Cowichan Tribes knitters have a couple of busy months ahead of them now that they have been offered a licensing deal to sell their original designs during the 2010 Olympic Games.

“It’s an acknowledge­ment that (the Hudson’s Bay Company) missed an opportunity,” said Cowichan Tribes general manager Ernie Elliot. “It’s something positive for us.”

The sweaters will be sold in the First Nations Pavilion and at HBC’s flagship store in downtown Vancouver. HBC wants the first shipment of sweaters to hit stores Dec. 1, Elliot said.

The Cowichan Tribes are also in talks to get their artwork licensed, he said.

VANOC and HBC sparked controversy earlier this month when they unveiled Team Canada’s Olympic uniform, which includes a Cowichan-style knit sweater sourced from Eastern Canada.

The Cowichan Tribes called the uniform sweater a copy of their traditional designs, and took issue with the fact that they were not asked to manufacture the sweaters themselves.

Elliot said HBC’s sweaters pale in comparison to authentic Cowichan sweaters, which are often crafted from an individual knitter’s generations-old, original pattern.

“The (HBC) sweater is knit in panels, ours are done in one piece,” he said, adding that a Cowichan sweater is typically tailor-made.