Irish Wool Sweater: A Detailed Guide About Irish Wool Sweaters

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Irish Wool Sweater

In the Aran Islands, the Irish wool sweater was a practical and valuable article of clothing due to its unique qualities. These qualities continue to benefit wearers even today. The sweaters are water-resistant, ideal for rainy weather or ocean waters. Aran sweaters can absorb about 30% of their weight in water before they begin to feel wet.

Yet the warmth it gives the wearer during cold days and nights at sea makes it so popular with anglers from the Aran Islands. Due to their natural wool composition, Irish wool sweaters provide natural insulation and help keep the body at an even temperature, preventing the wearer from getting either too hot or too cold.

Wool types used in Irish wool sweaters

Wool is the principal component of Aran sweaters, although the type of wool differs from sweater to sweater. Are you familiar with the types of wool? To help you understand the wool used in Aran sweaters, we will describe some of the best types of wool.

Fibers such as wool are found on the bodies of animals, such as sheep and goats. The hair grows back every time the animal’s coat is removed, and they continue to grow throughout their lifetime.

  • Irish Wool: This is wool obtained from an Irish sheep. This type of wool in Aran sweaters can be coarse, and some find it itchy to wear. The wool used in Aran Sweaters was unscoured and kept its natural oils, making the sweaters water-resistant and worn even in wet weather. 
  • Merino Wool: Merino wool is produced by Merino sheep in New Zealand, one of the world’s most challenging sheep breeds. Merino wool has many benefits that have made it the most popular yarn for Aran sweaters. Aran sweaters are great because they are built for extreme weather conditions; they are warm and insulating in the winter and are breathable in the summer, making them the perfect garment for any season! The softness and warmth of merino wool make it a popular choice for clothing. 
  • Wool and cashmere blends: We have seen an increase in customers who want the softness of cashmere at a fraction of the price. Therefore, we have launched our Aran Cable knit sweater range in soft Merino wool/ cashmere yarns. Our cashmere sweaters can only be compared to cashmere. Keeping warm and stylish at the same time, this Aran sweater will last a lifetime.

The Irish wool sweaters: 6 things you need to know

1. It is also called an Aran sweater

Irish wool sweaters, which are known throughout the world, originated in the archipelago of the Aran Islands, which lies off the coast of Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. A harsh, rainy, and windy climate defines this land of fishers and farmers.

2. The origin of the sweater is a sailor sweater

It is designed to protect anglers from cold and dampness during the long winter months. It was warm enough for them to go out to sea. Irish sweaters remain a popular accessory in cold weather partly because of their ability to keep warm. Each family on the Aran Islands wore a particular geometric pattern for their sweaters at the beginning of the 20th century. A sweater inspection can determine if the drowned belonged to a particular family if they died at sea.

3. Twists convey meaning

Each family possessed its motif as a shield, but each motif also has a meaning. Here are a few:

  • Honeycomb stitch, symbolizing the hard-working bee.
  • The Zigzag stitch is a symbolic representation of the winding tracks of Aran Island and the hurdles of married life.
  • Known as the fishermen’s lines and the symbol of luck, the Cable stitch, a braided stitch, is the most popular Aran pattern.                         
  • The Diamond stitch symbolizes fisherman’s nets and prosperity.      
  • A symbol of nature and fertility of the soil, the Irish moss stitch represents the moss growing on the Irish islands’ shores.   

4. Sheep’s wool is used for making it

Traditionally, Irish sweaters are made from pure virgin sheep wool and naturally ecru, with a round neck and tight mesh. It keeps a comfortable temperature while keeping you dry from the rain. A hand-knit sweater is an extraordinary work of art. There were more than 100,000 seams on each sweater, and knitting them took upwards of 60 days.

Wool from sheep is the most authentic wool and is one of the most popular wools globally. In addition to its natural resistance, wool has mighty thermal power. Wool offers excellent insulation against the cold. Up to 14 sweaters can be made from the wool of a sheep. It is always sheared in May. It is rolled into large coils and ready for use upon washing, brushing, and spinning the wool.

You can make Aran sweaters out of pure wool, merino wool, or a combination of both. To be called “pure virgin wool,” it must be composed entirely of wool, containing no more than 0.3% of other fibers. The difference between these two types of wool is in the breed of sheep. Marinos have thinner, suppler wool.           

5. Diversification of the Aran sweater

It is no longer a simple thick woolen sweater in ecru color. Today, the Irish sweater is available in various colors (navy, red, khaki, green, blue, grey), giving it a more modern feel. A simple round neck sweater has now been transformed into a V collar sweater, a turtleneck, a collar with buttons, and even a cape and jacket! Additionally, hats and scarves are becoming increasingly popular during the winter, keeping you warm.  

6. Adopted by the entire world

Read more:Each And Everything You Should Need To Know So Far About Knotless Braids With Beads

The 100% pure wool knits quickly became iconic in fashion throughout the centuries. Perfect for keeping warm and timeless, these knits can be worn on any outfit but can easily be matched with accessories and specific materials for an added trendy look.

Fashion Week in New York, London, Milan, and Paris has featured Irish sweaters for several years. Several celebrities now wear Irish sweaters. The celebrities who have worn an Aran sweater are Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Holmes, Robert Pattinson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Channing Tatum, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, and Cameron Diaz.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


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