Any crafter or artist knows just how important handmade gift giving can be.
Not only are you giving your loved one a meaningful gift, but you are the one to make it. This means that you are thinking about your loved one throughout the entire process, which may take many hours of difficult work and cost lots of money to create.
This is why handmade gifts are imbued with so much care, love, and emotion, but can potentially lead to devastation if they are not received well! This unfortunate reaction has led to superstition among knitters and other crafters known as the “curse of the love sweater.”
What is the curse?
The curse of the love sweater, otherwise known among knitters as the “sweater curse,” is the superstition that a relationship will end after the knitter gives their significant other a sweater or while they are in the process of making it.
Many knitters have reported experiencing this circumstance while many others, despite never experiencing it personally, believe that it is a very possible occurrence. So, why do so many knitters and other crafters see the “sweater curse” as a real possibility that extends beyond superstition?
For one thing, gift giving can be an incredibly important part to many relationships, and is even regarded as one of the five main “love languages.” Adding in the emotional weight of gifting a garment, or anything for that matter, that took a lot of effort to create can raise the couple’s awareness of an array of issues or imbalances that may be present in the relationship.
- Here are several proposed reasons that the “curse of the love sweater” could occur:
- The knitter puts a lot of effort, care, time, and money into the creation of the gift and then doesn’t receive adequate thanks, either because the recipient doesn’t realize the amount of energy that was put into the gift or because they truly don’t care for the gift.
- The knitter does not take care to ask or discern the gift receiver’s taste or preference and therefore gives them something they don’t like or would never wear. This might lead to the receiver believing that the knitter cares more about their craft than they do about the receiver.
- The knitter’s plans to execute a sweater, which is a fairly extravagant gift considering the time and money it takes to hand-make, are not proportionate to the stage of the relationship and thus scares the recipient.
- The act of knitting a gift for someone allows the knitter time to think about the relationship, and throughout the process, they realize that they don’t desire to continue it. Creating a meaningful gift for their partner may make the knitter realize that the relationship doesn’t merit the gift and they abandon it.
It is also important to acknowledge the negative associations that the idea of the sweater curse may bring about.
For example, as knitting and crafting, in general, are predominantly seen as feminine pastimes, some may assume that the downfall lies in the knitter, or feminine partner, exhibiting “clinginess” or perceiving the relationship to be more serious than it is in actuality.
This association is more likely rooted in stereotyping and misogyny, and reference to the sweater curse ending a relationship should never be used to put misogynistic blame on the knitter.
Breaking the Curse
While some may view the curse of the love sweater as a superstition, others see it as an issue that realistically occurs due to specific circumstances.
More still see it as a metric by which to judge the pace and quality of their relationships and determine whether or not they are worth continuing to pursue. No matter where you lie on this spectrum, it can be interesting and important for knitters and other crafters to examine ways to avoid or “break” the curse.
Of course, the method you use to break the curse will depend on what has occurred in your individual relationship as well as your goals for its future.
For some, “breaking the curse” might simply mean communicating openly about your feelings before and after giving a gift, or it may mean holding off on such personal gifts until the relationship has progressed to a more serious point.
If your partner seems hesitant to accept these sorts of gifts, there’s likely a reason why. Likewise, if your partner fails to recognize and appreciate the effort that goes into crafting something special, it may be indicative of a deeper problem or incompatibility.
It can be difficult to have discussions about things that make us upset or uncomfortable, and such a reality certainly applies to breaking the curse of the love sweater, too. Regardless of where the issue stems from, if you encounter one, it’s best to address it via honest communication sooner rather than later.
Is your partner simply uncomfortable receiving large or elaborate gifts? Does your partner feel guilty about not being able to return the favor? Does your partner feel pressured or forced to accept the gift? These questions and more can be beneficial when it’s time to start the conversation.
Once you have a clear understanding of your partner’s goals, desires, emotions, and boundaries, choosing whether or not to knit them a large, meaningful gift such as a sweater will be much easier to do. If making amends is your goal, sharing your reason for creating the sweater or gift and making a real attempt to work through things in your partner also goes a long way.
Knitters (and crafters in general) are inherent gift-givers. We want to share our crafts with the people we love, partly because we just can’t stop crafting, but mostly because we find a lot of value in what we do and want to show our loved ones we value them too.
When the gift is as important and time-consuming to create as a large garment or sweater, it can certainly symbolize a lot of love and meaning.
Don’t let superstition hold you back, but try not to rush into any long-term projects or decisions that may not be completely appropriate for the status of your relationship.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.