My First Baby Blanket & Aran Jumpers

Hi Fellow Knitters,

Finally, I have completed designing and knitting my first Baby Blanket. It is called Sailing to Dreamland. The blanket alternates Yacht Motif blocks with Quilted Effect blocks. The quilted effect is achieved with Dimple Stitch and short rows. From this versatile pattern you can create a small dainty bassinette blanket or a larger bold cot or single bed blanket. Create the alternatives with 4 or 8 ply yarn and of course your own choice of colour.


I love both of them. The smaller one, in 4 ply yarn, is the prettiest rug I have designed and knitted and the larger one, in 8 ply yarn, I love for being so bold and dramatic. The pattern is available as a digital download on our website, and a free tutorial to assist you when knitting the pattern will be on the website quite soon.

I am now planning my second baby blanket. It will be in pinks and have a floral motif as its main feature. However I have to wait for the yarn to arrive from Bendigo Woollen mills so in between the two baby blankets, I plan to dive into my stash of left-over yarn and do a blanket without incurring any cost. I call these projects "free" blankets, and because of the limitations of only using the stash, are often the most fun to devise and knit.

In the February blog I wrote about Ganseys - the traditional fisherman's jumper of the UK and north/western Europe. Now let's look at the more famous Aran jumpers that many people think are traditional fisherman's jumpers. The Aran Islands are 3 rocky isles guarding the mouth of Galway Bay, in western Ireland

In 1891 the Irish government set up the Congested Districts Board to help families survive the potato famine. The islanders mostly knitted stockings, as well as caps, shawls and some jumpers for their own use. The board encouraged locals to weave and knit garments to sell, and in the early 20th century taught islanders to knit stitches such as Honeycomb, Figure Eight and Double Diamond.

Some years later a Dublin craft shop owner named Murial Gahan, visited the islands and took samples of the knitting home. These were early examples of "Aran" knitting - a simpler style of knit-purl patterning. The first known patterned Aran jumper (National Museum in Dublin), dates from about 1930. Aran jumpers, as we know them today, began to appear after World War 11. Patons produced an Arran pattern book in the 1950s and in 1956 Vogue Knitting also published an Aran pattern book.

Some myths have developed about the Aran patterns. Some stitch patterns are believed, erroneously, to have a traditional interpretation, often of religious significance. These interpretations were fabricated by Heinz Edgar Kiewe, a yarn shop owner who noticed a chance resemblance between Aran stitches and Celtic knotwork, and assumed that Aran knitting was at least as old as, if not older than, the knotwork it resembles. He wrote a book on his suppositions, The Sacred History of Knitting, which provides most of the mythology surrounding the Aran jumper. His thesis has, however, been thoroughly debunked by many historians of knitting, including Richard Rutt, Alice Starmore and Vawn Corrigan.

The lovely creamy jumpers have maintained their popularity. Knitters enjoy creating their own versions, with the bold sculptured effects of the high relief cabling and honeycombing. Arans have developed with many new stitches being created to keep up with prevailing fashions. They are truly beautiful.


Reference books:
A History of Hand Knitting - Richard Rutt
Knitting Around the world - Lela Nargi

Happy Creative Knitting,