Knitting and Crochet Superstitions

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Are you a knitter or crocheter who is also superstitious? Do you walk under ladders, greet magpies, and throw salt over your shoulder? Here are nine interesting knitting and crochet superstitions that yarn crafters sometimes repeat.

A black cat resting on a pile of crochet garments, with the text 'What happens if a black cat sleeps on your work?

Superstition 1: What happens if a black cat sleeps on your Crochet or Knitting Work in Progress?

Answer: You need to make sure to brush off all the cat hairs. Honestly, I made that one up just to include a picture of a black cat on the cover image, because I had chosen to have a little fun and put a small image of a black can on all the other slides. My cat’s name is Rabbitte. Isn’t she cute? And in that spirit of fun, lets look at some others…

An image of knitting with an error, and the text Leave a mistake to let your soul escape. Or the fries will get you

Superstition 2: Leave at least one mistake in your knitting or crochet

Growing up in Ireland, I heard a couple of times about a cute and quaint Native American custom. It was said that Native Americans leave one small mistake in their work. The reasons given were various – because only the gods/the creator can produce perfection and it is disrespectful to the creator to try; because malevolent spirits might get jealous if you create an utterly perfect piece; or that a perfect needlework creation can trap the soul of the person who created it.

Whatever the reason given, the one thing in common was that it was a belief, always attributed to someone else, somewhere else in the world, about leaving one mistake in a piece of work.

It amuses me greatly that nowadays on social media this same superstition is almost always attributed to the Irish. Trust me as an Irish person, this isn’t something Irish crafters generally believe, it’s a cute story sometimes swapped about, but always quoted as an idea arising from ‘someone else, somewhere else’. It didn’t originate in Ireland.

What can we take from this idea? Its very doubtful that there are any malevolent Fey watching my work to check that its not mocking them with its perfection, but its important to remember that *to err is human*. Any large piece will almost certainly have some small irregularity in it somewhere. It’s important to look at the overall beauty of a finished piece, and not overly focus on its tiny flaws.

Ironically, did you know how hard it is to create a mistake in a piece of knitting on purpose? I make plenty of mistakes, but doing that swatch so I could photograph it for this blog … I nearly expired on the spot. Try it some time, it’s frustratingly fun.

But from a superstition that didn’t come from Ireland, lets move on to one that does…

An image of some aran style cable knitting with the text Knit on a Sunday, Rip in a Monday

Superstition 3: Don’t knit on a Sunday

If you knit on a Sunday, you will find on the Monday that the whole thing needs frogged.

This idea come’s from a very specific group of Irish knitters. Specifically, those involved in the very low pay, high skilled and arduous industry of commercial Aran hand knitting, an industry that has been in Ireland since the 1880s to today. Aran hand knitters have spent many decades being expected to collect supplies, work from home every hour of the day and night creating items for export, while earning tiny amounts, or at certain points, in exchange for small food parcels.

This idea that it’s just not possible to knit on a Sunday without dooming the garment under construction is without a doubt an important self defence strategy. Everyone needs a day off once a week to survive, and Sunday is the obvious one to pick in a predominantly Catholic culture.

For the majority of us that knit as a hobby, or to support our mental health, knit whenever you feel the need or desire. And whichever way you do it, always make some ‘me time’ in every week.

A picture of a crocheted scrunchie around a hair bun, with the text Trapping a hair in your crochet or knitting project will bind the recipient to you forever

Superstition 4: Trapping a hair in your knitting or crochet

According to some, trapping a hair in your knitting of crochet project will bind the recipient to use.

Hello … Creepy, this one is!

Similar to the ones above, I would guess this saying arose from the realities of hand crafting, and the likely things that happen. I don’t think I’ve ever made an item without getting at least one strand of both my own hair, and also my pets hair, caught up with the yarn. I spend so much time pulling them out.

It’s also the only complaint I’ve ever had yet in writing patterns for publishers. I sent one the sample, and they replied on receipt that it was beautiful, had arrived safely, but it had a cat or dog hair on it!!! And make sure to never send a sample off again without checking!!! Arrrggg… cringe, lesson learned! Am I now bound for life to a small Canadian yarn manufacturer? It wouldn’t be so bad if that involved the payment of royalties ad infinitem, but I suspect not.

Pic of man in a knitted vest under a jacket with the text 'The Sweater Curse'

Superstition 5: “The Sweater Curse” Don’t knit or crochet a big project for a significant other before marriage

This superstition is so prevalent, it even has its own Wikipedia entry. According to this belief, if a crafter creates a large project such as a knitted pullover or crocheted blanket for a romantic interest, the relationship will inevitably fail.

Why might this have come about? It’s easy to let romantic ideas flourish, and embark on a massive project for someone who isn’t actually ‘the one’. Big projects can take huge financial investment and months to a year or more to complete. So casting on a complex Aran pullover for a romantic interest after the 3rd date probably will end the relationship. It’s kind of like asking them to help you pick out baby names at the same point. A little creepy and more likely to send them running for the hills than have them falling in love. Give it time, stitcher, give it time!

Good 3rd date gifts, if you want them to know you’re and are also a hand crafter are smaller items that work up quickly. Give them a beanie, perhaps. Hold back on the huge project until you are certain this is a committed relationship.

(Disclaimer, Photo shows my long suffering brother in law. And he was only modelling that vest for me, I didn’t even let him keep it.)

Image of a cast on row of knitting and an X over a calendar showing Friday. , with the text ' Never start a project on a Friday'

Superstition 6: Don’t cast on a new Project on a Friday

This is another confusing knitting and crochet superstition. What’s the issue with Fridays? A perfect day to start a new project, in my opinion. The end of a long work week, why not celebrate by casting on a new sock? You have the whole weekend ahead of you. And so many projects – socks, hats mittens, etc, can be finished between 4pm on a Friday and 9am on a Monday morning before returning to the daily grind of being a cog in the soul destroying capitalist machine.

A picture of some crochet behind theatre stage curtains with the text 'Stitch work on stage brings bad luck'

Superstition 7: Don’t knit or crochet on stage

Theatre folk are a particularly superstitious bunch it would seem. Many versions of the ‘don’t knit or crochet on or near a stage’ seem to exist.

To those people I will just say – Break a leg! It will be alright on the night!

A picture of a pair of knitting needles and a crochet hook with the text never pass needles or hooks pointy side out

Superstition 8: Don’t pass needles or hooks pointy side forwards

All kinds of funny beliefs get attached to this one. Passing a needle pointy side out means you are stabbing the bond, and will loose that person from your life, and others variants.

And yet, underneath it all, there’s a basic life skill at play. Don’t run with scissors. Don’t jab pointy things at people. Pass needles and hooks like you would pass a knife. Handle side to the other person.

A picture of a pullover work in progress, missing the final sleeve and neck band, with the text 'The sleeve hump'

Superstition Nine: The Sleeve Hump

This one is more of a basic belief than a fully fledged knitting or crochet superstition. But I’ve heard a few people mention difficulties getting over the ‘sleeve hump’.

You start a project. All stars eyed excitement. By the last sleeve, the novelty has worn away. For a process knitter or crocheter, new projects are calling, and a certain self control is required to go back and Finish! That! Project!

If you know of any other interesting knitting or crochet superstitions, please do mention them below in the comments. I’d love to hear from you. And if you would like to see some reels about crafty superstitions, give Diane of Handmade.by.Hennyd a follow. She has a fantastic series of them. And if you are over on Insta, FOLLOW ME TOO, obviously!

Thanks for reading

By Ciara

I learned to knit as a young child, and came to crochet much later in life when I could no longer knit. Sharing the joy of crochet with sustainability and slow fashion in mind is a passion

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