Aran Knitting Is Simple (But Sure Doesn’t Look Like It!)

Aran knitting is a form of knitting where you use one solid color of yarn and essentially make patterns and cables by using various basic stitches and needle techniques. The Aran knitting technique is also sometimes called sweater knitting, cable knitting, or fisherman knitting, because Aran knitting techniques were used in the past primarily to knit cable sweaters. Today, Aran knitting techniques are used on a wide variety of hand knit items from the more traditional sweaters to blankets, scarves and bags.

While Aran knit garments and household items may look very complicated to knit, they really aren’t all that difficult to do once you have mastered a couple new techniques. Anyone with basic knitting skills can learn to do Aran knitting and create wonderful heirloom items for their friends and family.

In addition to traditional knitting needles, for Aran knitting you will also need to have a cable needle which you will use to make the special cable designs with. Cable needles come in various shapes and sizes. The shape and size you choose to use in your knitting is mostly about personal preference as they all perform the same function. Personally, I know that I prefer wooden cable needles because they are less likely to slide out of my projects.

Yarn selection is probably the most important step in knitting anything. I know I started out with a cheap and just “okay” yarn. I ended up with a just okay looking finished project. When you are putting a lot of your time into something, you are well advised to use the best materials you can afford to use. This is so that you can be proud of the way your finished project turns out and to insure that it will stand the test of time.

The absolute best yarns to use for Aran knitting are wools and cottons. You also only want to use a yarn which is a single color. The trick to Aran knitting is that you want the patterns you knit to stand out – not the yarn itself like in many other knitting projects. You do not want to use a yarn with a lot of fluff or extra bulk to it for Aran knitting. Stick to the easier yarns for your first couple projects and then branch out from there into the more creative yarns and fibers if you so desire.

While the cables and designs of Aran knitting look terribly daunting, they are created by moving stitches over to the cable needle and then back to the main project surface again. You will be varying the order in which you knit the stitches and this forms the cable designs. The process of Aran knitting really is that simple.

If you want to learn Aran knitting I would suggest picking up one of the many books on the subject or even better have someone show you how it is done. By learning a few basic techniques you can create some intricate looking patterns to add to your garments and blankets. As with any knitting project you will have the best results however, if you have someone show you how to do the techniques and can be there to assist you if something doesn’t look right. It will take a few rows of knitting before Aran knitting starts to look right or wrong.

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  1. I have a question about a term in the Afghan I am knitting. The afghan is called, Gift of Love Cable Afghan, In the 3rd row it says, P3. wrap3.P2. K2. The previous row said to K3, P3. K2 P3. My question is what is a wrap 3? There is nothing about it in the abbreviations, or special instructions. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Elizabeth.

  2. I looked up the pattern for you at Yarn inspirations they have an explanation and I have copied it for you Wrap 3 With yarn in back of work, slip next 3 stitches onto right-hand needle. Bring yarn to front of work. Slip 3 stitches back onto left-hand needle and bring yarn in front of stitches and to back of work. (K2tog. yo. K1) same 3 stitches.
    I hope this helps. It looks a lovely Afgan and I am down loading it now.

  3. I find that the colors in Aran wool is limited when knitting for children, purchase double knitting and two industrial 1ply’s and knit them together, this gives many interesting effects. This comes from knitting for charity in Southern Africa where weavers would often donate weaving yarn in one ply, this I knitted for together to form 4 ply, this worked very well and was cost effective.

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