Sunday, August 22, 2010

Very Superstitious

Writing's on the wall,
Very superstitious,
Ladders bout' to fall,

It’s Friday the 13th. I have to fly home. I wouldn’t mind if it was just Friday. Or just the 13th. But it’s Friday the 13th. And I’m a bit superstitious and I don’t really want to chance it. But I want to get home worse, so I fly. And nothing happens.

I’m not overly superstitious, mind you, like my mother. I’m just superstitious enough to be cautious. I don’t want to push my luck! If the salt spills, I’m throwing some over my left shoulder. If there is a ladder, I’m not walking under it. I turn around if a black cat crosses my path. I don’t open umbrellas in the house. I usually will leave a penny on the ground if it’s found tails up. If there is a pole or something that people I’m with have to walk around, we both have to go on the same side. If we don’t, one person has to say ‘bread and butter’ and the other has to say ‘butter and bread’. I eat black eye peas on New Years, along with pork, cabbage and spinach. I’m not sure why the pork, cabbage and spinach but that’s what my mother did, and hers before so that’s what we do. The Christmas tree stays up til after New Year’s. But one year I did take it down before and nothing happened. And I’m not sure where my superstition ends and my OCD tendencies begin, but I like to eat things like M&Ms or grapes in even numbers. I’m not sure it’s bad luck if I don’t but I have an uneasy feeling when it isn’t even. I know…weird.

So what is a superstition? According to Webster's dictionary, superstition is any belief that is inconsistent with the known laws of science or with what is considered true and rational; especially such as belief in omens, the supernatural, etc. Superstitious means of, relating to, or swayed by superstition. You probably know someone who has a good luck charm. Maybe they have a rabbit foot or a lucky coin. Athletes seem to be particularly superstitious, with all kinds of rituals they perform for luck. There may be a lucky shirt or a lucky pair of shoes or certain actions performed before each game.

In general, women are supposed to be more superstitious than men. When was the last time you saw horoscopes in a men's magazine? But I’m not sure the male athletes with their lucky socks are being counted. I would think it’s probably about equal. Intelligence seems to have little to do with partaking in superstitions. For example, on the campus at Harvard, there are most likely a lot of intelligent people. The foot of the statue of John Harvard is often rubbed as people pass by. It’s supposed to bring good luck. In a way, a superstition helps people bond together, especially when it becomes part of a campus or community.

I remember one time, when I was an early teen, still in junior high, a group of college boys had moved into a house down the street. My friend and I would try to catch a glimpse now and then. My mother and I were going to the store. We got in the car and headed down the block. She drove a 1963 fastback Ford Mustang, a bit of a hotrod. The college boys were out in their driveway, shirtless, washing a car. I was enjoying the view! They looked our way as she was driving closer. A black cat crossed the road a few houses in front of us. Oh no! I knew what that meant! She pulled into their driveway! I was mortified! She waved, hollered out the window there was a black cat so she had to turn around and was on the way. I just sunk down in the seat and pretended to be invisible! I had never been so embarrassed in my life. My cool factor was in the negative numbers. And all for a stupid black cat!

I ran across some knitting superstitions I didn’t know about. I’ve heard about the sweater curse, of course, but not the boyfriend sock curse. You aren’t supposed to knit a pair of socks for your boyfriend or he'll walk away from you. So what if the guy is the knitter? Can he knit his girlfriend socks or sweaters? What if you want to get rid of your boyfriend? Should you knit him socks? Hmmm…I wonder.

My friend Brenda's socks from her own homespun yarn

I didn’t know it's supposed to be bad luck to leave a project unfinished. If you do, the intended recipient will get bad luck from the unfinished item. You might too. So it could be a double whammy. I wonder what happens if you don’t have a particular person in mind for the project? When you finally decide who it’s for are you giving them bad luck as well because you hadn’t finished it right away? If that’s the case can you intentionally not finish projects for certain people in order to give them bad luck and take your chances? Does the bad luck go away when the project is finished?

Stabbing your needles though your yarn also brings bad luck to anyone who wears something made from that yarn. It also splits the yarn and can mess it up, but that’s not part of the superstition.

If you knit one of your own hairs into a garment, it is supposed to bind the recipient to you. So if you give someone something then can’t get rid of them from now on, you must have accidentally gotten your hair in your knitting. What happens if you knit a hair into a pair of socks? Does the boyfriend go ahead and leave but stays bound to you forever?
From Neatorama: Knitting things with hair.

This is a morbid superstition I think. If you knit for children you may have, before you are pregnant, it’s bad luck. It may keep you from getting pregnant or bring ill health to the baby. But if you are already pregnant and knit for the baby it’s okay. And you can knit for someone else’s baby whether you are pregnant or not.

Then there are mitten superstitions. Mittens and socks should be knitted in summer, so they will be soft, warm and strong. You should not wash new mittens when there is an old moon or they will lose their color and let the wind in. An old moon, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, is in January, after the Yule or after Christmas. If you don’t want to have any money just wipe your nose in a mitten. You’ll never become rich. And if you do have a boyfriend, you should never give your hand in marriage to him with a mitten on. If you do, you also give away your luck. If you find yourself in that situation make sure both of you have at least one mitten on. That way the luck should transfer, shouldn’t it? But if you’ve wiped your nose on your mitten and then give him that hand it probably wouldn’t matter anyway!

I’ll go now, without stepping on any cracks on the way to the car and I leave the penny, tails up, for someone else to find. On the way home I see a white horse so I have to do the hand stamp thing that my Mamaw taught me, for luck. As I go under the overpass I touch a screw and make a wish, and when the hay truck passes me on the other side of the road I’ll say the rhyme my mother taught me, “load of hay, load of hay, make a wish and look away” and won’t look in the rearview mirror until I’m sure I won’t be able to see it. It’s dusk and as I see the first star I make another wish. I’ll say ‘bless you’, when someone sneezes, even if I only see them from the next car. I’ll make it home in one piece, I’m sure because of all the precautions I’ve taken, and wait to see if maybe one of the wishes will come true.

Very superstitious,
Nothin' more to say,
Very superstitious,
The devil's on his way,
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin' glass,
Seven years of bad luck,
Good things in your past

Knitayear is coming along. I’m seeing a lot of lighter colors than I used for the spring section. I’ve checked and I don’t always use the same color for the same mood. I mean blue isn’t standard for sad, etc. I do seem to have a lot of blues and greens and teal type colors in this one. Also seems to have a lot of pink it seems. I wonder if that means anything. They way I choose a color isn’t scientific. I decide how I feel and look at yarn and pick the one that appeals to me. Or I look at the yarn first and then decide what the feeling is. I just thought it was interesting that it’s not always the same color for the same emotion. Day 137, August 15 was a fairly peaceful day. Just took it easy and did some stuff I had to get done. I picked a navy blue ribbon with gold pieces in it. It seemed a tranquil color, reminding me of a dark night with the gold seeming like stars twinkling in the sky. Monday, August 16, day 138 was a hectic day, getting things ready for a workshop and also trying to get the grant finished up, or started! I picked a magenta fur, one of the original furs before fun fur became popular. I doubled it so it wouldn’t be so thin. The fur going every which way was exactly how my day seemed to go! Day 139, August 17 was spent again, partially getting ready for the workshop but mostly working on the grant. Another busy day, I chose my old standby favorite yarn color, variegated, primary multicolor yarn. I love this yarn for some reason. Plain old acrylic, Mexicali I think it’s called. Day 140, August 18 was an anxious day. I had to go to Balmorhea to do the training but I needed to get back because this was the day Bryce leaves for Europe. The training went well. I’m not sure how I got to be the substitute teacher trainer but I like doing it actually. So that’s a good thing. I chose a white yarn today, with little threads coming off of it. I was anxious about Bryce leaving. It’s a sad day but a happy day too. It’s sad because he’s going to be so far away but happy for him because he’s so excited to start this new adventure. Day 141, August 19 was a catch up day at work. Trying to get all aboard for the grant and get everything done that I need to do. Barbara was so nice to stuff the packets for me for the sub training on Friday. I worked on the grant all day, staying persistent even though the grant system messed me up more than once. I chose turquoise boucle with dark navy spots in it. It is the same texture, color and weight throughout. The little boucle bumps stick out but work into the yarn. Much like the grant system messing up, I knew it would be fixed and I could continue. Friday, August 20, day 142, was another successful substitute teacher training. Maybe that’s what I should be doing all the time! Who knows! Afterwards I went to the superintendent’s office to, yes, you guessed it, work on the grant. I chose pink variegated cotton which seemed to symbolize useful to me today. I felt useful because the people I trained were interested, thankful and wanted to be there to learn. I gave them my best. Day 143, Saturday already, was not a bad day at all. I cleaned, or tried to dig out from under, fixed a couple of dishes to take to a party and generally just hung out. I picked an aqua boucle cotton, with big lumps this time, which seemed to be comfortable, like my day was. It was also my mother’s birthday today. I didn’t call her but will tomorrow for sure. Who knows…it might be bad luck if I don’t!

When you believe in things
That you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way.


  1. girl you have my head spinning. you are an awesome writer and I giggled all the way through!!! miss you!

  2. Thanks Brenda! And your socks look great!