I’m a cautious person. Once bitten, twice shy; that sort of thing. Generally speaking, while I wouldn’t consider myself unduly superstitious, I don’t walk under ladders (dripping paint), nor do I skip saying, “Bless you” when someone sneezes (seems the polite thing to do). So when it comes to the Sweater Curse, I generally don’t mess around. You’ve probably heard of it — the idea that if you knit a sweater for your boyfriend or girlfriend before you’re married, the relationship is doomed. There’s even a Wikipedia page on it, with some statistics. Did you know, for example, that 41% of knitters think of the Sweater Curse as “a possibility that should be taken seriously”?
In another lifetime, when I lived in Boston and was a competitive ballroom dancer (fake tan and all), I did knit for a boyfriend. Not a sweater, because I lacked confidence at that point, but a long scarf in black yarn. I knit at home and on the T (Boston’s version of the subway), occasionally chasing my runaway ball of yarn down the train car, under the feet of my fellow commuters. That winter, I proudly presented it to him. The scarf was done! But, shortly thereafter, so was the relationship. (Don’t grieve for me, loyal readers. It’s really for the best.) Was it the scarf that did it, an extension of the Sweater Curse? I doubt it, but it sure didn’t help that he only wore it twice and then stuffed it in the closet.
You can imagine my trepidation, then, when I somehow found myself knitting a scarf for my current partner. I made him pick out the yarn and test it for softness against his neck, (bless his heart, he chose a gorgeous variegated green in Malabrigo Rios, which was a joy to knit) and even got him to help choose the pattern. Still, as I knit my way through the scarf, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was dooming my relationship with each stitch. Superstitious drivel, right? But… Just in case, I decided to try to outsmart the Curse by asking my guy to crochet me a hat. If the Curse was real, an exchange of items should cancel it out. And if it wasn’t real, he’d still get a lovely scarf, and my head would be warm all winter. Win-win, right?
I’m happy to say that he still wears the scarf (and the hat he made me gets compliments all the time). I’m even happier to say that we’re still together — so I didn’t ruin everything by tempting fate. Sometimes I look at men’s sweater patterns, and think about which ones would suit my guy. But then I think about the Sweater Curse, and wonder if it’s worth it. Maybe I’ll just wait.
What about you? Do you believe in the Sweater Curse? Have you experienced it firsthand?