Lobsters in the Cathedral -Update 4/27

Good Morning All,

I've completed the back design of the sweater I am making for myself and knitting is underway. I'll post a picture once I have enough of the design to show. The design is based on three patterns - the moss stitch and the aran stitches called Lobster Claw and Cathedral Cables. Aran sweaters supposedly came from the Aran Isles off the coast of Ireland. According to Rita Weiss each stitch has a special meaning. Each fisherman's family knitted sweaters with unique stitches so if the fisherman drowned his body could be identified when it washed up on shore. But historians believe the story a myth. Aran knitting as we know it was probably invented in the early part of the last century by local women as a means of making money. In the 1930's a german man published an article giving names to many of the stitches. He most likely had never been to the Aran Isles but the fascination of these designs began. I can remember the fisherman sweaters my grandmother knitted for me in the 1970's. This will be a fun project. Happy Knitting All, JRob.

Pic as promised. Repeat appears 2X to give you an idea of the back panel. Moss (Seed) stitch on ends, Lobster Claws coming to center then 3 Cathedral Cables. Pattern is an easy knit and not to complicated. JRob

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Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Sounds like an interesting blend of patterns. I look forward to the photos.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

SAPBrown's picture

Sounds interesting, you got me curious.
Are these the stitch patterns?

Lobster Claw

Cathedral Cables

JRob's picture

No, Rita Weiss' book has different stitch patterns with those names. The are not similar. I'll try to post a picture Sunday when I should have more of the sweater worked up. JRob

CLABBERS's picture

Great looking design! I like the little 1x1 cables. I just wrote an article on how to do those without a needle. I think they look great. It will be stunning when filling up the sweater. It will be nice and warm as well!
Well done.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

That is a nice design and goes perfectly with the red yarn. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the sweater comes together.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

MMario's picture


MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

raydio's picture

About the origin of "Aran Knitting" beyond the fanciful story still passed around:
There's "The True Story" of Aran knitting in Richard Rutt's _A History of Hand Knitting_. As per Rutt, two Irish women came to America with plans to emigrate and stayed on some unnamed island around Boston. They learned some cables, moss st., trellis etc. patterns from "some 'foreign immigrant woman' ".
They ladies decided not to stay in the US and returned to Ireland in 1908. They continued to knit the designs learned in the US and began to add patterns from what they saw sailors wearing. (If you look at traditional gansey patterns, you see quite a few "Aran" patterns done in very fine yarn, not the bulky white wool of Aran knits.)
The land of origin of the foreign immigrant teacher isn't stated, but she could have been Dutch since the have a long tradition of patterns worn by sailors (in particular) that echo the patterns of Cornwall, Jersey and other Channel Islands of the UK. The earliest print reference to "fisherman knits" dates to 1848. There are pictures from 1847 showing fishermen with tight "ganseys" on. There are descriptions of garments dating from around 1806 that could possibly have been patterned with one or another "Aran" pattern, but that's speculative.