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Men’s Aran Sweater Knitting Pattern

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In this post, you will see a men’s Aran sweater knitting pattern.

This raglan sweater is knit in a few different cable stitch patterns with ribbed lower bands, neck, and cuffs.

Scroll down to view the free pattern or you can grab the inexpensive printer-friendly ad-free PDF here.

men's aran sweater

Where do Aran sweaters come from?

This type of sweater design is also known as a fisherman’s sweater.

They originated in the Aran Islands in Connemara, off the west coast of Ireland. 

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The sweaters were traditionally knit in sheep’s wool, in a natural color – either off-white or cream. 

aran sweater with a diamond cable design

A symbol of typical Irish sweaters

Originally this type of sweater was knit by family members for the island men who worked as fishermen and farmers. 

They used pure new wool – sheep’s wool as it retained natural oils making it waterproof and perfect for a day on the boat in the Irish weather. 

Many knitters have designed garments with Irish knitwear as their main inspiration looking at both the warmth and comfort these particular pieces can bring. 

Aran sweater on the needles

The yarn I used

I made the sweater using Lion Brand Wool-Ease in the color Natural Heather.

The yarn weight is medium #4 and is a blend of fibers – 80% acrylic and 20% wool.

You can match any yarn to be used with the needle sizes given in the pattern (4 mm/US 6 and 5 mm/US 8 needles).

Aran sweater yarn

The Design Inspiration

This fisherman knit sweater design was inspired by an Aran knit sweater seen worn by actor Graham McTavish in the TV show Men In Kilts. 

Although this type of sweater is seen to belong more to Aran islands knitwear than Scottish clans, they have on occasion been seen worn with a kilt.

Instead of the honeycomb cable, I decided to use a diamond cable for the main design feature. 

Alongside the main diamond cable in the center of each panel, there are simple cable twists (fisherman’s ropes) on either side, then moss stitch borders.

Graham McTavish aran sweater
Image copyright to Men in Kilts @Starz.com

The details in the men’s Aran sweater…

The sleeves of the sweater are raglan, which means that each sleeve extends in one piece fully to the collar, leaving a diagonal seam from underarm to collarbone.

Cable stitch patterns are used for the main panel detail as you can see in the photographs. 

The neckline is created by picking up stitches once the pieces are sewn together, then knitting in 1×1 ribbing to create the neck. 

The seams are sewn together using the mattress stitch for an invisible join. 

You can see the full instructions and measurements in inches and cm below (including the chest circumference).

Aran sweater back view

What Do The Stitches In Aran Knitting Represent?

The most commonly seen stitch pattern in an Aran sweater is the cable, of which there are many variations. 

These are said to symbolize fishermen’s ropes, often knit in vertical columns.

Lattice or Basket stitches are used to represent the fisherman’s basket giving the hopes of safety and good luck while at sea.

The diamond stitch represents the shapes of fishing net mesh and is a traditional symbol of wealth and good fortune. 

The moss stitch is used to symbolize abundance and growth. It is often used as a filler in diamonds but in this design, it is used on either side of each main piece. 

Irish sweater knit with cables

How To Wear An Aran Sweater?

This fisherman sweater is a timeless design that can be worn again and again during the autumn or winter months.

Wear it with your favorite pair of jeans, boots, and an accessory like a beanie or cap while going for a brisk walk with your dog.

The wearer will definitely be warm and cozy, this original hand-knit sweater will be perfect when there is a chill in the air.

Almost as if you are in the Irish countryside, in Dublin, Kilkenny, or County Donegal you can wear your Aran crafts with pride when you go out and about in your sweater.

mens aran sweater

Resources and tutorials you may find helpful in following this pattern

This pattern is great for any intermediate knitters.

knitted aran sweater design

Men’s Aran Sweater Knitting Pattern

Grab your inexpensive ad-free, PDF printable pattern in my shop here.

Grab all 10 of the Outlander Men’s Knitting Patterns in my shop here.

Notes

This Aran sweater knitting pattern will work up into the perfect cable knit you need to stay cozy!

The sweater features an intricate cable design on the front, back, and sleeves with ribbed lower bands, cuffs, and a ribbed collar.

If you like this pattern you may also enjoy Roger’s Sweater Knitting Pattern.

You can view all of the other Outlander Men’s Knits Here.

Copyright Info

  • Please do not copy, sell, redistribute or republish this pattern. 
  • If you wish to share this pattern, link to the pattern page only.
  • You may sell items produced using this pattern.
  • Do NOT use the copyrighted photos for your product listing.
  • For the copyright T&C’s please read my Terms of Use.

Skill Level – Intermediate

Aran cable knit sweater for men and dog sweater

Size Information

Adult/Woman/Man

To fit bust/chest size as follows:

  • 34 inches/86 cm
  • 36 inches/91 cm
  • 38 inches/97 cm
  • 40 inches/102 cm
  • 42 inches/107 cm
  • 44 inches/112 cm

Actual Measurement

  • 38.5 inches/98 cm
  • 40 inches/102 cm
  • 43.75 inches/111 cm
  • 45.25 inches/115 cm
  • 47.25 inches/120 cm
  • 48.75 inches/124 cm

Full Length

  • 27.25 inches/69 cm
  • 27.25 inches/69 cm
  • 28.25 inches/72 cm
  • 28.25 inches/72 cm
  • 29.25 inches/74 cm
  • 29.25 inches/74 cm

Sleeve Length

  • 17.25 inches/44 cm
  • 17.75 inches/45 cm
  • 18 inches/46 cm
  • 19 inches/48 cm
  • 19 inches/48 cm
  • 19 inches/48 cm

*Please note the sleeve length is adjustable.

In the photographs, the model is wearing a size – 42 inches/107 cm).

The pattern is written for all sizes starting with the smallest size – with changes for different sizes listed in all necessary places.

To follow the pattern more easily, circle or highlight all numbers pertaining to your size before beginning.

aran knitwear for men

Pattern Notes

  • The sweater is worked in 4 pieces: Back, Front, and 2 Sleeves.
  • Each piece is worked from the lower edge upwards, beginning with a ribbed lower band.
  • Circular needles are used to accommodate the number of stitches.
  • Work back and forth on the circular needle as if working on straight needles.
Pattern pieces for sweater

The Supplies You Need

Yarn

Needles

Notions

Gauge – 18 sts x 24 rows = 4×4 inches /10×10 cm over moss stitch – with the 5mm (US 8) needles.

men's aran sweater

Abbreviations

  • Beg = Beginning
  • CO = Cast on
  • Cont = Continue(ing)
  • Dec = Decrease (Cast off)
  • Foll = Following
  • K = Knit
  • K2tog = Knit the next 2 stitches together
  • P = Purl
  • P2tog = Purl the next 2 stitches together
  • PM – Place marker
  • PSSO – Pass slipped stitch over
  • Rem = Remaining
  • Rep = Repeat
  • RS = Right side
  • SL – Slip one stitch
  • St(s) = Stitch(es)
  • SM – Slip marker
  • WS = Wrong side
  • Work each stitch in the manner it presents = this means to work each stitch as it faces you – you will knit the knit stitches and purl the purls.

Cable Stitch Abbreviations

  • C4B – (cable 4 back) – slip 2 stitches onto the cable needle and hold at the back of the work, knit 2, then knit the 2 stitches from the cable needle.
  • C6B – (cable 6 back) – slip 3 stitches onto the cable needle and hold at the back of the work, knit 3, then knit the 3 stitches from the cable needle.
  • C4L – Cable 4 left by slipping the next 3 sts to the front on cable needle, K1, K3 from the cable needle.
  • C4R – Cable 4 right by slipping the next st to the back on the cable needle, K3, K1 from the cable needle.
  • CR4L – Cross 4 left by slipping the next 3 sts to the front on the cable needle, P1, K3 from the cable needle.
  • CR4R – Cross 4 right by slipping the next st to back on the cable needle, K3, P1 from the cable needle.

Stitch Pattern Notes

1 x 1 ribbing = K1, P1 (It is obtained by alternating knit and purl stitches in one row and “knitting by pattern” in every next row. This means that we make a knit stitch when the previous row stitch looks like V and make a purl stitch when the previous looks like a bump.)

Cast On: even number of stitches.

  • Row 1 (RS): (k1, p1) till the end of the row.
  • Row 2 (WS): (k1, p1) till the end of the row.

Repeat these two rows.

aran sweater with a diamond cable design

Men’s Cable Knit Sweater Pattern

Back

With 4mm (US 6) knitting needles, CO 86 (90, 98, 102, 106, 110) sts.

Work in 1 x 1 ribbing until the piece measures 2 inches from the CO edge.

Change to 5mm (US 8) knitting needles and proceed as follows;

Foundation Row 1 (RS): P1, K1 9 (11, 15, 17, 19, 21) times, PM, P4, K6, P4, PM, P2, K4, P2, PM, P9, K6, P9, PM, P2, K4, P2, PM, P4, K6, P4, PM, K1, P1 9 (11, 15, 17, 19, 21) times to end.

Foundation Row 2 (WS): K1, P1 9 (11, 15, 17, 19, 21) times, SM, K4, P6, K4, SM, K2, P4, K2, SM, K9, P6, K9, SM, K2, P4, K2, SM, K4, P6, K4, SM, P1, K1 9 (11, 15, 17, 19, 21) times to end.

Now you will continue in the following cable pattern:

  • Row 1 (RS): P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P9, C6B, P9, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 2 (WS): Work in moss stitch (K1, P1) to the first marker, SM, then work each stitch in the manner it presents, slipping the markers until you get to the final marker, SM, work in moss stitch (P1, K1) to end.
  • Row 3: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P8, C4R, C4L, P8, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 4: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 5: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P7, C4R, K2, C4L, P7, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 6: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 7: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P6, C4R, K4, C4L, P6, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 8: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 9: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P5, C4R, K6, C4L, P5, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 10: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 11: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, C4R, K8, C4L, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 12: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 13: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P3, C4R, K10, C4L, P3, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 14: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 15: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P2, C4R, K12, C4L, P2, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 16: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 17: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P2, C4RL, K12, C4LR, P2, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 18: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 19: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P3, C4RL, K10, C4LR, P3, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 20: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 21: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, C4RL, K8, C4LR, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 22: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 23: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P5, C4RL, K6, C4LR, P5, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 24: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 25: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P6, C4RL, K4, C4LR, P6, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 26: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 27: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P7, C4RL, K2, C4LR, P7, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 28: Rep Row 2.
  • Row 29: P1, K1 to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P8, C4RL, C4LR, P8, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, K1, P1 to end.
  • Row 30: Rep Row 2.

Rows 1-30 form the cable pattern, rep those rows until your back piece measures 17.25 (17, 17.25, 17, 17.25, 17) inches, ending with a WS row.

Shape Raglan

Still working in the cable pattern as established…

  • Row 1 (RS): Cast off 4 (4, 5, 5, 6, 6) sts at beg of the row, work in patt to the end of the row. 82 (86, 93, 97, 100, 104)sts.
  • Row 2 (WS): Cast off 4 (4, 5, 5, 6, 6) sts at beg of the row, work in patt to the end of the row. 78 (82, 88, 92, 94, 98)sts. (112, 118, 122, 124, 128)sts.
  • Row 3 (RS): Dec 1 st at each end of the next row.
  • Row 4 (WS): Work in patt.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 working in the established pattern and forming new patterns as the stitches decline until you have 32 (34, 36, 38, 40, 42) left **.

Leave these rem sts on a spare needle/stitch holder or cable with end caps.

Back piece of sweater

Front

Work as given for back until you have 48 (50, 52, 54, 56, 58) sts.

Shape Neck

Next Row (RS): Dec 1 st, work in patt for 13 sts, leave rem 34 (36, 38, 40, 42, 44) sts on a stitch holder.

Working on these 13 sts only, proceed as follows:

Row 1 (RS): Patt to last 4 sts, P2tog, P2.

Work 4 rows, dec 1 st at the raglan edge as before in every row, AT THE SAME TIME, dec 1 st at neck edge in every row.

Next Row: K1, SL, K2tog, PSSO.

Next Row: P2tog. Fasten off.

With the right side facing work on the rem 34 (36, 38, 40, 42, 44) sts, slip 20 (22, 24, 26, 28, 30) sts onto a stitch holder, rejoin the yarn to the rem 14 sts and patt to last 4 sts, K2tog, K2.

Next Row: P2, P2tog, Patt to end.

Work 4 rows, dec 1 st at neck edge in every row AT THE SAME TIME dec 1 st at the raglan edge as before in every row.

Next Row: K3tog, k1.

Next Row: P2tog. Fasten off.

Front piece of sweater

Sleeves (Make 2 The Same)

With 4mm (US 6) knitting needles CO 38 (38, 42, 42, 46, 46) sts.

Work in 1 x 1 ribbing until the piece measures 2 inches from the CO edge, ending with a RS row.

Next row: Rib 3 (3, 5, 5, 7, 7), (M1, Rib 1) 32 times, Rib 3 (3, 5, 5, 7, 7). 70 (70, 74, 74, 78, 78) sts.

Change to 5mm (US 8) knitting needles and proceed as follows:

  • Row 1 (RS): 70 sts = K1, (74 sts = K1, P1, K1 / 78 sts = K1, P1, K1, P1, K1), PM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P9, C6B, P9, SM, P2, C4B, P2, SM, P4, C6B, P4, SM, 70 sts = K1, (74 sts = K1, P1, K1 / 78 sts = K1, P1, K1, P1, K1).
  • Row 2 (WS): 70 sts = P1, (74 sts = P1, K1, P1 / 78 sts = P1, K1, P1, K1, P1) to marker, SM, K4, P6, K4, SM, K2, P4, K2, SM, K9, P6, K9, SM, K2, P4, K2, SM, K4, P6, K4, SM, 70 sts = P1, (74 sts = P1, K1, P1 / 78 sts = P1, K1, P1, K1, P1).
  • Row 3: 70 sts = K1, (74 sts = K1, P1, K1 / 78 sts = K1, P1, K1, P1, K1)to marker, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P8, C4R, C4L, P8, SM, P2, K4, P2, SM, P4, K6, P4, SM, 70 sts = K1, (74 sts = K1, P1, K1 / 78 sts = K1, P1, K1, P1, K1).
  • Row 4: Rep Row 2.

Keeping continuity of patt set (following the original cable pattern on pages 8-10) and working the moss st patt set at the beg and end of each row as above – 70 sts = K1, (74 sts = K1, P1, K1 / 78 sts = K1, P1, K1, P1, K1).

Starting with the 5th row you will now increase.

Row 5: Inc 1 st at each end of next row (working in cable patt as established).

Cont to increase 1 st at each end of every foll 8th (6th, 6th, 6th, 4th, 4th) row to 82 (84, 90, 92, 94, 96)sts. Make new moss st patts at either side of the main cable patt as you increase.

Cont without shaping until sleeve measures 17.25 (17.5, 18, 19, 19, 19) inches or the length required, ending with a WS row.

*Please note – you can adjust the sleeve length here to make it longer or shorter according to your own preferences.

Shape Raglan

Cast off 4 (4, 5, 5, 6, 6) sts in patt at beg of next 2 rows. 74 (76, 80, 82, 82, 84)sts.

Row 1 (RS): Dec 1 st at each end of row.

Row 2: (WS) Work in patt to end of the row.

Cont to work rows 1 and 2 until you have 28 sts on the needle.

Leave the rem 28sts on a st holder.

Making Up / Finishing

Tutorial

You can find a mattress stitch tutorial here.

Tip

It’s best to work on a large surface (like a dining table or desk) so you can lie the pieces out flat and see where you will be seaming.

Step 1

Seam the back right raglan sleeve seam using the mattress stitch. Make sure the right sides are facing you.

Step 2

Join the right sleeve seam to the front raglan seam using the mattress stitch.

Make sure the right sides are facing you.

Step 3

Join the left raglan sleeve seam to the front raglan seam using the mattress stitch.

Make sure the right sides are facing you.

Step 4

Leave the left-back raglan seam open for now.

With the RS of work facing you, use the 4mm (US 6) knitting needles and do the following:

Work across the 28sts left on the st holder at the top left sleeve as follows: (K1, K2tog) 9 times, K1, pick up and knit 6 sts evenly along the left side of neck, work across 20 (22, 24, 26, 28, 30)sts left on the stitch holder at front of the neck as follows: K1 (2, 3, 0, 1, 2), K2tog, (K2, K2tog) 4 (4, 4, 6, 6, 6) times, K1 (2, 3, 0, 1, 2), pick up and knit 6 sts evenly along the right side of neck, work across the 28 sts left on the st holder at the top right of the sleeve as follows: (K1, K2tog) 9 times, K1 and work across 32 (34, 36, 38, 40, 42) sts left on the stitch holder at the back of the neck as follows: K3 (4, 5, 2, 3, 4), K2tog, (K2, K2tog) 6 (6, 6, 8, 8, 8)times, K3 (4, 5, 2, 3, 4). 90 (94, 98, 98, 102, 106) sts.

Please note the neck is now worked back and forth – not joined in the round.

Work in 1 x 1 ribbing (K1, P1) for 4 inches (or your desired length), ending with a WS row.

Step 5

Join rem back raglan seam and cont up the neck ribbing (reversing the seam for the rem half, so it looks neat when turned over).

Step 6

Fold neck ribbing in half to WS and catch down loosely on the WS. This creates a folded over collar (crew neck) with a neat edge.

Step 7

Join side and sleeve seams using the mattress stitch.

Then you can weave in any leftover loose ends.

I also like to use a lint roller to clean the garment afterward in case of any fluff, pet hair, etc!

knitted aran sweater and dog jumper

I love seeing your finished projects!

If you enjoyed making the sweater, I’d love to see yours on Instagram, be sure to tag me @handylittleme or #handylittleme to be featured.

If you are on Facebook, stop over to the handylittleme Facebook group and share a photo!  

I’d love to see your work.

Happy Knitting!

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2 Comments

  1. Is there a mistake about needle sizes in the pattern? In the section about sizes needed, you indicate only 4.5mm or US7, and 5mm (US 8) needles, but in the body of the pattern, you say to begin the ribbing for the back on 4mm (US 6) needles. I’d usually use a needle for the ribbing that’s two sizes smaller than that for the body. Which should I plan to use, a US 7 or a US 6?
    Thanks.

    1. Hello Lynn,
      Yes, the needle size for the ribbing (lower bands/cuffs and neck) should be 4 mm/US 6.
      But even if you did use the 4.5mm/US 7 it would be ok, there is not a huge amount of difference as it is for the ribbing only.
      If you wish to use an even smaller needle size to make the ribbing tighter, that is up to you.
      The main body of the sweater was knit with 5mm/US 8 needles.
      Thanks,
      Louise