You had to sleep in it and fall in love in it.
Fake Cowichan sweaters you could spot a mile away because they were thin and stringy, they unravelled easily and the pattern was 1-D. No thunderbirds or bison. The real ones were three inches thick. They took five years to break in. If you started in grade 8, they’d be comfortable by grade 12. To break one in took parties and hockey games and camping and cigarette burns. It needed to have jumped railway tracks. It needed to have gone through a few roadblocks. It had to have gone to parties at Wreck Beach where the cops arrived by hovercraft. It had to have been seen. It would have been to the Yale, the Rover and St. Paul’s Emergency. It would have been to Empire Stadium, to the PNE, and hung upside down on the Zipper. (Oh yeah, no pullovers.) It had to have been on buses on Christmas Eve, never mind New Year’s. You had to have used it as a hat, a mat, a rag and a pillow. It had to have been used to clean up beer, or worse. You had to have slept in it. You had to have fallen in love in it, said goodbye to someone in a bus station in it. Then it would soften. Become part of you. You became it. Like the thunderbird on the back. 3-D.
Read "Melon Balls in Space," the companion piece of "Cowichan Sweater."