Tag Archives: knitting

The Sweater Curse

Informant Information — SD

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 16
  • Occupation: Student
  • Residence: San Pedro, California
  • Date of Performance/Collection: April 3, 2022
  • Primary Language: English

The informant’s grandmother was a lifelong knitter and introduced all of her grandchildren to knitting and other handicrafts. The informant regularly attended crafting circles with her grandmother as a child, which is where she learned this belief.

Interviewer: 

Can you tell me about the curse involving making a sweater?

Informant: 

So my grandma used to believe in a curse where anyone who knitted or crocheted a sweater for the person they were dating would end up breaking up with the person. Since you spend so much time making the sweater, the relationship is usually over by the time you finish it and you break up once you give it to them. She said that you could only make sweaters for family, lifelong friends, or your husband or wife after you were married. 

Interviewer: 

Did this curse apply to other gifts, or was it strictly sweaters?

Informant: 

It was always just sweaters. You could make other big stuff, like blankets, but sweaters were cursed. My sister crocheted her girlfriend a quilt once and it was fine. 

Interviewer: 

Do you believe in this curse?

Informant: 

I don’t crochet or knit, so I don’t really believe one way or the other. It makes sense though. 

Analysis:

The informant is my sister, so we grew up hearing the same superstitions from my grandmother. As a crochet and knitting enthusiast, I believe in this curse while my sister, who never enjoyed crocheting or knitting, does not. Making a sweater takes a great deal of time and effort, tying you to the intended recipient. Finishing the project may release you from a sense of obligation, allowing the relationship to end. However, it is interesting that most crafters agree that this curse is limited to sweaters– blankets, rugs, and tapestries are all considered to be “safe,” despite also being large projects. Unfortunately, I seem to have witnessed this curse take effect in real life: my roommate crocheted a sweater for her partner as a two-year anniversary gift and they broke up the same weekend that she finished it.

Knitting Superstition

Text:

Informant: If you are knitting or if you know how to knit, you’re allowed to knit things for your friends and your family, but you can’t knit something for your significant other unless you’re really really sure that they’re the one. When you knit something for your significant other it symbolizes that the relationship will end because there is an end to your knitting that ends in tying a knot. So either you have to tie the knot with your significant other or the relationship is very quickly going to end catastrophically.

Context: I asked a group of friends if they could recall any superstitions they were aware. The informant, and avid knitter, shared this one with me.

Thoughts: I find it odd that this same principal of endings doesn’t apply with friends, but makes sense since our society places a greater importance on marriage than friendship.