I was sitting on my friend’s couch, listening to a funny story he was telling and I was crocheting as I was listening. I was trying to make a triangle shape but after 20 minutes of playing with my stitch placement, I realised it wasn’t working so I started pulling the piece apart and wrapping the kinked yarn back into a ball.
My mate stopped dead in the middle of his story and shrieked ‘What are you doing???’
I realised everyone in the room was staring at me.
‘Oh, I’m just taking it apart because the triangle corners weren’t pointy enough…’
‘But you spent AGES on that!’
I hadn’t really. It was like 20 minutes tops and I was just experimenting. Everyone seemed horrified that I would make a thing and then take it apart. It was like I had set fire to time right in front of them.
Since I started crocheting, I’ve tried to avoid undoing my work in front of people. They almost always freak out. Non-crocheters and crocheters alike – no one likes seeing anything being undone. People like progress. Watching hours upon hours of crochet work being wound back into a ball of yarn is weirdly distressing. I don’t like watching people do it either. I watched a video of a woman unravelling an amazing knitted dress and it made me very uncomfortable, even though I do this myself almost daily.
The question is… why is going backwards so awful?
There’s the obvious answer of wasted time, compromised productivity and generally feeling like a chump because you failed the first time but most people have an almost physical resistance to starting things again.
Think about that time (and we’ve ALL experienced this) when your computer deleted that almost finished essay or report. Your stomach dropped as you realise the whole thing is gone. You frantically Google ways to restore old files and you click around trying to find the last saved version of the document. If you’re like me you might scream and throw some things and then lie on the floor and sob as you realise you have to start again.
Then you start again, you do the thing in a quarter of the time it took you the first time because you’re practiced at it now and when you’re done you think ‘Yeah well that wasn’t ideal but it also wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened… why did I get into such a state about it?’
This week on Straight & Curly, Kelly and I are talking about the lost art of going backwards and how we can change the way we think about our time.
Our discussion is based around this piece from The Craft Sessions, and how resistant everyone seems to be about going back and starting again.
Topics discussed –
* The lost art of going backwards
* Is going backwards seen as being pedantic?
* Do we connect our productivity to our self-worth?
* Can we change the way we think about our time?
You can listen here or on your favourite podcast app.