From its very origin, the Irish sweater has been intimately linked to clans and their identities. The many combinations of stitches seen on the garment are not incidental; far from it. They can impart vast amounts of information to those who know how to interpret them. The sweaters were, and remain, a reflection of the lives of the knitters, and their families.
On the islands, patterns were zealously guarded, kept within the same clan throughout generations. They were often used to help identify bodies of fishermen washed up on the beach following an accident at sea.
The Irish Fishermen's sweater has many attributes which made it suitable clothing for the island's community of fishermen and farmers.
1) It is water repellent, not allowing the rain to penetrate the sweater thus keeping the wearer dry.
2) A Fisherman sweater can absorb 30% of its weight in water before feeling wet.
3) The natural wool fiber used in the sweaters is breathable, drawing water vapor away from the skin and releasing it into the air, thus helping the body to maintain an ideal temperature.
4) Most importantly, of course, the sweater kept the wearer warm on the cold days and nights at sea or on the farm. Wool has an excellent insulating capacity due to the high volume of air in it, and this helps protect the wearer from excessive cold and heat.
Fishermen have always had to fight the elements. Warm fisherman sweaters were made out of necessity, not as a fashion statement, like many items of clothing today.
If we go back in time, say one hundred years, life for a fisherman was very hard.
The real Fisherman's sweater was a long garment, very close fitting, designed to protect a sailor's back and keep the body warm. Highly practical, very easy to put on, as a result of buttons on the side, and in unwashed sheep wool. The fisherman's sweaters were made in many colors like red, white, blue, and fancy patterns were eventually woven into the sweaters to depict ropes and ladders etc.
The Irish sweater is a symbol of simpler times when you could look good in something that was designed just to be practical and keep you warm, not to show off a label in order to be some kind of a status symbol like many garments manufactured today.
A Fisherman sweater used to be something that was seen as an item of warm and rugged work wear. Originally reserved for professional purposes, the Fisherman's sweater has now become, like jeans, a 20th century fashion clothing item.
Find a wide range of beautiful, handmade, stitched Irish fishermen's sweaters in different styles, sizes and glorious colors at Murphy's. Keep yourself warm and cozy on chilly winter nights with these high quality Irish fishermen sweaters.
Visit Murphy of Ireland and find a wide range of Fishermen Sweaters made to the highest traditional standards in quality.
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