Aran sweater patterns include features such as cable, diamond and half-diamond stitches. Additionally, the sweaters are typically made using natural wool to produce a water-repellent garment that kept wearers warm and dry.
The knitter may choose a cable stitch that represents a fisherman's ropes, symbolizing hope for a successful day. Diamond stitches represent small fields and may include the moss stitch to symbolize the seaweed farmers used as fertilizer, reflecting desires for success. Patterns may include half-diamond stitches to depict winding paths along a cliff.
An skilled knitter can take up to 60 days to knit an Aran sweater pattern, consisting of approximately 100,000 stitches arranged in various combinations. The stitches represent special meanings that reflect the legacies of the Irish Aran island communities. Historically, carefully-guarded patterns identified the clans who made and wore them.