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Aran Sweater FAQ's

Aran Sweater FAQ

If you buy an Aran Sweater from Quills, you buy directly from where the Aran sweater originated, The Aran Islands,Ireland.


The Aran Islands are the home of the Aran sweater, and the harsh but beautiful environment of these Islands is reflected in the stitches that make up these unique garments. In the early days, these sweaters were created to protect the fishermen and farmers here from the elements, and the patterned stitches used are representative of the landscape and the qualities of the people who made their lives here. The Moss stitch, for example, represents the bright carrageenan moss that was historically an important food source, and the Chevron stitch evokes the Atlantic Sea as it crashes against the cliffs of Inis Mor.  


The history of the Aran sweater is fascinating, and you will find many styles and designs inspired by the traditional garment, hand-knitted by the women of the Aran Islands for more than a hundred years. Knitting and weaving are ancient crafts that are intertwined with the history of Ireland, and our clothing and homewares are an excellent choice for sustainability too, as all are made with our top quality local wool

When you choose an Aran Sweater, you invest in traditional Irish craftsmanship and quality. Aran Sweaters are traditionally made from pure super soft merino wool in Ireland, and are usually hand knitted. They are not just sweaters but a good quality, stylish choice that will last longer than synthetic fibres and are comfortable to wear all year round.  


Every stitch in a quality Aran Sweater tells a story of Irish history, reflecting the beauty of the land and the challenging lives lived on the edge of the Atlantic coast in years gone by. Cable stitch, for example, represents the ropes used by the fishermen who wore the first Aran hand knit sweaters many years ago.

Aran sweaters are handmade, following the tradition of the people  of the Irish coast who first created these sweaters many years ago. Every stitch has a meaning, representing the lifestyle and history of the people who lived on the island of Aran, and Aran sweaters are hand knitted to be unique and beautiful.


When you choose a handmade Sweater from Quills WoollenMarket, you can celebrate your Irish heritage with the design that represents your family.The stitches that are knitted into these handmade sweaters tell stories of the fishermen and farmers who first wore them as a practical choice before they became the style statement they are today.

If you are wondering whether your Aran Sweater will itch, you can rest assured that a real Aran Sweater, made from the highest quality merino wool, will not be itchy against your skin. Merino wool is finer and contains smaller fibres than rougher wool types, making it softer and more flexible than other wool and wool blends.  Our Merino Wool is Super Soft and is the only wool we use across all our sweaters.

Aran Sweaters are comfortable and durable, and a great choice all year round. Your Aran sweater will be easy to care for and will often just need a simple airing to allow the fibres to breathe before it can be worn again. At Quills Woollen Market you will find stunning Aran sweaters in many colours and designs.

We know that Aran Sweaters look great, and they are also a great choice to keep you warm. Aran sweaters are made from pure Merino wool and as a natural fibre, wool works with your body to help regulate your temperature, keeping you warm when the weather is cold and cooler when the sun is shining.  


Aran sweaters are warm and can be layered to keep you at the right temperature, whatever the weather. Aran sweater designs are unique and tell stories of Irish traditions and heritage. Today, Aran sweaters are available in many stunning designs and colours, so they are a stylish choice as well as a practical one.

Yes, Aran sweaters are waterproof and were originally worn by fishermen to keep them dry at sea. The natural wool in an Aran Sweater can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water before feeling wet and draws water vapour away from the body into the air to help maintain an ideal body temperature.


An Aran Sweater is a great choice all year round, hand made from natural wool that can help to insulate the body and keep you warm and dry, whatever the weather. Aran sweaters make excellent layers so that you can always be prepared for the elements and you can choose the colour and style you love.

The golden rule is to wash your garment as seldom as possible and air frequently. We call this ‘wind-washing’. Hang your garment out in the air and you will be amazed at how fresh it becomes. Never machine wash; they should be washed by hand using wool washing detergent and in cool water below 30 degrees Celsius. Always dry your jumper flat and never put it in a tumble dryer.

Most of out Sweaters & Blankets are made from natural wool and therefore some may get a ‘sheep’ like smell. The best method to get rid of this smell is to hang the jumper on a clothes line outside. Another suggestion is to line your drawers with scented sheets. If you feel that you need to wash your sweater, soak it in a cold hand wash liquid/powder for 3-5 minutes. Gently squeeze excess water off. Never wring, twist or rub. To dry, roll the jumper in a towel to get rid of excess water. Pull into shape and dry flat.

Check your garments occasionally to make sure that you don’t have a moth or moisture problem. With proper care, wool can be a durable and long lasting fibre. Always care for your garment following the instructions on the care label. Perspiration and food stains attract moths. Brushing your jumper with a wool brush can loosen eggs, and simply popping your jumper into the freezer before you store it will kill them. Another tip is to store your sweater in a sealed clean plastic bag. This will prevent moths from attacking it. Be very careful if using moth balls and crystals as they may be harmful to children and pets.

Every stitch has its own significance and meaning. First worn by fishermen for heat and protection against the wild Atlantic, the meanings of the stitches were influenced by the daily lives of the Aran Island fisherfolk and their surrounding landscape. Below are the meanings of some of the most popular stitches found in your Aran sweater.

Cable stitch: A representation of the fisherman’s ropes symbolizing wishes for a plentiful catch at sea.

Zigzag stitch: Symbolizes the twisting island cliff paths leading to the sea and the ups and downs of married life!

Diamond Stitch: A representation of the patchwork of farmers fields, symbolizing wishes for wealth and success.

Trellis stitch: Representing the stone walled fields and said to provide protection

Blackberry Stitch: Symbolizing the fruits of nature and its beauty.

Moss stitch: Representing the Carrigeen moss seaweed found on the islands’ Atlantic coast and used as a fertilizer for the farmer's fields. Symbolizing hopes for a bountiful harvest.

Honeycomb stitch: A tribute to the hardworking honeybee, and symbol of luck and good fortune