Winter design classics – Mary Maxim sweaters


With snow a cert for the Christmas period and chunky knits a hot high street trend, what better time to celebrate a classic design of the fashion world, the Mary Maxim sweater?

In the early 1950s, the Ontario-based Mary Maxim company — which is still owned by the McPhedrain family — launched the first easy-to-follow, graph-style knitting charts. The company’s multifarious ‘picture knit’ patterns for what are generally known as ‘Cowichan sweaters’ enabled even the most arthritic granny to fashion an ultra-warm and stylish gift for their loved ones. And, zounds, what designs! From bowlers and snow plows, to bison and totem poles, curling irons and golfers, square dancers and steam trains, seemingly endless variations of the patterns were produced…

Fast-forward half a century and vintage sweaters depicting the more sought-after Mary Maxim designs are steadily increasing in price among fashionistas, have provided inspiration for a slew of fashion brands and, most importantly, are still keeping a whole load of folks around the globe nice and warm in the frostiest of conditions.

So when it comes to Winter knitwear, don’t be a dope, kick it like Bob Hope!

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2 Responses

  1. Great pictures, where did you get the patterns, I am looking for them for my mother.

    • Hi Karen, I believe that individual sellers offer a variety of Mary Maxim paper patterns on Ebay so I’d suggest looking there! Happy hunting! Best wishes, Joss

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