The CURSE, crap and you know it.

The Infamous Sweater Curse has infiltrated the minds of the single knitters. To knit or not to knit, that is the question. When does a love interest become worthy of your hand knit gold? Does it apply to all hand knit lovelies or just sweaters?

Let's take a step back and analyze the scenario. You are a knitter. That guy/girl/both has been flirting with you. You both exchange "looks". He/She/It admires your knitting. Maybe you have been out a few times. Maybe you have been exclusive for years. Maybe you are married with 10 kids. You feel the need to shower them with your wooly love. A hat? scarf? gloves? or even... a Sweater?

Lets start with the projects themselves, we can divide them into investments. Hats and scarves are a mild investment. They can be done in a weekend and even luxurious yarns result in affordable gifts. Gloves or socks, a moderate investment. They take a little longer, techniques are a little more difficult and the frustration level is escalating. A Sweater. A sweater is a massive investment, time, money, techniques.

What could go wrong with said projects? It could itch them. It could be the wrong color. Maybe the stitch pattern just isn't their style. The wool ski sweater just can't be worn in your sunny state of Florida. If any of these things are the case, it will affect the potential for wear by said love interest. Now the size of the investment will increase the excitement of getting it exactly right or the disappointment of both when it doesn't get worn for any of the previous reasons.

Lets consider some statistics for a second. Without actual numbers of course. How many relationships have you been in that failed? How relationships around you have lasted a lifetime? In relationships not involving a knitter, how many of them end? I think chances are very good, you might be single again. If you found your soulmate/love-of-your-life/immortal-vampire-relationship-counselor congratulations. Make that sweater.

Now I will never tell you that knitting a hat or scarf is a bad idea. No matter how early it is in a relationship. Particularly if you are an obsessed knitter like most of us. Concerned it will come off too strong? Keep in mind, if you know he/she/it at all, they probably know you knit and you knit a lot, it probably isn't as overwhelming as you think. They are likely not assuming that you knit it over a picture of them with a vial of chicken blood hoping for some relationship voodoo magic. But then again. They might. But it's just a hat. Who cares.

So let's consider a massive investment, time, money, technique. What if it is the wrong style/color/fiber or just that it is a sweater and they don't wear them? Any of those would indicate how little you know one another. If he/she/it doesn't wear it, maybe it is your fault for picking orange when he/she/it is a blues man, or maybe you got color and style right and you just discover he/she/it is a massive, uncaring douche who just doesn't wear homemade.

What I think is happening is people are realizing how incompatible they are thanks to the sweater. Maybe it is providing relationship insight you couldn't pick up on through all the fleece encasing your brain. Maybe it took the magic of your needles to expose your relationship for what it truly is. And really, is that ever a bad thing?

No matter what, when you give knitting as a gift, you have to be prepared to never see it again. It doesn't belong to you anymore. If you never see the person you gave it to again are you going to regret making it for them? If so, you shouldn't give him/her/it anything in the first place. While we have faith in the gift of our knitted love, it is not relationship glue. It doesn't tie you forever with another person. Do not expect it to do for you, what any other gift can't do. Responses to the gift may provide relationship truths, just like any other gift. That is all.

Now if you can give your knitted items away without regret. Go ahead and make as many as you want. If you can't, don't. In fact, you should probably never knit gifts. This is a reflection on your attitude, not the other person/people.

All of this said, if you make any sort of knitted investment that is all wrong, 100% wrong and he/she/it wear it with pride and joy. Marry he/she/it and buy adjoining burial plots. You have found true love.


Trifarina said...

I might consider knitting a man sweater after the 5 wedding year anniversary... even then I may be too superstitious.

JJ said...

I totally agree with your assessment. I don't really understand the superstition about the sweater thing. Then again, I'm rather pragmatic when it comes to such things. Yes, a hat is not that big of an investment - maybe an evening or two, a skein of yarn or two, nothing big. A sweater is more of a commitment, but I am a bargain yarn buyer and a fast knitter, so it isn't such a big deal for me. Whatever. People can obsess however they want.

The 5-6 dates before the socks debate with Benchley1? It was a long-standing joke. I called her easy because she knit the guy a hat for their first date. I won't tell what I did for Rich on our first date. I'm a big hussy, too!

HeyYeah said...

My loving other half happily wears the sweater I knit him but I'm constantly fussing over the sweater when he's inside it; pulling the sleeves and picking off fluff... Maybe that's the reason for the infamous sweater curse.

Anonymous said...

I'm right with you on the sweater curse discussion. I really don't get the superstition. I highly doubt I'd ever knit a sweater for someone...but then, I have yet to actually finish a sweater even for myself, so that probably factors in. A gifted sweater would definitely mean that person is special...and would most likely have to be requested for me to even think about making it, so I'm not too concerned about what it would mean to the relationship.

I wonder if non-knitters who date knitters agonize over whether it's too soon to request a scarf/hat/socks/whatever.