Steeped in history, this traditional knit is from the Aran Islands in Ireland. Its classic design has withstood the test of time to remain a familiar style in modern times despite its practical use by working men on the islands.

The Aran Knit is said to have originated from the Aran Islands off the West coast of Ireland hundreds of years ago. With the only source of income coming from farming or fishing, it was important to the island's inhabitants that protective clothing was readily available to those who required it.

It was traditionally the female inhabitantsof the islands that knitted garments for the working males of the family. The designs knitted by the ladies would be specific to each family, and according to local myth, this helped the community identify any fisherman who was unfortunately lost at sea. The design of the garment ensures that it is able to hold 30% of its weight in moisture, keeping the wearer dry. It is for this reason that the fishermen of the island donned the garment when working out at sea. 

An Aran knit sweater was traditionally coloured in a light beige or off cream shade due to the natural colour of the sheep's wool. Now, with modern dying processes, the designs are available in a spectrum of colours. The design of these sweaters is as popular now amongst modern society as it was many years ago when it was used for a specific purpose and it remains a timeless classic, with handmade styles being popular vintage items. 

Its classic design has withstood the test of time to remain a common style 


We work with Aran Woollen Mills to supply our range of natural fibre Aran knit garments. The company was founded in 1965 and has been family owned and managed from the beginning. 

They aim to combine the traditional styles of the Aran Islands with a modern contemporary feel that gives their garments a timeless feel. Supplying a range of men's, ladies, children's and home pieces, the brand has created an expansive collection of high-quality textiles that are perfect for those looking for fashion that lasts. 

sheep walking between trees on Ireland's Aran Islands

 

STITCH TYPES

Traditionally used by the wives and daughters of working men, a variety of stitch styles has developed over the garment's long history. Various designs of knitting mean different things to those who craft them. These meanings range from the deeply religious to simple reflections of the daily life of a fisherman. 
 

Basket stitch 

Aran Knit Basket Stitch

This is representative of a fisherman's basket, said to represent the hope of adbundant catches by the workers.
 

Cable Stitch

Aran Knit Cable Stitch

One of the most common designs on Aran Sweaters, the cable stitch is to bring safety and luck to those fishing and represents the fisherman's rope. 
 

Diamond Stitch

Aran Knit Diamond Stitch
This design is said to mirror the mesh on a fishing net and is said to symbolise wealth, success and treasure.
 

Hugs & Kisses

Aran Knit Hugs and Kisses

Said to represent the warm welcome that awaits a fisherman returning home after being out at sea for any length of time. 
 

Honeycomb

Aran Knit Honeycomb Stitch

A reminder of how hardworking the honey bee is and meant to promise a reward for thos doing honest work.
 

Trellis

Aran Knit Trellis Stitch

Has been attributed to the stone-walled fields upon the Aran Islands. These stones offer a safeguard against strong winds that batter the island, the symbol is to bring strength to fishermen out at sea.
 

Double Zig Zag

Aran Knit Double Zig Zag Stitch

Acclaimed to be marriage lines, this design is said to represent all of life's ups and downs that contribute to a life well lived. 
 

Plaited Braid

Aran Knit Plaited Braid Stitch

This simplistic design represents the various threads of life and how they knit together.


You can shop our range of Aran knitwear online here.