ARAN STITCHES AND THEIR STORIES

Brandon Stanton, the famous photographer and creator of the blog Humans of New York, had been snapping pictures of New Yorkers and putting them online for a long time before anyone noticed. What changed? Stanton says his career really took off when he started posting mini-interviews alongside the photos that told the human stories behind the faces.

The lesson is that a beautiful and striking visual on its own often comes up empty. To truly resonate with people, it helps to tell a compelling story. The Irish are world-renowned for their storytelling and ‘gift of the gab’, so perhaps it’s not surprising that even their knitting patterns are full of rich meaning and dramatic narrative. When you put on an Aran sweater, it’s not just a snazzy style statement, but part of a grand storytelling tradition.

No one knows when the meanings of the stitches originated, exactly, and like any talisman, it’s up to you how much you believe. But it’s always fun to think about — below, some interpretations.

Shamrock-Divider3

 

the-cableTHE CABLE

 

The most popular Aran stitch is the cable, which stands for a fisherman’s ropes. The cable stitch represents the wish for safety and good fortune at sea. Wear a cable stitch when you want to feel protected in the world and ward off bad luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the-diamondTHE DIAMOND

 

The diamond stitch resembles the shape of the fishermen’s mesh nets, and is the unmistakable symbol for wealth and success. When you want to get paid, or ask for a raise, rock a diamond stitch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

lattice-or-basket-stitchLATTICE or BASKET STITCH

 

Lattice or basket stitches symbolize the fisherman’s basket and the wish for a big catch. Do you see a fishy pattern here? They are called fisherman’s sweaters for a reason!

We say: wear a lattice stitch when buying lottery tickets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the-blackberryTHE BLACKBERRY

 

The blackberry represents nature in all its glory! Wear a blackberry stitch to ground you and feel deeply connected to earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the-mossTHE MOSS

 

The moss stitch symbolizes abundance and growth (sometimes it’s used as a ‘filler’ in diamonds) or broadly speaking: a high-yielding productivity. Wear a moss stitch when you want to get things done and grow fast!

 

 

 

 

 

the-honeycombTHE HONEYCOMB

 

This stitch is all about the industrious honeybee: it’s an ode to hard work and its sweet, sweet rewards. Wear a honeycomb stitch when you want to have a killer day at work.

 

 

 

 

zigzagTHE ZIG ZAG

 

The zig zag stitches are also known as Marriage Lines: they’re thought to symbolize the highs and lows of married life.

When you’re going through a rocky patch, don a zig zag stitch to remind yourself to keep faith. When your relationship is going great, a zig zag reminds you to not to be too smug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the-tree-of-lifeTHE TREE OF LIFE

 

One of the most philosophical stitches, the Tree of Life symbolizes life’s rites of passage. When going through one of life’s momentous change (say, a marriage, a graduation, a birth, a death), it’s good to keep perspective of the bigger picture. The Tree of Life stitch helps us do that.