Inspiration: St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Have you all drank your green beer and eaten your corned beef yet?   No?  Well, what are you waiting for?!  (Though, to be honest, it’s far too early for beer for me, and I’ve never actually drank a green one, even in college.  Also, I’m vegetarian, so no corned beef for me.  But, maybe I’ll make some Irish soda bread for dinner.  Yes, that sounds good.  Irish soda bread and a beer around 6:00 tonight.)

I’m not really sure how to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, really.  I’m not Catholic, so I won’t be going to mass.  I’m not a big drinker, so I’m not going on a bender.  And, I’m only part Irish, anyway (maybe- my family history is fairly muddled, but my maiden name was kind of Irish).

What I am, though, is a knitter.  And if you thought I was going to let a day like this pass by without talking about Irish sweaters (Aran jumpers, in particular), you were wildly mistaken.

Aran jumpers are simply gorgeous, and they’ve been on my knitting bucket list for years.  Originating from the Aran Islands (just off the coast of Ireland), Aran jumpers are the old-school version of an all-weather coat.  They are traditionally made with untreated wool, so the yarn retains all that good lanolin, making the sweaters perfect for wearing in the rain (something that happens a lot on the Aran Islands), or while fishing on the ocean.  Supposedly, each family has a favorite Aran pattern- specific cables that everyone in the family wears, something like each clan having its own tartan.  I’m pretty sure that’s a myth, but I love the idea anyway.

Of course, these days, people use Aran cables to decorate anything, not just sweaters.

This shawl may be simple, but you can definitely see the Aran jumper influence with that gorgeous braided cable along the bottom.

Celtic Myths by Asita KrebsThis designer took the opposite approach, and crammed every square inch with cables!  I can only imagine how cuddly and warm this blanket must be.  (Can you spot the same braided cable in this project, too?)

Celtic Aran Afghan by Sharondipity DesignsI just love this sweater.  It’s a modern take on the Aran jumper, oversized and cozy, but still undeniably Aran.  And, there’s that cable again, running right up the front!

Katla by Lars Rains

Do you have plans for St. Patrick’s Day?  Have you ever knit up an Aran sweater?

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