The Sweater Curse

The “sweater curse” really does appear to be a thing. I’ve only attempted to knit a sweater for a partner once (it was my husband). I got 3/4 of the way through it before things started to go wrong (both with the sweater and the relationship) and it got put away in a box. It eventually saw the light of day again a few years later, when I rescued the stitch markers from it and gave it to a charity shop. They asked if I happened to have a pattern for it – and I explained that I didn’t (and why I was giving it away). That was ok, they said, they would have a volunteer who could sort it out. By this point I didn’t mind if it was finished, or unravelled and sold as for just the yarn. I couldn’t unravel it for myself, as the yarn was chosen by my then husband and was to his taste.

Over the last couple of years I’ve carded some fibre, spun some yarn then knit a scarf. All the time I was working on this I had the idea of giving the finished item to a close friend. It was a slow process, because I’m a slow worker on such projects, but eventually I had a finished scarf and gave it to my friend as a Christmas present. I photographed it in a rush and wrapped it, and hoped that I would have a chance to photograph it a little better in the future.

However, the sweater curse appears to stretch to hand-spun scarves. It was the second scarf I’d given to this friend, the first was hand-knit but from mill-spun yarn (very nice organic mill-spun yarn) and did not invoke the curse. This second scarf, however, does appear to have involved the sort of effort needed to invoke the curse. Because within weeks of Christmas last year the friend was no longer talking to me.

Sorry for the maudlin post, it’s not meant to be. A hand-made item shouldn’t have a curse. A gift of something hand-made should be a way of showing appreciation for the recipient and a way of spreading love and light. Whenever I’ve received a handmade gift I’ve been delighted and always felt joy both at the receiving and when wearing or using the items. Perhaps we need to work together to find a defence to the sweater curse, one that is invoked as part of the making or when giving the item away. I know scissors are always given with a small amount of money, the intention is that the money is given back as a way of “paying” for the gift of scissors, so that the friendship isn’t cut. Another tradition is when giving a purse, to include a small coin in it, so that the purse is never empty. So what could we do when giving a gift that has lived with us a long time while we’ve been making it, to ensure that it doesn’t precipitate an ending of that relationship? All ideas on a post card please, or, better yet, in the comments below 🙂