Sweater Curse noun \swedər kers\ – The belief that if a knitter gifts a hand knit sweater to a significant other before being bound together in a ceremony such a marriage, the relationship will dissolve before the sweater is completed.
I don’t usually knit for other people. I’m pretty selfish when it comes to my knitting, with an exception for babies and charity, and I think it makes sense. I’m putting a lot of time, money, and ultimately love into a huge project, and if the recipient doesn’t understand and respect that, then I don’t know that I should be hand knitting objects for him or her – especially when big box stores are so cheap!
I fell into a knitting slump earlier this year where I didn’t feel inspired to make anything, and I could barely get past knitting a gauge swatch. So I’m as surprised as anyone else when I suddenly felt compelled to knit an entirely new project after a few innocent remarks by another person. But I figured if I couldn’t knit something for myself, I might as well knit something with another person in mind.
Now I should clarify that I’m not a huge believer in curses; I think a lot of curses and bad luck is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the past, I definitely used the sweater curse as an excuse as to why I couldn’t ever knit my ex a sweater. In hindsight, I think I knew all along he wasn’t worth knitting a sweater for – but it took a little while for my heart to catch up to that…But that was different, and just an excuse, right? Still… when I had this idea to knit something with another person in mind, a lot of alarm bells went off in my head about the sweater curse.
Now I like to think I’m a rational person so I listed out all the reasons the sweater curse didn’t apply to this situation:
1. Our relationship seemed pretty solid in general.
2. This was part of an inside joke, and I was going to use super bulky yarn and just whip something up over the weekend – no big deal for anyone involved.
3. Technically, the knit object in question was for me. It was just inspired by the other person.
Easy. Curse avoided. And curses aren’t even real anyway, right?
So I set out to make a quick pair of shorts with a monkey on them. I googled images of monkeys on a grid, and I did a bit of math to make sure it would fit.
But then I’m really terrible at simple ideas. And didn’t I want this to look great even if it was a joke? So I redesigned my monkey, did several more drawings on my graph paper, picked out yarn with much better colors suited to shorts and monkeys, and did several different gauge swatches for the best fit. And I got started again. I’m now a week into this “quick” project, but I kept on.
Halfway through the project, the person in question stopped talking to me.
I was in a lot of denial. You saw my reasoning above – obviously the sweater curse can’t apply if I’m making a pair of shorts for myself.
At that point I thought, well, no need to rip it out. Maybe the problem with the victims of the sweater curse is that they just gave up halfway through the project.
I kept going, and I’m SO glad I did.
Like I said, I was in a knitting rut. This project really helped my creativity start flowing again. I started sketching and submitting my drawings for publication. I always thought I wasn’t interested in colorwork, but suddenly I had so many ideas – and they keep coming even now! I was really inspired to set aside time to knit because it was calling out to me every night. I also loved this project because I really adore sweaters and that’s what I tend to make, and here was this completely new idea, a pair of shorts. It was something I would have never made on my own.
To summarize, having a project outside of my norm really helped me get back on my path and back into the knitting and design world after a few months of feeling uninspired about everything around me.
But that’s all about my knitting. Is there a happy ending in the relationship? Was the lack in communication merely a hiccup that was perfectly timed with the middle of the project?
Sadly, no. But I’m not convinced it was the sweater curse. It could have been any number of factors, and perhaps even my interest in this project caused me to withdraw from the relationship, and that’s what contributed to its demise. I really think there needs to be a more objective analysis done, so if you’d like to donate to science, you can do so here. 😉
Have you ever been affected by the sweater curse?
And what do we think of the shorts? I wouldn’t release the monkey design, but would anyone be interested in a nice set of lounge wear? Perhaps shorts and a robe?