So, I saw this in a banner ad today.
ARGH! It just pissed me off. It's just so utterly, entirely, completely FALSE!!!!
Lies! Lies! Lies!
Read your Starmore! Read your Rutt! All serious scholarly work has disproved this and now this stupid website is spreading falsehoods to sell their handknit goods. ARGH!
Ok, deep breath.
See, the website claims that Aran sweater patterns are specific to clans. That they were even used to identify bodies washed up at sea. NO!
Yes, stitches were passed mother to daugher. But not in a closely guarded family secret. More in the way that there weren't written patterns. Kinda like how recipies are passed down.
Rutt claims this stupid myth of sweaters being used to identify bodies comes from a turn-of-the-century reader given to English school children. In one story, a girl identifies her brother's(?) body because she recognizes her mistakes in his sweater. That's it.
Real Aran sweaters didn't really come into being until the 1850s. Even then it was mainly a tourist thing.
Also, it says that an Aran sweater " is water repellent, not allowing the rain to penetrate the sweater thus keeping the wearer dry. An Aran sweater can absorb 30% of its weight in water before feeling wet." Um, yes... kinda... most wool sweaters in general are water repellant, especially if the lanolin is left in. And, in the Aran Island community of fisherman, rain really wasn't what was getting this people wet. It was sea spray.
It's just irksome that they're using such a false hook to sell something. I feel that it demeans the craft, that they aren't willing to do any real research.
I'm really insterested in this Aran Sweater Museum, where the website claims to get its info. I'm wondering how scholarly it is? If the website is just twisting information?
This site has good info.
Sorry for the rant.