Saturday, January 05, 2008

A is for Aran

About a week before Christmas when I had finished knitting all the gifts due that month, I cast on Vickie's Cardigan (designed by Marilyn King) using Black Water Abbey yarn in the color Bracken.

What a great knit this is so far! It never fails to keep me interested, but it is easy enough to do during a light conversation or through a movie at home. It was wonderful car knitting as well. The yarn is lovely both in its color and its highlighting of the cable pattern.

Some knitters complain that BWA yarn is rough, but I'm pleased with its texture and know that any yarn much softer than this one will just pill up on me. I don't know why, but I can just LOOK at soft yarn and it pills. (Could this be something about the way I knit, or about the chemicals I exude, or something?) If I am going to invest much time in a project, I want it to maintain its looks for more than one wearing. I'm pretty sure this yarn will wear beautifully for decades, just as some of my grandmother's knitting has.

Aran knitting began off the coast of Ireland in the Aran islands. When a pattern is in the classic Aran style, it usually has intricate patterns involving cables, bobbles and other designs. The style may have begun as late as 1900.

One of the significant myths about Aran sweaters is that they were originally knit for the fishermen and that each family used a unique stitch pattern so that bodies of loved ones could be identified if they washed onto shore. Although this concept appears to be false, it is a romantic one that demonstrates the power of knitters to define who we are.

As I write this, I realize how much more I would like to learn about Aran knitting. Stay tuned for upcoming posts which will discuss more of the history and the technique.

* * *

Now that I've finished the back, Vickie will have to go in the knitting bag while I go back to a knitting project still on the needles that is to be given in a couple of weeks to a special woman in my life. Details soon--perhaps in a "B is for..." post!

Check out the details!


Vicki Knitorious said...

PERFECT!! I love your A, especially having knit an Aran once myself. I didn't know there was a pattern called "Vickie," I will have to look it up!

Thank you.

Sheepish Annie said...

I just started reading The Knitters Book Of Yarn and there is a pretty good discussion on pilling. (although just when I became the kind of person who suddenly wants to discuss pilling, I know not...)

I love the Aran! The stitches are nice and crisp and it looks like one of those sweaters you see in the older knitting books. Classic!

Carrie K said...

That sweater is really beautiful!

Pilling? Oh no. I am completely in denial that pilling exists.


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