School drive to ensure future of Aran sweaters
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School drive to ensure future of Aran sweaters

YOUNG people on the Aran Islands are being taught how to knit Aran sweaters in a bid to preserve the hand knit jumper craft, which has recently experienced increased global demand.

The ‘KNIT for Aran’ Schools Initiative was launched last week on the Aran Islands in Co. Galway, in a bid to encourage the craft among children and help ensure a stable future for it.

There has been huge surge in popularity of Aran Knitwear, particularly from US fashion label Polo Ralph Lauren who recently asked Galway’s Aran Sweater Market to produce their sweaters.

The market are leading the new schools initiative which will see staff from the Aran Sweater Market visit local primary schools with specially prepared Aran knitting kits, enabling children to learn about and master the basics of the unique Aran patterns and stitches.

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Some of the stitches and patterns to be studied include the Diamond Stitch; Cable Stitch and Moss Stitch along with other Aran pattern names such as Tree of Life, Lobster Claw, Trellis, Honeycomb, Zig Zag and Trinity.

Once created, the young knitters’ work will be combined into one large Aran quilt, which will then be displayed in the Aran Sweater Market for tourists to view.