This gem of a story came up on the knitty board. I didn't knit for Jeff until we were securely married, and the sweater I made him is his absolute favorite.
The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater
"What are you knitting?" the woman in the waiting room asked. The knitter was used to being asked questions whenever she knitted in public.
"Oh, well, a sweater for my boyfriend," she said, glancing down in admiration at her grayish, intricately cable-infused handiwork, which was even now nearly completed.
"I'm a knitter, too. Have you heard of the curse of the boyfriend sweater?"
The knitter nodded her head in the negative.
"If you knit your boyfriend a sweater, you'll come to regret it: the relationship will be doomed, and you'll wish you hadn't given him a handknit sweater. Or so they say."
The knitter laughed. "Yeah, well, I spun the yarn myself. I can guarantee I'll get it back. It's my own special blend of sheep's wool and wolf. I told him if we ever broke up, he had to give the sweater back, or it would eat him."
The stranger laughed and nodded appreciably, while unable to help herself to a pet of the sweater. She jerked her hand back when she thought she heard a snarl. Was it her imagination? The knitter kept on knitting, as if she hadn't noticed. "It's beautiful," the stranger said nervously. The knitter smiled, never taking her eyes off her needles.
"Wolves are very loyal to their mates," she added, more to herself than to the stranger.
* * *
Two months later, the boyfriend was now an ex-boyfriend and had been for a few weeks, after he was caught cheating with another woman. Strange things had begun to happen to him. A month earlier, after being out of town with his new girlfriend, he came home to find his bedroom ransacked. His clothes dresser looked, well, splintered and chewed, as if a pitbull had been set loose in there. His clothing and blankets had been mangled and torn. Everything except the handknit sweater, which was still lovingly wrapped and unmolested in its original tissue paper, while everything else around it was in tatters.
Now it was Halloween night. The ex-boyfriend was supposed to be en route to a party at Bamboozles, and he was running late. He was still in the process of replacing his wardrobe. What little he did have was now in the hamper, waiting to be washed. And now, without anything else to wear, the ex-boyfriend reluctantly took up the handknit sweater and put it on for the first time. It fit perfectly. He had to give his ex-girlfriend credit: she had knitted him a fine sweater. He felt a momentary pang of guilt for not returning it, but he just didn't feel like phoning her right now. He squelched the feeling down and grabbed his car keys while heading out the door.
The top half of a huge, beautiful rusty full moon was beginning to peek over the horizon. His skin began to itch as he drove, at first a little, then a lot. "Freakin wool sweater," he muttered to himself, and he cursed his ex-girlfriend. A growl near his ears nearly made him lose control of the wheel. Panicked, he looked in the backseat. There was nothing there. The itching intensified. Indeed, the sweater seemed to ripple all over his body, as though alive. He scarcely noticed the full moon break free of the horizon, he was so itchy. He was still rubbing and scratching his body when, at last, he pulled into Bamboozles. He was tempted to take the sweater off, but a sign on Bamboozles said, "No shirt, no service." Grumbling and scratching, he went in.
The place was crowded. He spotted his girlfriend and she waved him over. "I'm in the mood to dance," she yelled over the buzz of surrounding conversations and music. He let her lead him to the dance floor. It was one of those tunes that was all bass and drums, thump! thump! thump! thump! and not much else. At first the dancing helped him itch non-obtrusively; indeed, his girlfriend thought he was just being sexy as he touched different parts of his chest and arms. He was beginning to find it difficult to breathe, but he didn't want to say anything. He certainly did not want to let on that the sweater was made by his ex-girlfriend. But he knew something was wrong when she stopped and stared. The intricate cable work on the sweater began to move like snakes, constricting and loosening, then constricting again. "Is that some kind of costume?" she yelled over the music. He shook his head in the negative. It was becoming unbearably comfortable now, so he tried taking the sweater off.
A wolfen howl filled Bamboozles so loud that everyone stopped what they were doing to see what was going on. Only the thump! thump! thump! remained, and even the music quit upon the second howl. The boyfriend was now on his knees, trying to remove the sweater, but it clung tightly. "Help me, someone! It's biting me!" At first everyone froze, helpless, as they watched the man's contortions. Someone in the crowd whispered, "Is it an epileptic fit?" Still another, "Should we call 911?"
At last emboldened, his girlfriend helped to free him from the sweater. It took twenty minutes of tugging and pulling to finally free him, and her efforts earned her a nasty bite on her hand. For his part, his back and chest were covered in claw marks and bites.
* * *
The next day, the knitter found her sweater wadded up in her mailbox. She sighed as she took out the familiar garment, with its painstaking cabling and homespun blend. She breathed in its animal scents and smiled. She smoothed it lovingly before putting it on over her t-shirt. As she went inside, it purred, happy to be home again.