This photo of eight upstanding young curlers - all members of Carmunnock and Rutherglen CC - comes from the late 1960s, and was taken in the annex of the Crossmyloof rink. It is in the club's archives! By whom it was taken, I don't know, nor do I remember the occasion. Their names are:
Back L-R: Bill Horton, Graeme Adam, John Brown and Michael Burton.
Front: David Horton, Bob Cowan, Martin Bryden and Robin Gemmell.
Look at what three of us in the front row are wearing. These are hand knitted, shawl-collared curling sweaters, often referred to as Cowichan sweaters. The name comes from the Cowichan people of southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, who pioneered these distinctively patterned, heavy-knit sweaters. They are also called Mary Maxim sweaters, or simply 'curling sweaters', whether or not the design is a curling one.
My mother had knitted me such a sweater - in fact it's the one Martin Bryden is wearing in the photo - when I had begun curling at school. I was very proud of it, although I probably did not appreciate at the time the effort which had gone in to making it. The sweater still exists, although it has shrunk considerably over the years. Or perhaps there is another reason it no longer fits!
I suspect that it was finding an extract from a knitting pattern in my Higher English paper back in 1964 that affected me in such a way, that with my introduction to eBay some ten years ago, I started to collect knitting patterns for curling jumpers.
In the midst of the Loudmouth revolution, it is interesting to look back at curling fashion on the ice in the 1960s, and see the social history that can be gleaned from the simple knitting pattern. Here are just a few from the 'national collection'.
It is this garment which has been recreated recently by Jenny Stark, see here.
This one shows a price of 25c, but I also have a version with a dual price of 25c and 6d, with 'Printed in England' on the back cover. Presumably by the early 1960s the patterns were more available in the UK. Indeed, by then Miss Mary Maxim had a presence in Leicester, England.
And no, my mother did not knit me the Tam-O-Shanter!
Dominion Woollens and Worsteds Ltd of Ontario also published 'Bouquet' patterns for 'Polar Sweater Curling Design'.
Although the 1960s were the heyday of the hand knitted sweaters, this pattern was not produced by Patons and Baldwins Inc until 1984.
There are patterns for other types of curling jumper. But a description of these is for another time!
Curling history enthusiasts David B Smith and Bob Cowan are both sporting modern recreations of two of the patterns. Hazel Smith was the photographer.