Blarney Woollen Mills – Aran

I saw some Aran jumpers, cardigans; ponchos; hats and scarves which I’ve always been a lifelong fan. I waited for the assistant to move before getting this nice shot of the counter nearby the Aran woollen knits section.

I always think of my mother when I look at Aran wear, as she was the owner of many such items, due to her in-laws having personally knitted them for her. She kept them for years. She gave me one that she had for over twenty years and I proudly wore it — it was at the time when old Aran cardigans were all the rage and young people scoured the markets to buy them up.

I was always fond of the more vibrant coloured ones, such as this jumper – which I owned one of – in the past. I should add that these Aran gear are not hand-made. A handmade one would cost treble the price and more.

I also had a burnt orange and green one with the same modern pattern.

The children’s arans are so pretty. The workmanship is so impressive.

Here are more traditional children’s styles. I know these too would be made on a loom. I forgot to watch out for the hand-made Aran jumpers, etc.

Goldenbridge inmates – who went before me – were connoisseurs at knitting Aran cardigans – or ganseys – the word used in Irish is geansaí, a gaelicisation of guernsey which has been re-Anglicised to gansey in Hiberno-English –  as my mother called them. I just missed out on making them. However, I do remember knitting Aran fishermen type socks on four needles for the outside market.

I used to visit an older woman in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, who knitted traditional Aran cardigans/jumpers for the American market. She was supplied with wool, but still got a pittance for her work. I’ve always wanted to knit an Aran cardigan.

I’ve knitted plain jumpers, mittens; crocheted wedding/special occasions metallic glittery stoles, skull-caps for children’s Communion with bags; scarves, little handbags, and neck-chokers, and ear-rings in glittery metallic embroidery spool wool and fancy place mats. I even won a prize in a big competition at one of the big Co. Wicklow country annual fairs. I also made jewellery to match the items, which comprised of silver ear-rings , bracelets, necklaces. I created them all minus patterns. I have a penchant for artistic, creative designs in wool. I also crocheted an Aran king-sized bed-spread for my mother. It was really heavy, as I used two balls of Aran wool, instead of one.

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