Thank you to everyone who posted or sent notes about yesterday’s blanket. I haven’t kept up with Aran style crochet, but I do have two pattern leaflets about it published in the early 1980s. The first is the one I already mentioned:
It’s written for worsted weight yarn yarn and sizes H, J and K hooks. It includes patterns for a stole (which turns out to be the thing I enlarged), a poncho, a pieced lap robe, a vest, a pullover and a cardigan. Styles are rather unisex (button placement on the cardigan and vest would vary, of course). Sizes range from a kid-size extra small (24-26" to a large 38"-40". The best of the lot are the stole (as lap blanket, as it’s too heavy in my opinion to be worn as a wrap), and the poncho. The pullover is less lumpen looking than the other designs, but it’s a strange combo of extremely heavy work and loose hole-y areas, making it too hot to wear indoors, but too ventilated for many to wear as an outdoor outer layer.
The other booklet I have is this one:
It’s an American School of Needlework leaflet, listing Mary Thomas as the author. It’s also written for worsted weight yarn and size G, J and K hooks. It offers up two basic designs – the bathrobe style wrap sweater and a pullover, written separately for both men and women. Of the two leaflets the designs in the book by Ough are better – worked tighter with less of that stitch out of size crochet at home look, with more stitch variety, and better fit.
In terms of technical details, the two do vary a bit. The designs in the Ough leaflet are worked vertically, with the crocheted rows running the north-south length of the pieces. The Thomas designs are worked in the more conventional east-west direction, across the pieces. I think this helps improve the drape and texture of the Ough designs. Still both share the same weaknesses – heavy, heavy, heavy final products, unstretchy imitation ribbing at cuffs and hem, and a general boxy/slightly odd fit due to the different elasticity factors of the various stitches employed.
Now I note that my familiarity with the style pretty much stalled out in the early ’80s. I haven’t touched it since, and have given more recent books and leaflets only a passing glance. I’ve seen a couple of books on "Fisherman Design Crochet" by Ann Pomeroy, but I haven’t looked at them closely or worked anything from them. Other crochet books also delve into this specialty, mostly as single projects. I hope that the style has evolved somewhat. That stitches and textures are better expressed, that the "ground fabric" is more wearable, that lighter weight yarns are used, and that fit/finish has evolved, too.