The valuable lessons in the resemblance between socks and slides

Emilii Dove
Emilii Dove
16 Dec 2022
Knitting socks by fire

I’m with Tom Daley and knitting. Tom has said that knitting helped him win gold in the Olympics. I may or may not be an Olympic athlete, but knitting has helped me in my job, too.

I can see a whole host of similarities between my craft projects and my work projects. Having started crocheting and knitting before I could even write, I’ve been able to draw treasured pearls of wisdom from those multiple years of experience and apply these to my work. Let me present: three things that apply to my crafting as a hobby and at work.

1. Start with the end in mind

No jumper ever turned into socks. And no 20-slide presentation should ever end up being 40 slides. If it’s even slides that best deliver the message. The point is, I need to visualise the end product and how to get there before I start. How else? For this, I need instructions. Or a brief. The better the brief, the easier it will be to start and finish. The quality of the brief also affects the quality of the outputs. With my knitting, I almost always end up tweaking the instructions. Can’t help it. At work, this can be done, too, but together with the team. One just must be flexible.

2. Follow a stepwise approach

It’s a process, no matter how you put it. A sock is knitted from calf to toe, not vice versa, unless you’re completely crazy or a cartoon character. But you definitely can’t start from the heel. And I do love a good process. Because with a method there’s no madness and everything makes sense. At earthware, we have just launched our content & creative process flow. I’m very excited, as this will bring our teams closer together and improve collaborations internally and externally.

3. Make something that’s fit for purpose

Shall we stick with the socks? Yeah, they need to fit. Knitting can be a lonely hobby –thank goodness for that*– but I do need to make sure my creations fit the end user. Then I can go and hide with my yarn and needles. But at the end, if I’m lucky, my gifted goods will make my friends happy. At work, too, I think about the target audience. Although that’s just the start. What I really relish is teamwork. Together we make sure the deliverables have the desired impact and they do what they’re meant to do. Together we can make something that not only brings a smile on someone’s face but actually changes lives, for the better. It is those outcomes that drive me. Every. Day.

To my luck this learning stream is not a one-way system, for I no longer have so many unfinished projects in my cupboards. Indeed, I’m a great initiator of projects. And I do love a new project, my energy goes up very quickly. At work, however, it seems one must finish what one started. Who knew!

So, what’s the call to action here? Is there one? I think it might be the one thing that’s different between socks and slides. Or if this post made you smile, maybe not.

*Really, I’m an extrovert, but we all need some peace and quiet every now and then.


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