Would you like to know the origin of some traditional knit designs? If so, we suggest that you take a tour of the knit jumpers and jackets in our Essentials 13 magazine. We are going to investigate the history of stitches like cables, jacquard and aran. Discover some of the curiosities and legends that lie behind the 12 knit jumpers and jackets. Of course, we rescue the classics in this selection of garments, but we also bring you Essentials details by Katia.
Knit jumpers with a history
This stitch method got its name from Joseph Marie Jacquard, the man who invented the first mechanical loom in 1801. However, the technique of working a pattern or fretwork design with various colours has multiple origins; ranging from Fair Isle, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the Andes. Stars, flowers and geometrical shapes are some of the most common traditional motifs in Jacquard stitch.
1. Man’s jumper with spectacular jacquard stitch fretwork made from Merino Shetland. Essentials: featuring an elaborate geometric bi-colour border in black & mustard at the cuffs, bottom band and yoke.
As its name indicates, this style of knitting originates from the Irish Aran Islands. There are various legends about the origins of the complex Aran sweater pattern designs, traditionally knitted in raw white. For example: each combination of cables and bobble stitches is said to represent a family clan. The jumpers repelled the water and helped conserve the body heat temperature of the farmers and fishermen.
4. Man’s jumper with a symmetrical pattern in zig-zag stitch, cable and diamonds. Essentials: traditional design with a zip at the right shoulder and the lower left side.
Guernseys: the fisherman’s jersey
This jumper comes from the Island of Guernsey in the English Channel, passing through the ports of the North Atlantic. The wives of the fishermen knitted these sweaters, which were also called ganseys and jerseys. The guernseys are knitted very tightly in a soft dark blue or grey yarn. The sleeves are knitted from the shoulder to the wrist with reinforcements at the underarms. In contrast, in the Scottish and Dutch fishing communities these knit jumpers included textured stitches and cables.
Did you know…?
Jersey, another Channel Island, gives its name to this garment in a large part of the Spanish speaking world.
8. Loose and simple sweater with high neck trim knitted completely in 1×1 ribbing using Big Atlantic. Essentials: original batwing sleeves sewn from the neckline, therefore giving form to the shoulders.
9. Men’s sweater with vertical knit textures at the upper part of the garment. Essentials: slim sleeves, but comfortable thanks to the 4×4 rib knit and an attractive open collar.
Bavarian knitting is one of the traditional textiles from the Alpine regions of Austria and Germany. Tyrolean folklore is full of round neck jackets in natural colours. There’s no doubt that the rich textures in cables, twisted and moss stitch in greens, browns and greys stand out.
11. Elaborate man’s jacket with a round neckline knitted from Love Wool 100 in cream. Essentials: rib stitch and cable stitch in a design knitted with large size needles to create the characteristic country look.
Knit your own story
First of all did you already know the history behind these knit stitches? We’d like to know if you know more about these knit jumpers and other techniques. Share your comments with us in this post if you find this feature interesting. Also tell us about your own knitting stories. Finally, if there is a particular theme that you would like us to write about for this blog. Thank you so much for reading!