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Aran Knitting Hardcover – 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Alice Starmore's definitive explanation of an Irish Aran sweater and its development is surprising and fascinating. Arans are not ancient, and--contrary to popular legend--they were not developed as fishermen's garments. Starmore offers fairly convincing evidence that "true" Aran sweaters were adapted in this century from Scottish fishing ganseys. They are unarguably warm, practical, and beautiful, and here they are gorgeously photographed. Starmore, one of the knitting world's living treasures, includes specific cable patterns, patterns for 14 garments (both Aran and Celtic-style), and a clear, sensible guide to designing original Aran sweaters.

From Library Journal

A native of the Hebrides, Starmore is known internationally as a knitwear designer, teacher, and the author of a number of critically acclaimed knitting books. Here she sets off to examine aran knitting, its origins and history, and the techniques used to produce the richly cabled sweaters that are enjoying a renewed popularity among today's knitters. This book can be enjoyed on three levels: as a history of aran knitting, as a complete 14-lesson workshop on knitting aran patterns from charts, or as a collection of Starmore's original sweater, cap, and shawl designs, including full instructions and charted patterns. The garments, photographed on location in the Aran Islands, are inspirational fare for all knitters, while Starmore's designs will be of special interest to the more experienced. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Interweave Press; 1st edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883010330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883010331
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ah, the original! Commands breath-taking prices on Amazon and other sites. Knitters everywhere cheered when they heard this precious volume would be reprinted. Not just re-printed, republished in a new edition. Many if not most of the sweaters were re-photographed- and once again, the photos are gorgeous. The beginning part on the history of Aran knitting has a retrospective that may, or may not, add to your knitting experience. The one additional project is a decidedly non-Aran cardigan with set-in sleeves and waist shaping. It is lovely and I may make it for myself.
That's not to say the book is perfect. What I didn't like about it (why I gave it 4 in place of 5) stars:
1) the new introduction is a bit too smug for me. Not only that, the author lays claim to an anchor cable pattern- and criticizes others for using it. Yet I found the same cable pattern in a much older (predating the first edition of Aran Knitting) stitch dictionary.
2) the format is smaller than the original, so the charts are smaller too. The binding makes me afraid to lay it flat enough to enlarge the charts. The hard-bound book with sewn pages can lie flat enough to scan or photocopy.
3) the most beautiful sweater, the new one, comes in the most limited sizes. The largest size would fit my size 4 daughter. Most knitters will look, sigh, and knit elsewhere.

Summary: if you are a knitter, you need this book on your shelf.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This eagerly-awaited paperback edition of Alice Starmore's beautifully photographed, definitive work on the history and techniques of Aran knitting includes all of the text, charts, and patterns of the original 1997 hardcover book, and nearly all of the original photos (a few swatch photos have been replaced by new garment photos). The revised and expanded edition also contains a brand-new Preface, and one entirely new pattern (Eala Bahn) that incorporates Celtic knotwork motifs into a cardigan with precise body shaping.

The new Preface (The Infinite Line) discusses how well the author has succeeded in demolishing the myths surrounding Aran knitting, which was her reason for writing and publishing the original Aran Knitting. The Preface also talks about the author's three modern contributions to the recognized motifs of "Aran knitting": the anchor, the heart, and the knotwork motif from her Sigil design (included in this book). All three of these personally designed motifs use the author's unique technique for knitting the unbroken, continuous line that characterizes all interwoven Celtic knotwork patterns.

The extremely popular St. Brigid pullover design, with all its complex cables and knotwork, has shed its fringe, been rephotographed, and been rewritten for a slimmer small (32-34") figure, as well as the previous medium (36-38") and large (40-42") figures. Aranmor is now written in four sizes (32-35", 36-39", 40-44", 45-48"); Na Craga, in five sizes (32-34", 35-37", 38-40", 41-44", 45-48"); Irish Moss, in four sizes (32-34", 36-38", 40-42", 44-46"); and Boudicca's Braid, in two sizes (32-36", 38-44").
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book. It's "COFFEE TABLE" beautiful. The history of Aran knitting, and the photographt are gorgeous.

The sweaters that Alice Starmore designed are wonderful. The mens sweaters are timeless, but the women's sweaters are a bit dated. This could be easily remidied by adjusting the fit of the sweater while using the stitches that are part of the original design.

Alice Starmore has a number of nice stitch patterns in the book that are also listed in numerous other knitting stitch books (The Big Book of Knitting, The Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches Vol. 1 and 2, Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Knitting, Charted Knitting Designs by Barbara G. Walker, The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey, to name a few). There are a couple of Celtic cable patterns that are more intriguing, but is it worth buying the book for $100+ just to have access to those few stitches?

So, to sum it up. I would definitely give this book 5 stars on overall first impression, even on the sweater patterns and charts, but as far as the stitches within the book - about 4 stars, there are many other books out there with more comprehensive patterns. Buy the book if you want the history, the sweater patterns, but if you're looking for a good book on Aran Knit Stitches, try a stitch encyclopedia book and come up with your own designs.
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By A Customer on April 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
So far, I've found that I enjoy Starmore's work in general (I also have the Celtic Collection), though I'm only working on my second Starmore project. The pictures are great (of course, the color doesn't match perfectly, but that's to be expected), and the section on basic Aran stiches is wonderful. I'm looking forward to trying to design a sweater myself with some of those stiches, once I feel comfortable enough to buy that much yarn for such an iffy project. *grin* One warning--I've found Starmore's gauging to be a little odd. I think she pulls her yarn just a *little* tighter than most knitters.
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