Staying Cozy in the Cold: Aran Sweaters

Staying Cozy in the Cold: Aran Sweaters

Katie Rhodes |

Chances are you’ve seen them all of your life—you may even have one or two hanging in your closet. We’re talking about the unmistakable comfortable and cozy cable-knit pullovers known as Aran sweaters.

This classic gets its name from the Aran Islands, a group of three isles located off the western coast of Ireland. Fishing has long been a favorite pastime for those who live on the Aran Islands, and it also one of the main industries in the region. When temperatures drop, the fishermen were in need of protection from the brutal cold; enter the Aran sweater.

Originally hand-knitted from untreated sheep’s wool, which retains its lanolin, the sweaters tend to repel water, thus they are wearable during downpours or when working near the waves of the sea. This material also gives them their traditional cream hue. The patterns, which include repeating motifs such as latticework and knots, are also thought to have been influenced by traditional Celtic symbols even though the sweaters themselves were not made until the last decade of the 1800s.

While few crafters still make the traditional sweaters by hand and with local materials, the trend remains. Today, you can find sweaters, blankets, scarves, and more that are influenced by the look and comfortable durability of the original Aran sweater.

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