• Interesting Facts about Aran Sweaters

    1. The patterns on Irish sweaters are based on Irish Tradition each stitch represents a different meaning and symbolizes something of importance. There are many different stitches with meanings behind them for example the honeycomb stitch represents the bee which is also a sign of a hard worker (a busy bee). The diamond stitch represents wealth, the moss stitch is said to mean growth and is often used with the diamond stitch. The tree of life stitch symbolises the rite of passage and the importance of family. The infamous cable stitch is the most common stitch seen on Aran sweaters and that represents fisherman ropes.
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    A myth about the Aran sweater is that the stitches are linked to family names the legend has it that each stitch represents a family second name so that is the fisherman was lost at sea the family would be able to identify the body by the stitch on the sweater although an interesting store, it has not been proven at a fact!

    2. Origin of the Aran Sweater

    The beloved Aran sweater originated in the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland around the 1950s women hand made their fisherman husbands Irish sweaters to keep them warm at sea, they also sold them on the island to make a living. Irish sweaters used to be water proof so they were the perfect garment for the man to wear at sea. The sweater was made with unscored wool that kept its natural oil in it, making it water resistant! The majority of men on the islands were fisherman or farmers so these fisherman sweaters were extremely popular. Handknitting an Irish sweater took between 3 to 6 weeks to complete so the women on the islands were kept busy at work knitting.
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    3. Clancy Brothers and Aran Sweaters!

    The made Aran sweaters cool in the States and brought it back to life in Ireland!! The Irish folk band were over in USA touring when a particularly cold spell hit New York. The Clancy Brothers mum send them over Aran Sweaters that they wore live on the Ed Sullivan Show this gave fisherman sweaters a big boost in popularity! They were famed for wearing the infamous Irish sweater each time they performed making it their trademark!
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    4. Aran Sweaters have evolved

    In the past, all aran sweaters were made with Irish wool which comes from sheep in Ireland. Nowadays most Irish sweaters are knit with Merino wool from New Zealand as it is softer to wear and wears better. Merino wool stays warm in winter and cool in summer, making it the ideal wool for an Aran Sweater.
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  • Meet the Family: The Story Behind The Sweater Shop Family

    Our story began in 1986 when our Dad (Dom) set up his first Sweater Shop in Wicklow Street in Dublin, together with our aunt Breege. With 3 young children at home, he decided to set up his own company and put his knitwear knowledge to good use. 10 years prior to this, he had worked for Gaeltarra knitwear - An Irish Wholesaler who specialised in selling Irish Sweaters to the American Market. His job entailed travelling back and forth to the States selling Irish Aran Sweaters to American customers. Dom noticed that there were quite a few speciality shops in America and at the time, Ireland had none. He decided to open up a store specialising in Irish Sweaters with a big focus on Irish Aran Sweaters. The first store was a big hit with locals and tourists and gained media attention for the quality and prices of the sweaters sold.

    Dom, Breege and our mum (Joan) worked in the shop on Wicklow Street and learnt what customers were interested in - they saw a growing demand for cable knit Irish sweaters so worked together to develop a range of authentic Irish sweaters that would suit both local and tourists visiting the shop. They soon decided to open up more stores throughout the country. Keeping the business in the family, they set up two stores in Galway in the early 1990s and our cousin Alva, runs these to this day.

    The Sweater Shop continued to expand - with 5 shops around Ireland and a busy website - and now the second generation - Doms daughter Laura, Daughter in law Kate and son Paul have taken over the daily running of the stores and the managing of the website, while Dom still over sees the business.

    We all worked in the store on summer breaks in school and then in college so needless to say, we grew up living and breathing aran sweaters! We have a group of amazing staff, some who have been with us since the beginning and are like extended family. We pride ourselves in being experts in Irish Aran Sweaters and all things Cable knit! If you are in and around Dublin, Galway or Kilkenny, make sure to pop in and we will be sure to give you advice on what to do in the city and show you our range of Aran Sweaters!

    Last year, we celebrated our 30 years in Business milestone. We are incredibly proud that the business has come this far and look forward to another 30 years as an Irish family run business!

    Go raibh mile maith agat,
    The Sweater Shop Family

  • Different Types of Wool in our Aran Sweaters

    As you know, we are wool fanatics at the Sweater Shop. All of Aran sweaters are made of wool, however the type of wool varies from sweater to sweater. Do you know the difference in the types of wool? We are going to describe some of our favourite types of wool and an example of a sweater we stock in that wool to give you a better understanding of the wool used in our Aran sweaters.

    Wool is the fibre that grows on the body of an animal e.g a sheep or a goat etc. It replenishes itself each time a coat is taken off and continues to grow back throughout the animal's life.

    1. Irish Wool - This is wool that is taken from an Irish sheep. It can be corse and some find this type of wool in their Aran sweater itchy to wear. Aran Sweaters were knitted using unscoured wool that kept its natural oils which made the sweaters water-resistant and meant they remained wearable even in wet weather. However, today most Aran Sweaters are knit with a softer wool of Merino wool in natural colour as well as a variety of other colours. Brighter Aran Sweaters are very popular in recent years.

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    2. Merino Wool - Merino wool comes from the Merino Sheep in New Zealand and is one of the world's toughest breeds of sheep. There are many benefits of merino wool that has seen it become the most popular yarn used in Aran sweaters. One of the great benefits is that it is built for extreme weather conditions, it is so warm and insulating in the winter yet it can be worn in the summer as it is breathable too, making an Aran sweater the perfect all year-round garment! Merino wool is known for its softness and how cosy it is to wear. Merino fibres are really fine making it way softer than traditional wool such as Irish wool which can be coarse to wear. Merino wool makes a sweater feel luxurious and so soft to wear. Merino wool is also elastic, meaning the more you wear your aran sweater made of merino wool, the more it will stretch with your body shape, however it will then return to its original shape. Merino can absorb moisture vapour which means less odour on your sweater too.

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    www.sweatershop.com/womens/irish-aran-cardigan

    3. Merino wool and cashmere blend - lately we have seen an increase in customers who want the soft feel of cashmere but at a fraction of the price. Therefore, we have introduced a range of Aran Cable knit sweaters in soft Merino wool/ cashmere yarns mixed together. This is the next best thing to a 100% cashmere sweater. This Aran sweater will last a life time and will keep you snug and stylish at the same time. The Aran sweaters we have introduced have a high percentage of merino mixed with cashmere- i.e 10% cashmere and 90% Merino or 5% Cashmere and 85% merino - This is so the sweater lasts longer and washes better. It also helps to keep the price of the Aran sweater much more reasonable than if the percentage of cashmere was higher.

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    All our Aran sweaters are made with care with carefully selected yarns to make that sweater the best it can be and most suitable to our customer's needs.

  • The CASHMERE STORY

     

    The name "CASHMERE" comes from Kashmir, the wild and mountainous area of India and Pakistan.

    Actually the fiber came from Tibet and was woven in Kashmir. It is known that in the XV century in India more than 50,000 people were employed in the processing of cashmere.

    The use of cashmere as precious fiber dates back to the Romans. It was then disclosed by the Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, who had it woven in France her famous "ring shawl" : it was so called because it could be pass through her wedding ring.
    Later, in the XIX century, a Scottish manufacturer, Joseph Dawson, invented the mechanical method to separate the fine fibers of goat hairs from the rough outer hairs. This led the processing of cashmere in Scotland and began the modern era of cashmere knitwear.

    The best cashmere garments are mostly made by hand and this manual process starts with the combing of the goats. Each goat is combed in the spring, when it loses the thin inner hair that protected her from the harsh winter.
    This "flake" is then washed, combed, dyed and spun mechanically, while the manual work returns to the knitting of pullovers.
    Each knitting machine is operated manually, and the worker pays utmost attention to the specifications of the garment that he is making : factors such as the tension of the yarn and shape of the garment are continuously controlled.
    The panels thus obtained are then assembled by hand by linking point by point and not with simple machine stitching as in a low quality garment. The garment is then washed to reach the right handfeel, and also this process is controlled by an expert in this highly specialized work.
    The finished garments are then re-checked one by one to ensure their perfection.
    A cashmere goat produces about 50-80 grams of cashmere fiber per year, and the yarn is so thin that it takes 7 miles of yarn to make a pullover. Therefore a sweater requires an average annual contribution of 5 goats cashmere!
    Consumers tend to have a wrong idea that the "pilling" is a quality problem: it is impossible to have a cashmere sweater that does no pilling.
    The characteristic of a cashmere pullover is its very fine and soft fiber. To increase this feature at most, the pullover is treated so as to bring the finest fibers to the surface, in order to have a soft and smooth handfeel (if there were not enough fiber on the surface you would have a rough and dry handfeel); therefore any kind of friction on the surface creates the pilling. Whether created the pills can easily be removed with the fingers, and this still does not affect the handfeel of the garment.

    CARE IN WEARING YOUR CASHMERE GARMENT :
    What is worn over a cashmere sweater should have a smooth and not rough surface, such as tweed jackets; you should not keep pens or hard objects in the pockets so as to avoid friction that can cause "Pilling". You should also avoid to wear the same garment for long periods of time: a pause of several days avoids the "fatigue" of the fibers.

    WASHING CARE:
    1. It is preferable to have dry cleaning or hand washing.
    2. Dissolve very little cleaning fluid in water at 35 and squeeze the garment gently.
    3. Multicolored or jacquard pullovers should not be soaked and garments of different colors must be washed separately to avoid that get stained with each other by colour bleeding.
    4. Rinse in fresh water at 30 .
    5. Squeeze out excess water and then eliminate the rest of the water in the centrifuge. The pullovers should be put in an net envelope before spinning.
    6. After the centrifuge lay the garment on a table (which should be covered by a towel). "Pull" the garment slightly to reach the initial measures and let it dry. NEVER hang your garment nor expose it to direct sunlight.
    7. When the garment is completely dry, iron it at medium heat. Never place the iron directly on the garment. If necessary, cover it with a cloth.

  • Celebrating 30 years in Business: An Irish Family Business

    In the early 1980s, The owner, Dom Byrne was working for Gaeltarra knitwear, selling Irish Aran sweaters in the States, when he noticed a gap in the Irish market for a speciality sweater store. Speciality clothing shops were unusual at the time in the country so The Sweater Shop was the first of its kind to open in Ireland. Originally targeting the domestic market with a large variety of sweaters, all made in a natural fibre, mainly from lambswool, angora, mohair, cottons or chunky wool, the shop on Wicklow Street, became a favourite among locals for their winter woollies. Shortly after this, The Sweater Shop opened branches in Kilkenny and Galway.

    Knitwear will always be an important part of Irish style. One of Dublins much loved stores The Sweater Shop on Nassau Street has gained a reputation for traditional and contemporary knitwear, cashmere and fine merino wool separates and accessories to suit men and women of all ages is celebrating 30 years in business this year.

    Knitwear has changed considerably since The Sweater Shop opened in 1986, with the early 1990s seeing novelty, fun bobble sweaters with graphics in mainly mohair, angora or lambswool, taking a front seat then slowly shifting to a more sophisticated look with Chenille plain tunics and crew necks becoming popular. Aran sweaters remained a staple in the shops throughout the years and a constant favourite among the tourist visitors. The popularity of our beloved Aran sweater has seen peaks and troughs in the fashion industry with the 1990s seeing the Aran sweater as frumpy and old fashioned however one of the most en vogue knitwear pieces of the season in noughties! Merino wool and Cashmere blends are now the yarn of choice for customers - Merino wool, coming from New Zealand, is a constant favourite as it is softer than pure wool and keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer so is the perfect all year round garment. Cashmere is the softest and most luxurious yarn coming from the under belly of a goat, giving off the incredibly soft feel, however 100% Cashmere is expensive to buy so a blend ie. 90% Merino, 10% Cashmere gives the soft touch of cashmere but for half the price.

    The knits of today are getting lighter, softer and have more flow so designs and wools are changing to suit climates and consumer tastes. Cashmere and wool blends mixes have seen a big revival. Colour tones are really making an impact on Autumn/Winter 16 knitwear trends. Along with anchoring earth tones and rich creams, exuberant pops of vibrant colours - blue skies represent constancy as they are always above us. Greys give a feeling of stability, red tones invite confidence and warmth, while the hot pinkish purples and spicy mustard yellows suggest a touch of the exotic. From traditional cable knits, to fine wools to ponchos and capes The Sweater Shop will have a style to suit you and your budget.

    The Sweater Shop is in three locations in Ireland - Dublin, Nassau Street, Kilkenny, Highstreet and Galway, Abbeygate Street. Nassau Street is the flagship store they have just redeveloped their website and ship internationally on <a href="http://www.sweatershop.com/">www.sweatershop.com</a>

  • The Aran Sweater - still en vogue!

    This time of year calls for wrapping up and what better way to do so than in a cosy Irish Aran Sweater! Over the last few years, the Aran Sweater has shaken off its frumpy image and is now considered one of the most en vogue pieces of knitwear to have for Autumn Winter.

    Aran Sweater Sweater Shop

    The Aran Sweater was featured on run ways all over the world in the last few years so one might think that the cable knit cream sweater has seen its day however it would seem from celebrities winter outfits and designer's latest creations, our favourite Irish Aran Sweater is only growing in popularity.
    This year, we saw Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger bring out his own version of the beloved Irish Aran Sweater. It's a cropped turtleneck with the Aran stitch featuring on the front! It shows how popular the Irish Aran Sweater still is and how far it has come in its style variation.

    Aran Sewater Sweater Shop

    What was once known as old fashioned now is a wardrobe stable and gives off an air of class and taste. The beauty of the Aran Sweater is that it lasts a life time -it is one of those wardrobe essentials, along with blue jeans, that will never go astray in your clothing collection! Every Irish person has a story of their experience with an Aran Sweater - whether they were given one as a child, "borrowed" their parents or swapped with their friends, it's a story every Irish person has - which is why tradition is such a big part of the Irish Aran Sweater. The quintessential Irish Aran Sweater has come so far in terms of its fame around the world and means so much to so many of us. Having an Aran Sweater in your wardrobe is like having a little piece of Ireland right there in your home.
    The Aran Sweater is really versatile and goes with almost every outfit - perfect for wearing with jeans while Christmas shopping or at night with a skirt. The Aran Sweater is also perfect for in door use with many loving to wear it with leggings and slippers around the fire. It feels and looks amazing so that's why it can be worn for so many different occasions.

    Aran SweatersThe Aran Sweater, comes in all shapes and sizes! We are proud to stock Aran Cardigans, Aran Ponchos, Aran Blankets, Aran Gloves, Aran Scarves to name a few - to satisfy our Aran obsession! So, if a sweater isn't your thing, there are lots of Aran alternatives available for you and your loved ones this Winter to get involved in the Aran craze! The Aran stitching in each garment represents a variety of things such as family, health, value, success, friendship and is a truly different garment to call your own. There are many different stitches that feature in the Aran Sweater and variants such as the honeycomb stitch, the diamond stitch, the moss stitch, the cable stitch, zig zag stitch and tree of life to name a few. All your Aran Sweater needs can be met on our website, which is 100% Irish owned and managed. We are experts in the Aran Sweater and are happy to help in any way possible with your purchasing journey.
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    Aran Sweaters

    Aran Sweaters

  • Halloween

    Where did it come from?

    Did you know that the tradition of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain? Pronounced: Sau-win, which means "Summers End in old Irish language,it was a festival in celebration of the end of harvest season.
    It's widely believed that that Samhain was a time where the ancient pagans got ready for winter and took stock of what supplies they had to see them through to spring.

    Why Celebrate?

    Samhain was one of the most important festivals for ancient pagans- celebrated on October 31st- November 1st in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
    Legend has it that on the night of October 31st, the boundaries between the living and the dead would overlap and spirits or fairies would return to the land of the living and leave chaos in their wake! In order to appease the spirits, gifts of food or drinks were left as peace offerings for the spirits so they would spare the home any grief.

    Why Dress Up?

    Legend has is, pagans dressed up as the spirits and went from house to house seeking food in return for reciting poems or songs, in an attempt to mimic the wandering ghouls that had returned to the living world.

    Bringing it to America:

    Did you know that in Ireland and Scotland, the turnip was traditionally used to carve during Halloween?! But when immigrants started arriving in North America, they decided to use the native pumpkin, which was much softer and much larger making it far easier to carve than a turnip!

    For cosy knits to see you through this Halloween and change in weather, visit www.sweatershop.com and wrap up!

  • Winter Scarves

     

    Wrap up this winter!
    As we enter October and the weather gets colder we love that we can now start thinking about our winter wardrobe and in particular scarves!

    The colder weather means it is time to start wrapping up, and a scarf offers lots of different ways in which you can keep yourself warm and stylish.

     

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    We are swooning over this fab snood which features a stunning combination of honeycomb and cable stitching, it gives a modern functionality and flair to a traditional Celtic favourite. Wear it buttoned to create a popular infinity scarf, or wear it unbuttoned and draped as a warm and stylish wrap. A perfect piece to create fun and versatile possibilities. It's more than a scarf, it's a piece of art!

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    There is nothing cosier than this Aran Pocket Scarf, made from 100% soft Merino wool it will keep you warm all winter long. We love to pair it over a cosy top to complete our outfit.

     

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    It doesn't get much warmer than our fave Aran merino wool scarf. This thick, oversized scarf is the perfect winter accessory to keep you warm as the weather starts to cool. It has two beautiful shades of grey intertwined together in the cable knit stitch.

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    This elegant Patrick Francis Pashmina scarf is made from pure new wool and fine silk woven together to make these luxorious pashmina scarves. These stylish pashminas add a touch of elegance to any outfit.

  • How to Style your Aran Sweater this Autumn Winter

     

     

    Wrap up in style for the chilly and colder weather this Autumn Winter with your extremely versatile Irish Aran sweater. Fashionable, durable and an international icon the Aran sweater is knitted with the best quality merino wool to ensure you stay comfortably cozy. A timeless staple and Ireland's major contribution to international style, the sweater is the perfect addition to any outfit this season.

    Style and Versatility

    As mentioned above the Aran sweater is incredibly versatile. The iconic sweater has the ability to transform every outfit with effortless ease. Whether you are running errands, chilling out with friends, family and loved ones or dressing for a more formal gathering, the Irish Aran sweater is one wardrobe staple you will not want to be without this Autumn Winter.

    Casual Days

    Whether you opt for boyfriend jeans as seen on our model below or skinny jeans, the Aran and jeans look is effortlessly casual and comfortable chic at its best.Shop the look here.

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    Traditional with a Modern Twist

    Teaming your Aran with modern textures and fashion trends adds an edgy fashion forward look to your outfit. In the look below our model was paired her classic Aran cardigan with a leather pencil skirt. Shop the look here.

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    Evening Wear

    This style sweater may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of evening wear attire however fashion influencers and celebrities have inspired us to think differently. When paired with an elegant maxi or midi skirt the look achieved its elegance personified as seen on Alexa Chung below.Shop similar here.

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    The Aran and the Mini

    Take inspiration from Cara Delevingne in her Mulberry campaign and style your favourite Aran sweater with a mini skirt for an alternative casual daytime look or with over the knee boots for an edger evening look. Shop similar here.

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    Fashion Changes but style endures

    The Aran sweater first became a coveted fashion icon when it first featured in US Vogue in the 1950's. This led to the sweater being exported from Ireland to the US for the first time. It has remained a firm favourite both on and off the catwalk in the last 70 years. More recently, the fashion bible Vogue again gave a sartorial nod to the iconic sweater in its British August edition, with academy award winning actor Alicia Vikander wearing the famous cable Aran knit.

    With some many options to wear it, you won't want to be without this sweater staple this Autumn Winter. Check out The Sweater Shops latest Autumn Winter collection here.

  • American College Football Ireland

    This September sees the return of American football to Dublin for the third time in five years. The Aer Lingus College Football Classic kicks off with Boston College and Georgia Tech going head to head in Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 3rd September.

    The Boston College Eagles face strong competition from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets as they start their 2016 season. This will be Boston College's second time in Ireland playing football, having originally been in 1988 where they were victorious against Army in front of 42,000 spectators in the old Lansdowne Road stadium. With an expected turnout of 25,000 fans travelling from the US and Europe, this exciting event is not to be missed.

    The Aer Lingus College Football is much more than a game it is an experience. A number of events are taking place around the football game to ensure our visitors to the Emerald Isle have a great time.

    • Trinity College is the official Welcome Village for 2016 Classic
    • Pep Rallies will take place at the iconic Trinity Village main square
    • Muthar Kent will be a guest speaker for the CEO Club Forum held at the Dublin Mansion House
    • Senator George Mitchell will be a key note speaker at the Irish Institute Lunch on the 30th August
    • The Faculty symposium University and the Innovation Economy will be held in the Burke Theatre
    • A University band of more than 150 participants will cheer for both schools attending
    • An American Football Showcase will take place in Trinity College on Friday 2nd with six high school teams playing against each other

    Sweater Shop American Football

    The Aviva is the magnificent stadium where the Aer Lingus College Football Classic will be held. It also held the 2012 game between the University of Notre Dame and U.S. Naval Academy.

    The stadium, located in Dublin is very impressive with the ability to hold a capacity of 51,700 and 48,000 for American football. Built on the former Lansdowne Road stadium, the Aviva is home to the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Republic of Ireland national football team not to mention this exciting international event. To find out more and to purchase a ticket for this exciting event, please visit the website http://collegefootballireland.com/.

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