We are proud to stock a wonderful selection of handmade Aran jumpers and sweaters for women at Old Byre Showroom. We adore these items as so much care has gone into making each one, and we can relate to the islanders of Aran from where this statement style originated.
Origins of the Aran Jumper
Today Aran jumpers are famed the world over and happen to boast a very interesting history. The Aran knitwear style takes its name from the Aran Islands which are situated in Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland. The jumpers were originally hand knitted from untreated wool which produced a rather stiff garment. Many believe that the sweaters started life as fisherman's jumpers but the truth is that they were probably a little too rigid for life at sea. It is more likely that they were knitted by wives for their husbands and children to wear from day to day, as the untreated, unscoured wool was highly water repellent and therefore could stand up to temperamental island weather.
You will notice that our women's Aran jumpers and sweaters feature distinctive patterns that have become instantly recognisable as 'Aran'. The distinctive cable patterns which run vertically down the jumpers have a curious history of their own. These complex patterns are actually said to carry great significance, with each element of them relating to Celtic art, island life and religious beliefs in some way. Many of the exact meanings of the Aran patterns have remained obscure as they were kept secret by the clans who created them and only passed them down through their families.
We do know a little about the patterns though. Cable patterns are thought to represent fishermen's ropes and this could be why we now associate the garments with the fishermen of the Aran Islands. The diamond patterns depict the fields on the islands whilst the Irish moss stitch represents seaweed which was used to fertilise the land. The zig zag designs are the said to represent the paths that lead down from the cliffs to the sea and tree of life patterns are associated with the wish for long life.
Aran style jumpers are now often produced by machine but we have available very special handknitted jumpers and sweaters featuring the traditional patterns that make them instantly recognisable. We are delighted to showcase women's handknitted Aran jumpers here at the Old Byre Showroom. The jumpers and sweaters are available in both ecru and grey and in a variety of sizes. The Aran style is one which is now treasured across the world and there is nothing quite like the quality of a handknitted example of this iconic garment.