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Published on July 22nd, 2015 | by Elizabeth Bagwell

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6 more knitting superstitions

Common sense or nonsense? Elizabeth Bagwell uncovers some more knitting superstitions.

After writing about the Sweater Curse last week, I’ve been looking into some more knitting superstitions. In Britain, there are a number of superstitions relating to clothing and clothes making which might apply. For example, one tradition is to never give scissors or a knife as a gift – pins or knitting needles are OK, as they can’t ‘cut’ love.

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Don’t hand needles to a friend
Handing needles directly ‘stabs’ the friendship. To avoid this wound, put the needles down and let someone else pick them up.

Knitting on the stage is bad luck
Theatre folk are a superstitious lot – the difference between a brilliant show and a flop can be undetectably trivial (or immediately obvious, let’s be fair). One of the many things you shouldn’t do in a theatre is knit on stage or, in some, backstage either. Knitting on film sets seems to be OK, judging by the number of stars from Audrey Heburn to Sarah Jessica Parker who have been spotted with their pins out.

If you knit socks for a boyfriend, he will walk away from you
A variation on the sweater curse, it seems. In the interests of science (and having never heard of this superstition until today) I’ve knit 0 sweaters and approximately 20 pairs of socks for my boyfriend. He’s still here. That said, if this did work there are a few people I’ve met who it would be worth the 16+ hours of effort to get rid of! Otherwise, you only get hand knit socks if I’m doing your laundry or you have teeny tiny adorable newborn feet.

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You can bring someone bad luck with your knitting
Starting a project and not finishing it can bring bad luck to both you and the intended recipient, apparently. Knitting for a baby before they’ve been conceived is also thought to delay conception or bring ill-health on the child. Frankly, I wouldn’t rely on it as a form of birth control though. I do wonder how this superstition interacts with the tradition of making a hope chest? Many of those that I’ve seen include beautiful knitted or crocheted baby garments for the children that were expected to follow.

Knit your hair into a stronger friendship
Knitting a strand of your hair into a project to tie the person you’re knitting for to you. Hair is often used in Western witchcraft traditions, and both the hair of the witch and the subject of the spell are thought to have power. Unfortunately, knitting your hair into your work is so easy to do that any knitter who isn’t completely bald is probably irrevocably bound to everyone they’ve every knit for.

Cats and other pets also have a habit of shedding on everything in the house, including yarn, so if you feel a sudden surge of affection for your friend’s dog, or realise that their cat isn’t so bad after all, you may want to have a second look at the knitted hat they gave you…

Stabbing your needles through a ball of yarn will bring bad luck
I do this an awful lot, personally, mostly to those socks I knit for my boyfriend. Unfortunately, balls of yarn don’t make great point protectors, so I have had the bad luck of spiking a hole in a handbag or two. Mostly, I tend to think the bad luck in this one is likely to be either split yarn or a spiky surprise for the next person to sit down on the sofa! But then, if you live with a knitter you should always look twice before you sit down anyway – it’s just common sense!

Do you know any other knitting superstitions?  Do you have any good luck knitting routines? Tell us in the comments!

 


About the Author

Elizabeth is a keen knitter, occasional designer, enthusiastic traveler and a professional freelance writer. She spent three years working for British knitting magazine, Simply Knitting, and has also written for The Knitter and other craft titles.


Last updated: August 4th, 2017.

3 Responses to 6 more knitting superstitions

  1. Julie Miles says:

    My grandmother instilled this one in me: it’s bad luck to start a new project on a Friday, and if you do, you will never finish it. She supported this gruesome belief with the story of a great aunt who had started to crochet a tablecloth on a Friday and died before she could finish it. I’m in my sixties now, and I still can’t bring myself to cast on for a new project on a Friday.

  2. Pat Humphrey says:

    I made a pair of socks for my husband. We are now divorced. I started a fuzzy shawl for a friend, she passed away before it was finished. I started a sweater for my partner, and he now has dementia and no longer sees me. From now on, I will make things but not for someone special. If someone likes it they can have it. As far as giving knives or scissors, I was always told to tape coins to the blade to avoid severing friendships. Looks like my track record was all started on Fridays.

  3. Barbara says:

    In Germany, it is bad luck to knit for your baby before it’s born. Just in case, I knitted nothing for them when I was pregnant!

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