History of the Aran Sweater

Comfortable, cosy, luxurious, warm, woollen, knitted, patterned, intricate, authentic, stylish, designer and textured are but a few words that can be used to describe an Irish Aran sweater but what is an Aran sweater? It is a style of sweater, also known as a fisherman’s sweater, which originated in the Aran Islands in Connemara, off the west coast of Ireland. These sweaters were traditionally knit in the natural colour of sheep’s wool, an off-white or cream colour. The natural sheep's wool retained their oils making these sweaters waterproof and perfect for the Irish weather. Originally these sweaters were knit by mothers and wives for the islander men who worked as farmers and fishermen but they have since become a fashion statement and a global symbol of Irishness.
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In the 1950’s, an edition of Vogue Magazine created interest in the sweater and this led to a global demand for the fashionable Aran sweater. From the 1950’s until now, you can find many photos of iconic men and women wearing the Aran Sweater, from Pablo Picasso to Grace Kelly to Steve McQueen to Alexa Chung. The Aran sweaters were knit using various textured patterns full of symbolism and individual families on Aran had unique patterns of their own 


Cable Stitch Square

The cable stitch, which is found in most Aran sweaters, was originally used to represent a fisherman’s ropes, and wearing one would better qualify you to have a fruitful day out at sea.

Cable Stitch

Diamond Stitch square

The diamond stitch represents and reflects the small fields on the islands (which were laboured upon by the many farmers that inhabited there). This stitch is used in hopes of good luck, success and wealth in the fields of the Aran Islands.

Diamond Stitch

Zig Zag Stitch square

The zig zag stitch represents the ups and downs of marriage as well as the twisting cliff paths that are on the islands.

Zig Zag Stitch

Honeycomb Stitch square

The honeycomb stitch represents hard work and its sweet rewards. It symbolises the hard work of the honeybee.

Honeycomb Stitch

Trellis Stitch (2) square

The trellis stitch represents the stone-walled fields of the North-western farming communities.

Trellis Stitch

Tree of Life Stitch Square

The Tree of Life stitch represents the importance of the clan, clan unity, strong parents and healthy children. Overall, its design is in hopes of strong and long-lasting family lines.

Tree of Life Stitch

Blackberry Stitch Square

The emblem of God given life and being. A way of life and a fruitful one.

Blackberry Stitch