side, of course. . .
My Mom is from Canada, and more specifically, from the Calgary area in Alberta. She grew up in the small town of Innisfail, located in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. (Such a beautiful place!) My Mom grew up skating and curling and tobogganing. One summer during her high school years, she met a visiting "Yank," and, ultimately, let him convince her to come to "the States" to marry him.*
When my Mom and Dad (the "Yank") got married, one of her cousins (a couple of times "removed" . . . we think) knit them what I've always called their "Canada sweaters" as a wedding present. They didn't wear them all that much as I was growing up (the sweaters were rather . . . distinct . . . for 1960s northern Illinois. . .), but I do remember my Mom wearing hers whenever we went ice skating.
The photos in this post are me . . . wearing my Mom's "Canada sweater." Very traditional. Very warm. And hand knit by a cousin, distantly "removed."
This type of sweater is known by several names -- Canadian heritage sweater, curling sweater, Cowichan sweater. The roots go back to the Cowichan tribe in British Columbia, although there is a specific design and color palette for true Cowichan sweaters. Although you can find "Canada sweaters" with all kinds of motifs, the most common include eagles, fish, deer (like my Mom's), totem, or winter sports (curling, hockey). Probably the most famous "Cowichan" sweater is the one worn by the Dude in The Big Lebowski (although that one, technically, was a Pendleton). There are kits and patterns to make these sweaters today, and there is quite a market for vintage Cowichan sweaters (as a quick look at eBay will show).
As for me, I'm thrilled to have this piece of my Canadian heritage!
* And THAT is a story for another day!