In the early 1900s, enterprising women living on the Aran Islands took the sweaters they had knit for generations of fisherman kin and started marketing them around the world. Today the classic cable stitches of Aran knitters are a worldwide symbol of Irish culture. The wool blend features just enough cashmere to make this winter-white cardigan luxuriously soft to the touch.
Made in Ireland. 95% wool/5% cashmere.
Since they first appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, the textured wool sweaters of the Aran Islands have become “as tenacious an international symbol of Ireland as the harp and Shamrock,” writes historian Dierdre McQuillan. Women on these small, craggy islands in the mouth of Galway Bay had always made clothing by hand, but it wasn’t until the home crafts movement at the end of the 19th century that this practical skill blossomed into an iconic design known around the world. Then as now, the sale of handcrafts was encouraged as a way to continue local traditions and bring extra income into poor farming and fishing communities. Knitters from Donegal, the Channel Islands, and even emigrants returning from America traded techniques, and sweater patterns became more complicated as local women worked together to master new stitches.
National Geographic first commented on the sweaters in a 1931 article, referring to “the blue jersey of the fisherman.” Eventually white became the most popular color for Aran sweaters, and many children on the islands wore a design made just for them for their first holy communion. Early efforts at exporting sweaters through nearby Galway were a challenge until the craftswomen got the hang of standardized sizes rather than knitting for the way their family members were built.
Today, from tourist shops to fashion shows, one can find sweaters based on stitches that were invented by grandmothers and great-grandmothers only a couple of generations ago: cables, diamonds, blackberry stitch, crooked road, half-eights, bird’s eye, honeycomb, and many more. As they say on the islands, Go máire tú is go gcaithe thé;May you live and wear it well.
Comments about Irish Wool-cashmere Aran Cardigan Sweater:
Delivery was very good. Service rep was excellent. Was very disappointed about fit and color.Had ordered sweaters previously & they were slightly large-so ordered small this time and it was snug around the hips . I used the measurement guide and ordered according to the suggested size."The "winter white" sweater was more like a light beige or oatmeal & if the color had been correct, I would have kept it. It was a gift from my husband and he was disappointed also as we had been very happy with 2 previous sweater orders.
Was this a gift?:
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend