These beautiful hand-crafted sweaters originate from the Aran Islands, located off the west coast of Ireland. These iconic sweaters are steeped in history and each one is an individual work of art. But which one to choose and how? Here are a few points to consider before you make that final purchase.
There are different types to consider. Originals are hand-knitted and the result of hundreds of hours of expert craftsmanship, which is reflected by the skill of the person who produced it, and in the price. It takes many weeks, if not months to fully complete a handmade sweater. So to keep up with demand, loom-knitted sweaters were produced, by experienced knitters, and these are more affordable than the original hand-knits. Then there are the commercially produced machine-knitted sweaters using wool blends, but these are ‘distant cousins’ of the original hand-crafted Aran.
Think about what shape you would prefer to wear. They were traditionally made in a pullover shape, offering maximum warmth against the rain and wind, but they are now available in a variety of other styles and necklines. A cardigan, for example, is a wonderful addition to any wardrobe and is very versatile.
Make sure that your Aran sweater is knitted with premium quality wool. It should feel heavier than the average sweater and the yarn itself should not feel too slack or soft, as the patterns on the sweater could then lose definition, density or shape over time. The sweater should also display some flexibility, as you want the sweater to mould comfortably to your body.
Colour and Size
Which colour to choose? Aran sweaters are available in a variety of colours, although the traditional off-white still remains a popular choice. Check you have your correct size. It is recommended that your sweater fits snugly, but this is down to personal choice and many buyers opt for a looser fit.
You no longer have to travel to the Aran Islands to choose your sweater. Fortunately, you can now find a great range of Irish Aran wool sweaters online or through recommended retailers. There are many advantages to seeing them at first hand of course, but the only problem is which one to buy.
So choose your Aran sweater wisely, it will not only keep you warm and cosy through the changing seasons, but might just become a cherished family heirloom.