At inception, the woolen sweaters were exclusively made from pure merino sheep wool. The fabric was not treated with any chemicals neither was it dyed. As a result, the sweaters were only available in two colors, white and black; the color of merino sheep.

Such untreated wool contained a compound called lanolin. Lanolin gave the sweater some water repelling capacity. A very desirable feature which guaranteed the fishermen would be warm and dry as they fished in the Atlantic.

Today, wool is still used but is modified to meet the modern design needs. The thickness of the yarn is varied for the purpose of knitting heavy sweaters for the cold seasons and lighter yarns for sweaters suited for the warmer seasons.

Also, the wool is dyed to produce many other colors. Moreover, modern designs may blend the wool with other fabrics like linen, cotton, polyester and silk.

While traditional sweaters were purely hand knit, the new generation sweaters are either hand knit or machine made. However, most are machine made. Irish woolen sweaters can also be hand loomed.

Classification of Irish wool sweaters

Irish woolen sweaters can be classified using various parameters. The design of the neck, stich pattern and method of manufacture are some of the most common features used to distinguish the sweaters.

Traditional Vs Modern Irish Wool Sweaters

We’ll have a deep look at these parameters, in so doing expound on the classifications of the sweaters.

  • Method of manufacture.

As mentioned earlier, Irish wool sweaters are knit in three ways. Hand knitting whereby one knits the sweater stich by stitch using bare hands. It produces the best quality sweater as the knitter pays attention to details.

The patterns are conspicuous and the knits are tight hence very durable and maintain shape for a long time. This will cost the highest.

For the hand loomed sweaters, an individual operates the loom to make the stiches. Well defined patterns are achieved and the sweater is of good quality and durable but not to the level of the hand knit sweaters.

As the name insinuates, machine knit sweaters are knit using machines. Machines produce sweaters of relatively low quality compared to the two former methods. The fabric is thinner and stretches and loses shape quickly. Its durability is low.

Keep this in mind as you place your order.

  • Shape of the neck.

The neck of a sweater is very conspicuous and will inevitably be noticed. Therefore it is very important to pick a neck design that not only flatters but also complements your body shape, especially the shape of the head and size of your neck. And of course on that will blend well with your outfit.

There are many neck designs. The once you will frequently see are: V-neck, crewneck, cowl neck and roll neck.

  • Stich pattern.

You cannot mistake the stich patterns on Irish wool sweater. They are uniquely beautiful and also have historical significance. Any sweater you pick will not lack any of these: cable, diamond, zigzag, basket, tree of life and honeycomb patterns.

You may want to know the meaning of a particular pattern on sweater before placing your order.

Why Irish woolen sweaters

There is a lot in the Irish sweater you cannot find in any other sweater. The Irish woolen sweater combine the benefits of wool as a great fabric and the extensive Irish experience in making sweaters.

This is why you will not regret the decision to buy an Irish wool sweater. Irish woolen sweaters are:

  • High quality and durable.
  • Cosy and comfortable.
  • Classy and trendy.
  • Very affordable.
  • Friendly to the skin i.e. do not irritate.
  • Wrinkle resistant.
  • Unique and exclusive.
  • Of a large variety.
  • Inflammable/ a fire retardant.

Taking care of woolen sweaters

When it comes to woolen sweaters you cannot afford not to know. What is the use of buying an expensive sweater that will not last?

Foremost, what wears out a sweater quickly is “overwearing” it. It’s always prudent to purchase more than one similar sweaters so that you do not strain that favorite one.

Secondly, check the tag at that back collar of your sweater. It contains most information you need to know as regards to taking care of your sweater.

Also ensure you get it right during cleaning. A simple rule applies. If it is hand knit, hand wash; if it is machine knit, machine wash.

Yet as much as you can, hand wash your woolen sweater. After washing do not wring it. Simply wrap it in a dry towel and roll over. The towel will draw out the water. Wringing causes the sweater to loose shape quickly.

To dry, lay it on flat surface. Hanging would cause it to stretch and it will appear oversize next time you wear it. Never use a dryer. It shrinks the wool.

Storage. Many people are fond of hanging sweaters in wardrobes. Unknown to them, they stretch the sweater. The best way to store your woolen sweater is to fold it and store in a dry and clean bag.

F. Aldea is Marketing communications consultant at Linked agency, an Ireland-based advertising consumer experience consultancy that improves agencies in the Ireland generate excellent client experiences.