On the sweater curse

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String Theory Colorworks; Exotoxin

Well, it finally happened, a skein of yarn sitting in my stash informed me that it wants to be a pair of socks for a guy I’ve been seeing and, because I listened to it, I measured his feet. When we started dating I jokingly told him that I wouldn’t be knitting him anything until we were married because I liked him and I was worried about the sweater curse. He laughed and asked me if I seriously believed in “all that”, I awkwardly pointed out that any boyfriend I had ever knit for previously was not in my life anymore. Yet here I am, listening to a skein of yarn and dutifully measuring his feet so that I can cast on a pair of socks.

So what exactly is the sweater curse? To put it simply, it’s the idea that if you knit something (a lot of debate has gone into whether or not the item has to be a sweater in order to activate the curse) for your significant other it will doom the relationship because of one of the following:

  1. You will realize the relationship is the right one.
  2. Your partner will leave you because it’s too big of a gesture
  3. Your partner will not react “correctly” to the knitted garment (see On handmade items should be used for my response to people’s reactions to hand-knits)
  4. Your partner will meet the person they are meant to be with while wearing the handmade object

Do I really believe in the sweater curse? Yes and no. Yes, I believe that spending a lot of time making something for someone is going to give you a lot of time to think about how you feel about them. In some cases, as with one of my exes, you decide that they’re just not worth the fuss of the project and then you have to start thinking about why they aren’t worth it. In that case, it was an eye-opening this relationship is not meant to be. Other times I’ve knit for someone I’ve been seeing casually, and thought, you just need something to keep you warm. In this case, it was not the garment that lead to the downfall of the relationship.

So perhaps, I will make something for him, without worrying about the sweater curse. I will knit for him because I care about him and I want him to be warm. To me, knitting is an expression of friendship and love. It’s a way to give someone a physical memento of your time together or to give someone support when you can’t be there. So if all he does is look at those socks while working on his graduate degree, at least he knows someone in another state is rooting for him and cares for him. That, for me, would be enough. This, of course, is assuming that I have deemed him knit worthy, which is a discussion for another day.

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My Alaska Sweater

I’m not ready to cast on just yet, my crafting time is currently being taken up by The Loopy Ewe’s Space Camp. June’s challenge? A pattern published in 2019 that uses over 400 yards of yarn. Which means I’m finally knitting the Alaska Sweater for myself. With a longer body and sleeves because I’m not a cropped sweater type of gal, so naturally that means I underestimated how much woolstok I needed (should have ordered an extra skein of each color, but optimistically ordered the last of both colors). 12 days left to go and I’m well over halfway done with the sweater, just the neckline and a sleeve left. Nothing like knitting a project that’s over 1000 yards in a month, I’m still waiting for the deadline stress to hit me.

This is the second summer in a row that I’ve taken on Camp Loopy, which means it’s the second summer in a row that I’m not starting my Holiday knitting in June. While this goes against a pledge I made to myself after going cross-eyed with Holiday knitting, it’s forced me to cut back on the number of people I knit for during the Holidays and the size of the projects that they receive. Or rather, it means I’m not trying to make my mom a pair of socks for Mother’s day, her birthday and Christmas (which maybe isn’t completely fair to her because she has small feet).

I have mixed feelings about these knitting challenges, they put a lot of constraints on the knitter. That being said, what you loose with constraints you gain in a virtual community. Unlike holiday knitting, these are deadlines you chose to take on and so did everyone doing the challenge with you. You get to agonize over projects together, grumble about the store not having enough yarn in what you thought was the perfect color, and then race to finish the project on time. Sure you get points and discounts along the way, but after the amount of time you put into picking a project it all comes down to community and a desire to create. In other words, I have time to decide whether or not this guy is truly knit worthy (which is not as terrible as it sounds).

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