The Aran Sweater was first created on the Aran Islands where fishermen and farmers battled harsh living and weather conditions. Aran hand knitting patterns symbolised the daily life of these islanders and the stitches created by them were passed down from generation to generation. Over the years these stitches have evolved into unique and highly recognisable patterns, each aran pattern telling a story.
The hand knit Aran sweaters available at Blarney Woollen Mills today may have been commonly found in homes throughout Ireland, in particular County Donegal. These Irish wool sweaters have been designed exclusively for us using traditional stitches such as the blackberry, cable and diamond stitches. As the wool used in hand knit garments is generally heavier, the patterns are more well defined than machine knit sweaters. The 100% wool used to knit these sweaters also originates in Donegal.
Each hand knit sweater is completely unique, something that is not easy to find these days. It requires on average more than 40 hours of knitting to complete each sweater and as this is a craft mainly carried out by women in their homes when they are sitting down in the evenings, this means that it could take up to 6 weeks to knit just one sweater! Each sweater is truly a labour of love for their craft.
Each craftsperson also has her own style of hand knitting so even following the same pattern there will be some small differences between each garment which adds to the uniqueness of the sweater. They are, without a doubt, one of a kind.
Each of our knitters has signed their work as they take great pride in their craft; this is evident in the finished sweater.