Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Aran Sweaters and Other Irish Crafts

From Irish Central:
Aran Fisherman Sweaters, which take their name from the three Aran Islands of Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer, are handmade made purely from wool in a variety of stitch patterns, behind each of which lies a story or symbol.

For example, the common Cable Stitch depicts fishermen's ropes and represents good weather at sea. The Diamond Stitch symbolizes the small, neat fields of the Aran Islands, the Irish Moss Stitch symbolizes growth and abundance, and various other stitches represent stories of religion or elements of nature.

With such careful stitching by the few Aran sweater makers left, each article of clothing is its own artform which can take up to two months to create.

Another example of a historical, cultural artifact, one that some may not know has Irish origins, is the Irish tweed hats and coats. The weaving and spinning of tweed is actually an integral part of Irish culture, as the tweed industry was the main source of income for many families in Ireland’s northern counties from 1890 to the mid 1900s.

Tweed weavers were inspired by the colorful, wild northern landscape. The craft of working by hand has been passed down for many generations – a fine example of Irish tradition staying true to its roots over time. Many families today even use the same looms as their ancestors. (Read more.)

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