Every Woolen Irish Sweater Has Its Own Tale to Tell

irish model wearing flapper hatOnce you feel the soft heft and wonderful woolen texture of a real Irish sweater, you’ll understand why they are held in high esteem. They represent the authentic spirit and pride of Ireland and the Aran Islands with beautiful artistry. Their origin reflects this storied heritage, as well. According to Irish legend, Aran fisherman sweaters were first knit with special stitches that were unique to and represented each family. Indeed, these were secret stitches and they were guarded carefully—and passed down through the generations. These secret stitches weren’t treasured for their uniqueness alone. Since the first Aran sweaters were knit for fisherman, these family stitches could be used to identify a fisherman who unfortunately succumbed to a storm or disaster at sea.

irish coastline

Gifts from the Emerald Isle

On a lighter note, the timeless beauty of Irish wool sweaters eventually captured the eyes of the world. Soon even Vogue offered a pattern for this iconic sweater. Hand-knit sweaters from Ireland became the ultimate souvenir when returning from a trip to the Emerald Isle. These handmade sweaters also became an integral part of Ireland’s economy. Women (and some men too!) knit furiously to keep up with demand. It takes about six weeks to make one wool sweater and one wool sweater requires about 100,000 stitches!

irish sweater knitting pattern

Since Irish sweaters were originally made with the harsh conditions faced by Irish fisherman in mind, they are known for being warm, water repellent, and breathable. Combine this functionality with the beauty of Aran stitches and you have a sweater that appeals to every man, woman, and child. Today there are about nine commonly used stitches, each one with their own special meaning.

The Heartfelt Meaning

  • Fisherman’s cable stitch symbolizes safety and good luck
  • Diamond stitch symbolizes wealth
  • Tree of Life stitch symbolizes family
  • Ladder of Life stitch symbolizes health
  • Honeycomb stitch symbolizes a just reward for hard work
  • Trellis stitch symbolizes success
  • Zig Zag stitch symbolizes love
  • Irish Moss stitch symbolizes nature
  • Trinity stitch symbolizes God

aran stitches

We offer a growing collection of authentic Irish sweaters, including women’s cable-knit sweaters and men’s cardigan sweaters. Ours are knit in Ireland and each one tells its own story through its classic style, premium Merino wool, and, of course, its unique stitches. Each one is a testimony to the skilled Irish knitters and designers. Once you have one in your hands it will capture your heart and become a treasured part of your wardrobe for years to come.