People have been making products out of British Wool for centuries, whether that’s in the cosy confines of their home or manufacturers on a larger, industrial scale. One of our most popular products made from British Wool and sold all over the world is the iconic Aran jumper. But what are the origins of this classic piece of clothing? Let’s take a look.

The origins of the Aran jumper

The Aran wool chunky jumper is thought to have first been worn by Irish fishermen in the late 1800s, whose wives would craft these unique and complex garments for their loved ones to keep them warm while they were out at sea. Made from locally-sourced wool, they have cable patterns on the body and sleeves. A single jumper would usually be made of up to 100,000 stitches, and fishermen’s wives would knit them together and pass down their skills to their children.

They were introduced to this style of knitting by fisherman’s wives from other regions of Britain and Ireland, including Guernsey. Guernsey jumpers have similar stitch patterns but were worked in a finer wool to that available to Aran Islanders. Aran women took the initiative and began knitting using thicker local wool which was unwashed to retain its lanolin, a form of wax which is water-repellent.

They would have been traditionally knitted by hand – which we still think is possibly the best Aran jumper you can get if you know a good knitter! Ours and most of the commercial Aran jumpers available are now made on knitting machines, but we keep it as local as possible. We still manufacture locally in the UK and use local wool – 100% British Wool – from the sheep in the fields around us, and we’re still using the same patterns that would have been used over a 100 years ago. If you’re looking for a traditional Aran jumper that sticks to traditional values and materials, look no further.

Aran jumper crew neck collar on model
The traditional Aran jumper

At Glencroft, we have a wide range of jumper styles to choose from, made from the finest locally-sourced wool Britain has to offer. If you’re looking for high-quality wool products, take a look at our range today.