How to Knit the Aran Honeycomb Stitch

The Perfect Stitch for Cabling Beginners

Aran Honeycomb.
Aran Honeycomb. (c) Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Named for its beehive-like appearance, the Aran honeycomb stitch is a simple decorative pattern suitable for beginners. While this traditional stitch looks complicated, it's actually pretty easy to remember for anyone who likes to stitch while watching TV or chatting with friends. It offers beginners lots of practice in this basic cable stitch

Cabling Stitch for Beginners

It's the perfect stitch for beginners to learn cabling.

Cabling is a versatile technique that adds a comfy texture to any craft. It's perfect for scarfs, baby blankets and more. The ribbing also features a forgiving fit for knitters trying their hand at that first gifted sweater. The air pockets created by the honeycomb design help it become a warm sturdy garment.  

When the pattern is only repeated once it's known as a chain cable. It can easily be knitted in the round. 

Origin of Aran Stitches

Aran stitches are named for the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland where the patterns originate. The heavily textured stitches were created in the 1930's and have been popular ever since. The lore surrounding the stitches was that each pattern had a specific meaning.

The honeycomb Aran stitch was thought to be a lucky stitch and a sign of plenty. Fishermen also believe the stitch represented a good catch. Unlike one popular urban legend, the stitches were not used to identify drowned fishermen.

However, most of this lore came from a fabricated book about knitting called Sacred History of Knitting by Heinz Edgar Kiewe. The detailing in the cabling reminded him of Irish illuminated manuscripts so he added meaning to each pattern. His fabricated tales began to be used in marketing Aran sweaters particularly to Irish immigrants in the United States.

 

While there's no proof of Kiewe's claims as to the history of the stitch, many knitters still find the stories entertaining. 

How to Knit the Aran Honeycomb Stitch

The Aran honeycomb stitch works on multiples of 8 stitches.

Row 1 (wrong side) and all wrong-side rows: Purl.

Row 2: *Slip 2 stitches to a cable needle and hold in the back. Knit 2, then knit 2 off the cable needle. Slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold in front. Knit 2, then knit 2 off the cable needle. Repeat from * across.

Row 4: Knit.

Row 6: *Slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold in front. Knit 2, then knit 2 off the cable needle. Slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold in back. Knit 2, then knit 2 off the cable needle. Repeat from * across.

Row 8: Knit.

Repeat these 8 rows for pattern.

Also Known As: Chain cable, when only one repeat of the pattern is used, as is common in Aran knitting.