So this week I’m turning my attention to the craft of Aran stitches and the stories behind them. I’ve chosen my top Aran picks from The Irish Store which showcase these classic stitches in stunning detail.
The Aran sweater has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the latter part of the 19th century. It takes its name from the trio of islands off the coast of County Galway. The original Aran sweaters were originally made from untreated wool, rich in lanolin. Breathable and waterproof, they provided much-needed protection for the island fisherman as they braved the wild Atlantic ocean. The first commercial Aran knitting patterns began to appear in the 1940s. Aran sweater exports began in the 1950s and when Grace Kelly appeared in an Aran sweater on the cover of Vogue, this humble Irish sweater was on its way to becoming an Irish design classic.
Today, the Aran sweater is considered to be a must-have staple for any discerning wardrobe. Last year it took its rightful place alongside such fashion icons as the little black dress and Levi jeans in the “Is Fashion Modern” exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
So back to the stitches! Here are 5 classic stitch patterns beautifully crafted in 5 key pieces from The Irish Store Collection.
Classic Aran Stitches
According to Aran islander folklore, the honeycomb stitch pays tribute to the hard-working honeybee and is said to bring good fortune to the wearer.
In our Traditional Aran Sweater, the honeycomb stitch takes centre stage in the main body. Soft merino yarn gives a luxurious feel. This is the quintessential Aran sweater and we and have versions for both him and her. Choose from no less than eight stunning colours including classic cream and rich moss green (pictured).
2. The Cable Stitch
So next on the list is the classic cable stitch. The cable stitch is undoubtedly the signature stitch on nearly all Aran knitwear. The cable stitch represents the Aran islander fisherman’s ropes.
The Ardara Cable sweater shares its name with one of Donegal‘s most breathtaking beaches on the Atlantic coast. The design is a celebration of the classic cable stitch. A slight flare creates a flattering line at the hips. Furthermore, there’s a choice of gorgeous colours in soft merino wool; classic cream, toasted oatmeal or meadow green.
3. The Diamond Stitch
The diamond stitch is a depiction of the Aran fishermen’s nets. Knitters believed the inclusion of this stitch in a sweater would ensure a plentiful catch at sea.
In our best-selling Mens Shawl Collar cardigan, the diamond pattern is filled with moss stitch, another favourite of the traditional Aran stitches. This is a representation of the Carrageen Moss seaweed. This all-important fertiliser for the crops was collected by the Island dwellers from the shores of the Atlantic. The stylish shawl collar gives this stunning men’s cardigan an unmistakably modern look.
4. The Zig Zag Stitch.
Unlike the classic honeycomb, cable and diamond, the zig-zag stitch is one of the less commonly used Aran stitches. The story of this stitch is that it symbolises the twisting Aran Island cliff paths which lead down to the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
Our Soft-touch Aran cardigan displays the zig-zag stitch in gorgeous detail on either side of the zip. The relaxed fold down collar, 2 snug side pockets and a zipper fastening will keep you stylish and cosy whatever the weather.
5. The Basket Stitch
Our final stitch is the basket stitch and here it is beautifully recreated in our Aran Boyfriend Cardigan. The basket stitch is said to be a symbol of the fisherman’s baskets and hopes of a plentiful catch.
Our classic boyfriend design combines expert craftsmanship with a super comfy oversized length, a deep v-neck and traditional brown football buttons. Choose classic cream (above) or army green (below).
Right now is the perfect time to shop at The Irish Store with savings of up to 40% on some of my top picks. Continue shopping fisherman sweaters and grab yourself a bargain today before they’re all gone!
See you next week,
Thanks for dropping by!
Slán go fóill!