Break the boyfriend sweater curse

We’ve all been there: there’s a new special someone in your life, and you want to show your love for them in the best way you know how: through knitting. Maybe you’ve knitted them a scarf before, maybe even a pair of gloves, but now you feel ready to tackle the big one, the one that really says ‘I Love You’. You’re knitting them…The Perfect Sweater.

By Alexandra Brinck, WATG’s Textile Designer Gangsta

Now, knitting folklore has it that knitting your loved one a sweater is actually the worst thing you can do for your relationship. According to The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater, gifting a lovingly hand-knitted sweater to your partner will inevitably result in a break-up, just as surely as a broken mirror will bring seven years of bad luck.

But of course, this is all just silly superstition, right? Well, yes. And no. It seems there may be something to The Curse after all, although it’s probably better explained by psychology than any supernatural power. As we all know, knitting requires significant amounts of time, commitment and hard work. Not everyone is worthy of all that effort – and not everyone feels comfortable accepting it. The process of knitting a sweater for someone can really work as a health check for your relationship. Perhaps the recipient realises that they’re not quite ready to accept such a huge gift. Or maybe you’re the one who ends up having some revelations.

A knitting teacher friend of mine told me about one of her students, who’d started the ambitious project of making her boyfriend a sweater. One day, my friend asked her about the progress of the sweater and was told that actually, the couple had split up. But rather than be upset by the break-up, the woman explained that working on the sweater had made her think about the relationship and question whether this guy was really someone she was willing to make this much effort for. The process of knitting allowed her to examine her feelings, and made her realise that if she felt this guy wasn’t worthy of a hand-knitted sweater, he probably also wasn’t quite Mr Right.

So, should you avoid knitting for your significant other? Of course not! Here are our favourite tips for breaking The Curse:

Start small

Rather than making someone a beautiful sweater as their very first gift, ease your partner into knitwear by starting small. A Man In Me scarf makes a great first knitted gift. Perhaps followed by a Bullitt Beanie, and a pair of Rockwell Mittens. As you get closer in a relationship, so the knitwear can grow.

Consult the recipient

Perhaps you’re with someone who’d be more than happy to accept a sweater from you – but you simply don’t have the same style preferences. Avoid this pitfall by choosing yarn and pattern together.

Enjoy the knitting

Pick a project you’ll enjoy knitting. Making a sweater is a big undertaking, so make sure you’ll enjoy the process from beginning to end. If you get bored half-way through, you may subconsciously transfer your negative thoughts onto the person you’re knitting for… So pick yarn and pattern carefully!

Finally, just to be on the safe side: before you grab those knitting needles, make sure you pick one of our great unisex Knit Kits. That way, if you and your partner stay together – great, you can borrow the sweater occasionally. And if you do break up – well, at least you’re left with a great sweater.

Why not take some knit-spiration from some of our favorite male style icons – after all, who wouldn’t want a sweater, or a man, like McQueen?




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