What is Aran knitting anyway?  Aran knitting, sometimes called fisherman style, comes from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.  Knitters use one color of yarn to create textured patterns like cables, diamonds, and bobbles.

Today we started out with basic stitch patterns like ribbing, seed stitch, fisherman’s rib stitch, moss stitch, and two-stitch cables. Wow sounds like a lot but not really if you move through them deliberately.

"I can't believe I made all those stitches!"

From host Jessica Kaufman:
11:00am: This is a live report from cable knitting class. Here are some things you’d be hearing if you were a fly on our walls: “pshhhhhhhh!” (that was a slightly frustrated student letting out a therapeutic exhalation); “Is it time for a joke yet?” (that was our teacher, lightening the mood); and “If it’s ribbing, knit ’em as you see ’em!” (that was our assistant, teaching us a mantra for making things easier to remember). So far this morning we’ve plowed through 1×1 ribbing, 2×2 ribbing, seed stitch, moss stitch, stockinette, left cables, and right cables (both with and without a cable needle!). And it’s not even lunch time yet. Diane, the only Folk School First Timer in our class, says she feels encouraged, but that the cable on the far left side of her knitting has been mysteriously obscured somehow. We’ll work on that after lunch! Today is “square salad” day, featuring locally raised Brasstown Beef. More reporting later!

2:45pm: “Oh, shoot!” is the plaintive cry heard across the room, now that we’re in the thick of our cable lessons. The new skills are piling up and students are struggling to remember when to purl, when to knit, and what all the different terminology means. How many do we cable, and how often? Once the students had finished their first cabling exercise we made them do it all again but with cables going the opposite direction! If mutiny doesn’t happen, I’ll report back later this afternoon.

4:00 Time to visit the Yarn Circle, but only one student wishes to go. Most are ready to call it a day. They are not used to knitting so many new stitches and patterns in one session. Tomorrow is another day. A few more corny jokes and a wonderful rendition of Mrs. Fogarty’s Christmas cake by Rosy rounded out the day.

Students hard at work discussing the assignment.