Aran knitting originated in the Aran islands off the coast of Ireland. It is characterized by intricately patterned sweaters that involve lots of cables, bobbles and other designs.
It is thought that the women of the islands began to knit these sweaters in the early 1900s, both to clothe their families and to sell to tourists.
They are traditionally made from wool, which makes them warm even when wet. The first patterns for Aran sweaters were published in the 1940s, and they have been popular ever since.
One of the major misconceptions about Aran sweaters is that they were originally knit for the fishermen and that each family used a unique stitch pattern so that bodies of loved ones could be identified if they washed onto shore.
Hand-knit sweaters from the Aran islands can still be purchased, and knitters from all over the world use the techniques of Aran knitting to make their own fabulous and warm sweaters, throws and other knitted items.