If you looking out for indicators of a genuine Irish Handknit Aran Sweater, the first thing to look for is weight. Anything from 1-2 kilos of wool can go into the knitting of a genuine Aran Sweater, the intricate cable patterns can require a large amount of wool. So just by picking up a Hand-knit Aran and a machine made one, you will immediately see the difference.
Traditional stitches such as the honeycomb and cable stitches for example, cannot be recreated with the intricacy of a genuine Aran sweater, so the devil is in the detail, and the level of detail in a hand-knit is not comparable to a machine knit.
The tension in a hand-knit is far greater than any that can be achieved by a machine knit Aran, which means it holds it shape for longer instead of getting bigger and baggy. We have customers in the shop who say their mother knit them an Aran 30 years ago and it’s still in great shape!
Traditionally undyed and untreated wool would have been used to make a hand-knit, the oil was left in the wool , giving it that yellowish tone and mild oily feel, also making it waterproof , with it’s origins as a fisherman’s sweater, we can see how practical this was.
In more recent times, there has been a demand for softer treated wools such as Merino which are extremely popular for the machine Arans, we generally don’t sell merino wool Hand-knits as we prefer to stay with the traditional pure new wool.
Lastly , the price, if it seems cheap for a genuine hand-knit Irish sweater, it’s probably not the real deal! We keep our prices so the knitter gets a fair wage for what could be 3 weeks work and the cost of the wool is covered.
We stock genuine Irish hand-knit sweaters from Magee of Donegal.