Superstitions are everywhere. What knitting superstitions have you heard? Which ones do you believe?

Some defy explanation and others are borne from a nugget of truth. 

Either way, if you believe in these superstitions (or should I say, superstitch-tions?), they can drain the joy from what could otherwise be a joyful experience. If you are dreading that your significant other will leave you as you knit a sweater, you may experience more fear than pleasure. And what’s the point in that? 

Even if you don’t really believe a superstition but vaguely wonder if it might not have a bit of validity to it, you can totally ruin a lovely knitting experience. 

In this post, I write about 5 knitting superstitions, how they may have come about and, most importantly, how you can overcome them!

Knitting Superstition 1 – The Sweater Curse

Probably the most well known knitting superstition is the Sweater “curse” (aka, the “boyfriend sweater curse”).  The superstition that knitting a sweater for someone you are having a romantic relationship with will lead to a break-up.

How this superstition may have come about

While this superstition has been confirmed by many anecdotal accounts, there are usually very clear reasons for this “curse”:

  • You may realize, while spending many, many hours knitting that this person is not actually worth all the time, efort  and love you invested in making the sweater. The time taken to create the sweater may have allowed you to reflect on the quality of the relationship and found it lacking.
  • The “boyfriend” may interpret such a meaningful gift as a sign of more commitment than they are willing to make. 
  • Sometimes, the knitter may be using the sweater to try to help a relationship that is already in trouble and the relationship doesn’t survive and would have ended with or without the sweater. 

The Superstition Breaker

The real secret to breaking the sweater curse it so examine the relationship and (both of) your feelings before starting on such a large scale and meaning-filled project. 

woman trying sweater on man

Knitting Superstition 2 – Knitting a Mistake into Your Project will Keep you Safe

Here is a superstition that the fairies will “get” you if you knit a perfect project. 

How this superstition may have come about

I think that it is relatively safe to assume that very few people have ever knit a truly perfect project with zero mistakes. This “superstition” makes it OK to be human (yay!).
It’s a clear reminder that as humans it is almost impossible to create something perfect. We inevitably make errors in almost everything we do, especially something that takes as long as most knitted projects take.
This superstition is closely related to the Amish tradition of deliberately adding a mistake to their work so as not to try to imitate God, who alone is perfect. 

I personally will never even get to see a fairy, based on the number of mistakes I make in my knitting and I am OK with that. The perfectionist in me requires that I do a lot of re=knitting, but inevitably, some mistakes will pass me by. 

The Superstition Breaker

Just be human. You will almost inevitably make a mistake that you don’t catch while knitting a project. If you do, don’t sweat it. 

If you are a “perfect” knitter and you are superstitious, make a small error somewhere it will not be seen, perhaps a twisted stitch concealed in a decrease, and keep on knitting, safe from the fairies and your own criticism. 

Knitting Superstition 3 – Never Start a Project on a Friday

If you start a project on a Friday, you will never finish it according to this superstition. 

How this superstition may have come about

Fridays have long had superstitions associated with them, possibly rooted in Christianity and Jesus having been crucified on a Friday. There is an interesting explanation of the roots of the superstitions surrounding Fridays and Friday the 13th in particular on the How Stuff Works website. I found the account of the urban legend about the H.M.S. Friday (about a third of the way down) to be particularly beguiling. 

There is no evidence that more terrible things happen on a Friday than on any other day. Just because people have decided that Friday brings bad luck, doesn’t make it so.

The Superstition Breaker

If you are nervous about this superstition, choose an idle Friday where you have little else scheduled. Cast on a tiny project that you can get done in a couple of hours (a coaster, a preemie hat, an ornament, a knitted ear saver,  a bookmark) and knit until you finish the tiny project. 

Once you have proof that you can start and finish a project on a Friday, you can move on to other projects.

mug that says

Knitting Superstition 4 – Knit a Hair into Your Project to Bind the Recipient to You

Knitting one of your hairs into a project, binds the person to you. 

How this superstition may have come about

I think this is one of those self evident superstitions. 

The act, thought and love of knitting a project and giving it to someone binds them to you. 

The fact that at least one of your hairs will inevitably end up knit into your project is just a byproduct of the knitting process. But the thought is a lovely and romantic one. 

The Superstition Breaker

This superstition doesn’t need breaking. When you knit for someone, even someone you don’t know, you bind that person to you. Not in a creepy or obligated way, but by the fact that you have spent your love and thought and good wishes on the project and passed that on to the person.

Celebrate that bond, whether you ever meet the person or not. 

Knitting Superstition 5 – Knitting on Stage or Near It Brings Back Luck

Knitting on stage or in the wings is considered bad luck, especially when the actors are doing the  knitting.

Traditionally, theatre folk have been known to be a superstitious lot, however, I have seen many images of actors in successful shows knitting on stage.

How this superstition may have come about

This sort of makes sense as traditionally people would have knit with straight needles that have a tendency to stick out. With all the action occurring on and around a stage and people focusing on what they are saying and doing and perhaps not paying as much attention to where a knitter’s needles might be, any distraction could cause chaos, especially one with long sticks and runaway balls of yarn. And that would be true of any bustling place where people are moving about.

The Superstition Breaker

This one may be difficult to combat more for the sake of the other people than for your own sake. 

My only advice here is to use circular needles (so as not to stab anyone or damage anyone’s costume) and make sure everything stays where it should by using a project bag that you can knit out of directly. But this is good advice any time you are knitting somewhere with a lot of activity. 

If someone says something about you knitting on or near the stage and you are taking these precautions,  you can point out that you are being careful and have been knitting and nothing bad has happened or you may have to stop knitting out of courtesy for others. Take your knitting and go elsewhere when you can. 

woman knitting on a stage background

Knit on with Joy, Not Fear

I hope this has helped you to examine your superstitions, see them for what are and be armed to overcome them, if you so choose. 

Now you can boldly go where you may have feared to go before, with confidence and joy!

Come and join A Close Knit Community Free Facebook group and let us know your experience with knitting superstitions. We would love to have you.

This entry was posted in Kitting General, Knitting, Tips and Tricks.

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