Saturday, February 04, 2006

Adventures in Aran Knitting ... Part 1

When I heard about Clan Aran Sweaters where I could purchase yarn and a pattern that represented the Shean name I thought it was a pretty cool idea. I checked around a little, but I couldn't find any place to purchase the pattern only. So I decided to just bite the bullet, fork out $100, and buy the authentic báinín yarn and pattern straight from Ireland.

...Then I hear about The Great Aran Sweater Myth over at The Knitting Curmudgeon's blog. Oh boy, I had been had, or so I thought. Fortunately Marylin did all the research for me (thanks!) and I was quickly relieved to figure out that I hadn't been swindled. I knew that The O'Sheahan's hadn't been fishermen ... so why would they have a family sweater?? Of course they didn't, well not to identify their washed up dead bodies anyway. You can read more about the history of aran knitting at the link above, but basically each stich pattern represents the different motto's of each family. The Shean's (or O'Sheahan, O'Shea, and O'Sheehan) stand for. Cables symbolize luck, Diamonds: wealth, Tree of Life: Family, Ladder of Life: Health and Happiness, Honeycomb: Work, Trellis: Success, ZigZag: Love, Irish Moss: Holy Trinity, etc.

I was pleased when it all showed up, then suddenly very afraid. I have never worked on a pattern so complex. And the site of all that báinín yarn (did you notice how huge that 1 ball of yarn is??), well, it's just a bit overwhelming. I have several projects on the needles right now, but this has been calling my name. So I worked a swatch to check my guage and practice the different stitch techniques. I honestly thought I'd try it out and decide that I was indeed over my head and put it away for awhile ... until I was more experienced. I mean I have ONLY been knitting for just over a year! Instead I'm hooked, I LOVE it!!! The Irish Moss, the blackberries!!! It is so cool to see them come to life. So I bound off my swatch and just casted on for the back. I'm still on the ribbing and have to write out the entire pattern, but I'm not worried, I'm excited and can't wait to see it come to life.

...More to come! Posted by Picasa


shizzknits said...

I've always wanted to try an Aran, and I keep going to that site to check out the patterns. Luckily I like the pattern for our last name....but can't find it in me *yet* to shell out the $$.

Would LOVE to see your finished Aran!

Ween said...

Sheree, I'm about 2 inches into it and LOVE it. The pictures on the site don't do justice to the actual sweater/patterns. They are beautiful! I'll post an updated picture tomorrow night.