What exactly is "Aran wool"?
I thought I'd cross-post this from another forum since this seems more q&a oriented...
Hello, I'll be leaving for Ireland in a couple of days and my family and I plan on visiting the Aran Islands. Naturally, this makes me want to come home with some genuine Aran wool that I have the pleasure of knowing I bought right there. I know I should pick a pattern before going so I get an adequate amount of wool and so I'm not frustrated trying to later find a pattern for a fixed amount of wool.
But I find I don't really know what constitutes "Aran wool." Is that just a reference to its origins? Or is it a specific weight? Or is it even a stitch pattern more than a wool? I ask because in looking at patterns online that say they're "Aran," I'm finding different weights (like afghans in chunkier wool and "Aran" socks in fingering weight). When I look for "genuine" Aran wool out on the islands (and I'm sure I can find it in other locations in Ireland, too), will it come in different weights (for instance, could I make socks of Aran wool, or is it too thick, or does it come in sockweight?).
Ok, now that I've asked the same question ten ways, here's another: does anyone out there have a favorite Aran pattern? I am a new knitter who is not very accomplished and I get frustrated easily by complex patterns, particularly sweaters. I'm thinking along the lines of relatively simple socks, one-piece lap-size blankets, scarves, mufflers, those sorts of things. I don't mind trying cables, which I've done a little bit of. I want to make the most of this and so I don't want to overextend myself or have to cart home a ton of wool.
Thanks in advance!