Heartstopping Aran Fisherman’s Sweater

There are moments when you’re collecting vintage items when you unwittingly pick up a piece that has a poignant and profound history behind it.  That is definitely true of this aran fisherman’s sweater:

knits all good sweater 1

When I started to research the sweater I discovered that there is a rich and wonderful history behind this sweater.

“From its origins, the Aran sweater has been intimately linked to Irish clans and their identities. The many combinations of stitches seen on the garment are not incidental, far from it. They can impart vast amounts of information to those who know how to interpret them. Aran sweaters were, and remain, a reflection of the lives of the knitters, and their families. On the Aran islands, sweater patterns were zealously guarded, kept within the same clan throughout generations. These Aran sweaters were often used to help identify bodies of fishermen washed up on the beach following an accident at sea. An official register of these historic patterns has been compiled, and can be seen in the Aran Sweater Market on the Aran Islands.”

How heartbreaking is that?  I tried to find out which clan this particular sweater belonged to but there are just SO many different clans that it was impossible to pinpoint the right one.  I had no idea that this was a tradition in Ireland.

Read more about the history of aran sweaters here.

Thought I’d share a little tidbit about this great item that is now listed in the GeekBetty Vintage Etsy Shop.

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