Such a well loved item in our wardrobe, cashmere cable sweaters come in many designs with varying degrees of complexity… and so we decided to take a look into the origins of this popular pattern.
While the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland are famous for their complex “Aran Sweaters” traditionally knitted by Fishermen's wives for their husbands heading out to sea. It is noticeable that twisted patterns used, very closely resemble those used in the Book of Kells created 800 AD and in fact the monks illustrating the Book of Kells weren’t perceived as themselves being that original in that it seems some of their design ideas were actually inspired by carvings on Megalithic stone structures going back at least three thousand years.
(Image from the Book of Kells, note the twisted design on the man's leggings)
The designs on the Aran Sweaters, comprised of various knitting stitches, in particular the one we know so well “The Cable”. This stitch is said to be a wish for safety and good luck when fishing. Still relevant today, as we dash out and about in our busy lives!
From a fisherman’s work uniform to a fashion statement, cable sweaters became associated (thanks to Vogue in the 1950s) with classic icons such as Grace Kelly (below yachting) and in a lighter weight knit with more of a simple structure for “gentlemanly pursuits like golf and cricket”.
Ourselves, we knit our cable sweater in pure cashmere, for the ultimate in softness and warmth on those chilly winter days. Just think of those Megalithic stone carvers – I wonder if they ever paused to say to each other “Just imagine! We could be in “Vogue” in another 3 thousands years!”