Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Myths and Legends of Knitting

Hi, because all I've finished recently is my commission gloves I thought I'd start an occasional post about the history of knitting and crochet as its a subject that interests me, I would like to get a book on it, any recommendations?

Anyway on with the story..my Irish friend told me the other night that Aran jumpers were used to individually identify drowned fishermen, however on researching this I came across this information.

The Aran Islands are located off the west of Ireland, in Galway Bay. Contrary to popular belief, the typical cable-patterned Aran jumper is a 20th-century invention. In 1891 the government set up the Congested Districts Board to help poor families to survive unemployment and a shortage of potatoes. The Board encouraged local people to weave and knit garments to sell.

By the 20th century this cottage industry began to take off and the Board trained knitters to create complex patterns from stitches such as honeycomb, figure eight and double diamond. Instead of the dark coloured, oiled wools traditionally used to make fishermen’s jerseys, the islanders experimented with soft, thick, undyed yarn.

Here is the link to this site, this would seem to contradict my friends idea as it was only done recently and probably not even worn by the fishermen but sold to tourists. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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