Fashionable Knitting takes a Historical Turn

History Lesson One

The other review I wrote for the Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo was about a presentation called Eleanor Roosevelt:  History of Knitting given by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic local historian, Ann Colopy.  The talk was mostly a biographical sketch of Eleanor Roosevelt, both her private life as well as her public persona.  According to our speaker, Eleanor found great solace in knitting as therapy but also sought outreach programs in which to make her knitting meaningful and purposeful for someone.  I believe the guild invited her to hear of A First Lady’s knitting needs, desires, influences, and aspirations but also the lecture and lecturer invited us to become reflective and consider our own practice, how our surroundings and/or time in life impacts our knitting.

History Lesson Two

When I first perused Ravelry, I not only loved looking at everyone’s knitting, I also found myself reading the notes that people wrote about their projects.  I immediately noticed different terminology and jargon.   “I have knit” versus “I have knitted.”  “While versus whilst.”  Jumper?  It looks like a sweater to me, I was thinking.  And, of course all of these phrases are correct in someone’s dialect and in a land far or near and you begin to appreciate Ravelry’s international flair.  Well, on the notion that a jumper is a sweater and keeping in mind that history is meant to deepen one’s understanding of the thing they are immersed in, I have been asked to share the following introduction and timeline on the History of the Aran Jumper for your perusal.  Both Paul, the author of the timeline, and I thought readers, here might be interested in the following.


PAUL MURPHY:  My name is Paul Murphy and I am the Managing Director of Murphy of Ireland, an Irish heritage clothing retailer in business for over seventy-five years, based in Co. Donegal in Ireland.  I produced this interactive timeline called ‘The History of the Aran Jumper’.  The timeline is posted, below.


Over the past one hundred and twenty-five years, the Aran Jumper has evolved from a practical garment worn by residents of an archipelago off the west coast of Ireland, to a fashion statement brandished by celebrities with worldwide renown. The intricate patterns and expert craftsmanship evident in the design of the jumper now have a global appeal.

From the time that knitting was first encouraged on the Aran Islands in the late nineteenth century, the Aran Jumper has become a much-loved clothing accessory, not least among some of the world’s most recognizable personalities. Style icon Grace Kelly was notably pictured in an Aran Jumper during a nineteen fifties photoshoot, with modern day celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexa Chung extending its fashion appeal into this generation.

This timeline by Murphy of Ireland is designed to take you on a historical journey from the Aran Jumper’s humble beginnings through to its current status as a global industry. What was once a local trade has grown into big business, with Aran Jumpers being featured by international designers in many of the world’s fashion hotspots.


2 responses to “Fashionable Knitting takes a Historical Turn”

    • I liked especially doing this for a fellow blogger who asked. I do love history and there was that vintage Vogue Knitting magazine in his work. :) Good luck with your project!

      Liked by 1 person

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