Taking its name from the Aran Islands, which lie off the west coast of Ireland, the Aran jumper is a woollen jumper. It was traditionally an off-white colour with a cable design; however, it is now available in many shades. Aran jumpers were originally knitted using unscoured wool, which retains the natural oils and makes the sweaters water-resistant. This is why they were particularly useful for fishermen braving the harsh weather conditions.
Today, Aran jumpers are a far cry from the traditional itchy jumpers. They are now made from scoured, finer wool, so an Aran sweater is ultra-comfortable in addition to being a stylish choice. Actor Chris Evans sported an Aran jumper in his movie Knives Out, causing great demand for the style. Aran styles have even featured in designer collections.
Aran sweaters can be made of several types of wool, so let’s examine the wools commonly used for Aran sweaters and the features of each.
Traditional Irish wool
Traditionally Aran knit jumpers were made from Irish wool. Coming from the wool of Irish sheep, the wool was originally left unscoured so that the natural sheep lanolin remained in the wool to enable it to be water-resistant. Although the oils are now removed, Aran jumpers are still made from Irish wool; however, the wool can have a coarseness and roughness that some people may find itchy.
For anyone who finds woolly jumpers itchy or uncomfortable, merino wool is an ideal choice. Merino is much finer than regular wool. The diameter of wool is measured in microns – whereas standard wool measures around 40 microns, the fibres of merino are just 15 to 25 microns. The finer fibres give merino wool a softer and more luxurious feel.
It is not just the softness of merino that has made it the most popular choice for Aran sweaters; in addition, merino offers great warmth, is lightweight, and has temperature regulating and moisture-wicking abilities. An Irish merino wool sweater from a stockist such as https://www.shamrockgift.com/womens-merino-wool-irish-sweater is the perfect addition to any wardrobe, as it is suitable for all seasons.
Manufacturers have recently begun to use a blend of cashmere and merino for Aran jumpers, offering the luxury of expensive cashmere with the benefits of the more affordable and robust merino.