History of the Irish Aran Sweater

The ancient Aran sweater is immediately identifiable with Ireland's fishing industry. These off-white wool sweaters have been worn for centuries to stave off the bitter winds and cold water's of Ireland. The sweaters have a unique cultural identity, as well. Each pattern of stitching is created by hand and represents a different Irish clan. If you know how to read the stitches, you can determine the home town and close family of a man just by looking at how his sweater is constructed. Hand-kni http://www.shamrockgift.comtraditional-irish-clothing-aransAran sweaters have become a rare and expensive item as machinery has taken over much of the sweater production in Ireland.The Traditional Construction Each pattern that is stitched into the Aran sweater carries a specific meaning. Many of the stitches reflect common themes that can be found in many forms of Celtic art.

The cable pattern, for example, represents the fishing
ropes and a hope for an abundant day of fishing. A diamond stitching pattern filled with moss stitches represents the fertility of the Irish fields. One of the earliest Aran stitches represented the Tree of Life, which was a visible reminder of the deep ties of family through the strength of the young and the old.How the Stitches Define The Wearer's Identity. Different collections of the intricate patterns came to be recognized as belonging to one clan or another. The tradition of combining elements into clan patterns is still practiced today. You can purchase clan Aran sweaters through the internet or from http://www.shamrockgift.com specialty shops in Ireland. Each sweater has an identifying label to let you know which clan it represents. The most highly sought after sweaters are the ones that are hand crafted by skilled knitters who create individual designs within the traditional clan sweater Practical Qualities of an Aran Sweater The traditional Aran sweater was ideal for the harsh climate that Irish fishermen had to deal with on a daily basis. The wool is completely waterproof, light, and very warm. The sweater can absorb a great deal of water before it is wet to the touch. The amount of air that is contained in the wool acts as an insulator to keep the wearer warm in extreme cold and cool in extreme heat. The wool also acts as a wick that pulls moisture away from the skin of the person who is wearing it, which acts as another way to keep the wearer from becoming chilled.


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