Story: Aran Sweaters FAQ

The Aran Sweater. Your Top 10 Questions Answered
Here at The Irish Store, we receive many queries about our favorite subject - The Aran Sweater! Here’s your top 10. Read on to find out more about one of Ireland’s most famous exports!
1. What Are Aran Sweaters?

Aran Sweaters take their name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland and began life as a fisherman’s sweater. The first Aran sweaters were made from untreated sheep’s wool which made them water resistant. They feature columns of intricate stitch patterns, rich in symbolism and local folklore.

2. What Are Aran Sweaters Made Of?

The earliest Aran sweaters were crafted from unwashed báinín ("bain" meaning "white" in Irish) – a yarn spun from sheep’s wool. This untreated yarn retained its natural lanolin, rendering the sweaters waterproof. Today the majority of sweaters are made from merino wool which is soft, breathable, durable and a pleasure to wear.

3. Are Aran Sweaters Itchy?

We are delighted to say that our 100% merino wool Aran Sweaters are not itchy. The reason for this is that the fibres of merino wool are finer and smaller in size than other types of wool. This allows them to bend more than the traditional, rougher wool fibres. This increased flexibility allows the wool to move with your body more naturally and remove any itchiness.

4. Are Aran Sweaters Handmade?

Some are and at The Irish Store, we carry a stunning selection of hand knits by some of the finest knitters in the country continuing an age-old craft that has been passed down through the generations. However, due to the huge demand for the Aran Sweater worldwide, the majority of styles are machine knitted with high quality merino wool and traditional Aran stitch patterns which also makes them more affordable.

5. Are Aran Sweaters Warm?

The answer to this is a resounding yes! The wonderful thing about merino wool is that being a breathable natural fibre, it regulates body temperature and keeps you super warm and cozy on chilly days and is a versatile option whatever the weather.

6. Are Aran Sweaters Good Quality?

Yes! At The Irish Store we work with only the best Irish suppliers to bring you a stunning selection of the finest quality Aran knitwear featuring beautifully crafted Aran stitch designs in easy to wear merino yarns.

7. Are Aran Sweaters Irish Or Scottish?

Aran sweaters are most definitely Irish as they originated on the trio of Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, not to be confused with the equally beautiful Arran Island off the west coast of Scotland. Of course, many of our Celtic cousins in Scotland are big fans of the Aran sweater!

8. Are Irish Sweaters In Style?

I think we can safely say that Aran sweaters are always in style! What began as a humble fisherman’s sweater has now become an iconic wardrobe staple. Indeed, variations of the Aran sweater are a constant presence on international catwalks and traditional Aran knitting is lauded and celebrated by many prominent fashion designers.

9. Are Aran Sweaters Expensive?

Hand-knit Aran sweaters are considerably more expensive due to the skill and time involved to create a sweater. An Aran sweater is a true work of art containing approximately 100,000 painstakingly constructed stitches. Machine knit Arans are a much more affordable option and usually cost less than half the price of a hand-knit. Of course, at The Irish Store we are constantly striving to bring you the best deals on the finest quality Irish sweaters so sign to up our mailing list today and never miss any of our special offers!

10. Do Aran Sweaters Run Big?

This all depends on the individual and whether you prefer a snug fit or a more loose relaxed look. We recommend that you use our detailed size guides when choosing your sweater and check out our How to Care for Your Aran Sweater article to avoid shrinkage and keep your sweater looking its best.


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