Defying the Sweater Curse

No doubt you are all familiar with the notorious Boyfriend Sweater Curse, which dictates that any attempt to handknit your beloved a sweater will result in said other half dumping you at the exact moment you complete your woollen labour of love.

I am not generally a superstitious person by nature, and although I have no wish to incur the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing, I refuse to bow to apocryphal scare stories. So, I am knitting my boyfriend a sweater.

Now, in spite of what this may lead you to believe, I’m not an idiot. And, tempting though it is to surprise him with one of these:

Because every jumper needs a belt.

I’m hoping to avoid the curse, rather than invoke it at the first stitch, so the boyfriend and I have been discussing the sweater and trying to decide which pattern he might like.

So far we have established that he would like a proper woolly jumper which, thankfully, means I won’t be trying to knit a 44″ chest on 2.5mm needles. He has a frankly inexplicable interest in getting up at 6am to watch whatever cricket match is playing in another hemisphere before he goes to work and our living room is often chilly in the early hours. He is also going skiing at the end of February, which meant I briefly considered this:

'Dashing through the snow...'

Before regaining my senses. Also, I doubt I’ll finish it in time for his holiday, but we’ll see.

He likes cables and textured stitches, but I think this might be overdoing it:

Sleeves big enough to store a cricket bat

The pattern that seems to tick the most boxes is Devon, however, it’s knit in a chunky yarn which might be a bit heavy, and if I knit it in the suggested Peruvia Quick it would cost £100. Plus, it’s worked in pieces and seamed, which I detest.

So, I’ve ordered some lovely aran yarn from New Lanark and it looks as though Elizabeth Zimmerman will save the day with her Seamless Hybrid. I have attempted to knit one before, which was not a total disaster, but not quite right either. However this time I will have the recipient close to hand for measuring and trying-on which I think is going to help a lot. Plus there’s the added bonus that he’s a maths whizz and can help me check my pattern calculations. I’m thinking it should be pretty easy to add a simple cable to the front (maybe off-centre, up one side?) but otherwise I’m going to try to keep it relatively uncomplicated. Watch this space and wish me luck…

Have you laughed in the face of the sweater curse? Or fallen foul of it? And what’s your favourite men’s pattern?

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9 Responses to Defying the Sweater Curse

  1. Sarah says:

    sounds fun! That’s not a lot of time to knit a sweater though – I wish you swift knitting! hehe

    I don’t know if you’ve thought of this (you probably have) but it occurred to me to say something along these lines: remember if you’re cabling that it’ll throw off all your math for your final measurements because it will draw the fabric in.

    I really like the devon sweater too! My man detests heavy sweaters. *sigh* We’ve also considered the same EZ pattern, but in like… fingering. lol I told him it’ll be a LONG time before that project happens!

  2. I, too, have thrown care to the wind and knit all the boyfriend sweater that I want! I made a V-neck sweater for my boyfriend’s last birthday. We are still together (two years!) and very happy but I think the curse laughed back at me. Somehow the sweater ended up 12 inches too big around the chest! The whole thing is gigantic and I don’t know how it happened but I do know that I knit most of it in secret which is obviously a terrible idea.

    I’ll be casting on for a new sweater to replace that one soon. Godspeed to you!

  3. Anja says:

    The Seamless Hybrid is definitely my favourite. I knitted one (well, two, technically, since I had to frog and reknit…) for my husband at it looks nice, fits well and he likes and wears it. EZ’s percentage system will give you very large sleeves. I wanted a closer fit and a smaller armscye, so I changed the number of stitches for the sleeves and body. Keep an eye on it, because having to reknit the entire yoke (or entire sweater) is not extremely motivating…

  4. fiddlewitch says:

    i made my son the funnel neck pullover from sally melville’s “the knit stitch”, adding some short rows between the shoulder blades (which make it not-front-and-back-reversible, but better fitting?) and also nipped the waist in a bit on the sides. it came out quite handsomely…might suit a boyfriend (i think sons are harder to please ; )

  5. sophie says:

    I love these belted sweaters! and mostly the conjunction of the moss-stitch sleeveless blue cardigan and the shirt, I’m nearly blind now :)
    I’ve knit two jumpers for my husband, and fingers crossed, he hasn’t dumped me yet! But I also kept it safe and totally un-original, with a cabled one and a plain stockinette one.

  6. Kathy Rogers says:

    I knit a sweater out of that Columbia Minerva leaflet (decades ago, and I was a new knitter) and you are SO WISE to avoid it!!

  7. Vally AG says:

    You are a brave woman, going up against the sweater curse. I’ve watched the sweaters explode in size, a la Sarah @ Knit York City, and relationships explode themselves.

    But then again, I’m willing to ignore these cases and would love to knit the boyfriend a sweater. He is a bit more superstitious than I and flatly refuses anything larger than a scarf.

  8. jasmine says:

    hi Katie!
    It’s been ages…

    I avoid the curse by knitting a small error into the jumper – therefore, by rights, I should undo it and redo it (which of course I don’t do), so it’s not technically really finished as long as it’s got that mistake in it!

    Hoping not to tempt fate, but so far that seems to have worked :-)


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