Just In Time For the Cold Weather

Today, I just finished assembling my Aran cable wrap. I got the idea from visiting woolen mills stores during my trip to Ireland. This wrap is actually a very popular item. The front overlapped piece reminded me of the wrap Tess was wearing in the latest movie adaptation of one of my favorite books, Tess of the D’ Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Her wrap was a type of shawl named sontag and had a triangular shape. Women used to wear a rugged shawl over their shoulders during the cold days that they could also wrap in front of their chest and tie their ends behind their waist to keep warm when they were working outside.

Jeanne Hebuterne in Red Shawl by Amedeo Modigliani

I liked this wrap from the beginning and gave it some thought whether I should buy it or make it myself. The insert of a “back” sweater piece in its simple design that was created by the attachment of two rectangles and use of decorative buttons gave the wrap a modern look. I was hesitant about knitting an almost six-foot long “scarf” using a repetitive pattern because I knew I might get bored and leave it unfinished. I thought about creating a new pattern. Then I realized that a classic cable design made more sense because eyes won’t be laid on the actual pattern trying to understand it but on the shape that the wrap is taking around shoulders and waist.

The store idea:

What I kept the same:

  • the pattern with five columns of “twists” worked over eight stitches in the middle section, two on each side over seven stitches and 1×1 ribbing on the outside over eight stitches on the unattached edge and ten stitches on the side with the attached edge to the back
  • the back was worked on added stitches directly on the edge of the middle section of the wrap without sewing
  • four button holes on one side of the back

What I changed:

  • I only had 100% Irish wool available instead of the combination of wool and cashmere. That is why the wrap sold in store seems to have a softer look.
  • I used metal looking buttons instead of rustic wooden ones that I sewed on both sides of the back instead of only one side. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that some of the buttons had a Celtic symbol on them.
  • the back has 1×1 ribbing to match the outside columns of the pattern

Other things to know:

  • material used: 400 grams (14.11 oz.) wool for the actual wrap and about 150 grams (5.29 oz) for the back for a large size
  • size needles: 5 mm or 8 US, cable needle, and crochet hook to hide knots
  • working time: about a week if knitting a couple of hours a day without interruptions
  • level of difficulty: beginners to intermediate

This wrap is very warm and definitely suitable for cold weather. A shirt or a light sweater is more than enough to wear underneath it for an entire day without getting too hot. It is a perfect project for someone that doesn’t mind knitting the same pattern over and over again or likes to practice knitting a basic cable pattern. I had thought many times I would never finish it. I found out in the end that it was absolutely worth the time and effort. I really like it and know I will be wearing this wrap quite often this winter.

Painting: http://www.wikiart.org, Public Domain, Jeanne Hebuterne in Red Shawl by Amedeo Modigliani

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