Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Flaunting the "Sweater Curse"

Do I dare knit my husband a sweater?
As you may have guessed by now, I am doing just that.

Here is the start of my husband's Christmas present.

Most knitters are already familiar with "the sweater curse".
For my non-knitting friends:  the phrase refers to the idea that the knitting of an entire sweater for a significant other will often bring about, or otherwise coincide with, the demise of the relationship.

I do not have any direct experience of it.  My husband and I were together for 16 years before I ever learned to knit, so I think we're safe.  Yet, as I slog my way through the miles of stockinette stitch that it will take to finish my husband's Klaus, I can't help but reflect on the reasons for the existence of the curse as a recognized phenomenon among knitters.

Here are some possible explanations of the superstition as listed in Wikipedia:

  • Unlucky timing. Knitting a sweater takes a long time, and the relationship dies of natural causes during its making.[10]
  • Rescue mission. The knitter senses subconsciously that the relationship is about to end, and knits a sweater as a dramatic gesture to save it.
  • Catalyst for analyzing the relationship. Giving or receiving a significant gift such as a sweater may cause either the giver or receiver to evaluate the relationship.[5] 
  • Aversion. The significant other may simply not want to wear anything hand-knit.[3] A hand-knit sweater can also subject them to ridicule, either because the sweater looks bad (i.e., poorly made or unfashionable) or conveys overly domestic connotations.[4][10][11]
  • Misdirected attention. The knitter loves their sweater a little too much, and pesters the significant other about the sweater instead of working on their relationship.[10] Alternatively, the knitter loves to knit too much, and spends too much time with their knitting instead of with the significant other.
  • Delusion. The knitter imagines incorrectly that their significant other likes them . . ."

My favorite from the list is "Delusion".  All by itself, it explains so much, doesn't it?

I will in fact, happily finish this Klaus sweater as a Christmas gift for my husband.  He is an avid edible-mushroom hunter, and has been patiently waiting for a sweater knit in mushroom-dyed yarn ever since I happened upon mushroom-dyeing as a nice way of combining my hobby (a.k.a. all-consuming-addiction) with his.

Still, as happy as I am to finally knit him a sweater, and as happy as he seems to be receiving it, embarking on the project has resulted in some complicated conversations involving yarn, color, fit, and style choices.  Which is why I laughed out loud when I saw this YouTube video by Franklin Habit.

As I continue to pester my husband to try on the partially knit sweater, and debate the contrast color options, he has no problem relating to this blog post.  The other hitch is I may not be able to finish the sweater by Dec. 25th.  Unfortunately, it won't be the first time one of my family members has opened a package under the tree only to find a partially knit item still on the needles.  Does anyone know where I can find some cheap roller skates?

Here's hoping your gift knitting is going well!


  1. Shannon, you are too much! This clip is perfect. I do happen to have a pair of Brittany Spears roller skates, but I don't think they are the right colors: blue jean with sparkly pink wheels and glittery silver laces. If you think he would like them, they're yours!

  2. LMAO! My cheeks hurt! Scott says that's the way it really is!

    I don't think Klaus will be under our tree this year, but I like the idea of the yarn on the needles in a wrapped box............!