For hundreds of years, women in the rural villages of the Aran Islands off the western coast of Ireland have knit natural wool sweaters for their fisherman kin. Although the myth that you can identify island families by the stiches in their sweaterlike a Scottish tartanisn't true, every knitter does have her own special patterns, passed down through generations of mothers and grandmothers. At weekly gatherings, they continually invented intricate new stitches.
Each stitch in this generously sized, traditional Aran sweater represents a facet of fishing culture: the honeycomb stitch for hard work, the cable stitch for safety on the waters, and the basket weave as a wish for a plentiful catch.
100% merino wool. Made in Ireland. Women’s sizes S (4–6), M (8–10), L (12–14), XL (16–18), XXL (20).
Hand-wash or dry clean.
The thick-knit, cream-colored sweater that we often associate with fishermen has its origins on the Aran Islands at the mouth of Galway Bay in western Ireland. Enterprising women on the islands began knitting the sweaters in the early 1900s, using untreated, lanolin-rich wool. The goal was not only to provide a heavy and water-resistant garment to keep their families warm in Galway Bay's rough weather, but also to supplement the island's fishing economy by making a craft that could be sold year-round and utilized traditional skills and patterns. Journalist and Irish culture activist Pádraig Augustine Ó Síocháin helped make the Aran sweaters especially popular in the mid-20th century by organizing the export of hand-knit sweaters to other countries.
There is a myth that families each have their own patterns of stitches, and that a drowned fisherman could be recognized by the designs on his sweater, much like a Scottish clan tartan. While it's true that certain stitches have come to take on symbolic meanings, the diversity of patterns is more accurately attributed to the creative group of artisans who started making the sweaters. Always eager to show off new ideas, creative knitters developed new patterns and taught them to their friends, who added their own twists and passed the pattern along again.
Today, folks on the islands and visitors from around the world often choose sweaters based on the symbolism that the different intricate stitches have taken on. Just some of the patterns found include:
Cable stitches represent fishing ropes and therefore the tools of a hard worker and safety on the water.
Braided cable stitches evoke the strength of close family ties.
Moss stitches represent abundance in nature.
Diamond stitches mimic the shape of fishing nets mesh, the key to success on the Arans.
Basket stitch represents a plentiful catch.
Honeycomb stitches represent the hard work of the honeybee and the rewards of an industrious life.
Trinity stitches are traditional Celtic motifs and signify cultural pride.
Comments about Women's Irish Aran Turtleneck Sweater:
My first response was that I thought this was an attractive sweater and I couldn't wait to try it on. What I found was that the neck was a little snug...but this may have only felt that way because of the wool. This wool made my skin begin to itch on contact. I wear wool on a regular basis next to my skin, being a Maine resident. I was very dissapointed to have to send this sweater back. It was a costly mistake.....
Feels true to size
Feels true to length
Feels true to length
Was this a gift?:
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend