Scottish Hand-Knit Aran Specialists

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ARAN WOOL

Although now a fashionable outfit for all members of the family, Aran wear is nearly as old as the hills and was, for many centuries, worn only by the people of the Aran islands off the west coast of Connemara. The inhabitants of this windswept island lived by farming and fishing and warm clothing was a necessity so thick jerseys were made from home-spun wool from their own sheep. 

Each family designed their own stitches and patterns until eventually the families were known by these individual designs.

  • Cable stitches are a dominant feature of Aran wear representing the fisherman's rope, the livelihood of the people of Aran.

  • The Diamond pattern denotes prosperity and when combined with the cable conveys the wish for success in one's life's work. 

  • Honeycomb, suggesting the bee, has come to mean the just reward for hard work.

  • The Zig Zag represents the twisting pathways found in Aran; it is colloquially referred to as the "marriage lines" because it suggests the ups and downs of marriage.

  • The Trellis pattern, worked in very small diamonds, was originated to portray the small fields fenced in by low walls. 

  • The Ladder (two ribs joined by horizontal lines) represents man's earthly
    struggle to reach eternal happiness. 

  • The Moss stitch denotes wealth, because it portrays the edible sea weed known as Irish moss - which even today is regarded as a luxury.

  • Finally, there is the link or chain stitch, which signifies the bond between those families and Irish communities that have emigrated and settled in foreign parts.

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