My boss keeps writing “Don’t Knit Sheep” up on the whiteboard during project planning discussions. He claims it’s a British saying, but can’t explain what it means. We’ve speculated quite a bit… does it mean, don’t create something that’s already created? Don’t enhance something that’s good enough already? Throw me a bone!
I’m not a Brit (but several of my good friends are).
I’d think your guess is pretty good, Athena. Similar to the phrase “coals to Newcastle”.
You can knit wool, but I can understand why sheep would put up some resistance. That expression says to me: don’t try to use a product that’s not ready to be used, e.g. don’t smoke the tobacco plants. I don’t see how this helps a planning discussion (is that British for “meeting”?). If nobody understands it, I think it would serve to cause confusion if anything.
What was the best thing before sliced bread?
“Planning Discussion” is software-ese for meeting. I’m right here in the good ol’ US.
>>If nobody understands it, I think it would serve to cause confusion if anything.
I think that’s why my boss puts it up on the board. It makes us all stop the discussion and go “huh?”
>>don’t try to use a product that’s not ready to be used
If that’s the case, we all must turn off our computers and go home. I can tell you, 90% of the software out there is “not ready to be used.”
I don’t have any idea what it means either, but my question is why your boss would keep putting it on the board/using it, when he doesn’t know its meaning. For all he knows, it’s a reference to an obscure English sexual practice. (No, no that’s don’t __ sheep – never mind.)
>>my question is why your boss would keep putting it on the board/using it, when he doesn’t know its meaning.
We’re all trying to figure that one out as well.
My guess would be that your “don’t create something that’s already created” would be the closest meaning. After all, why would you shear the sheep, card and spin the wool into yarn, and spend all that time knitting only to end up with…a sheep?
Given my experience with anything done by teams or committees, this is probably good advice to keep in mind, although your bosses habit of just flinging it out there with no explanation isn’t very helpful.
Maybe it’s along the same lines as “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched”-- i.e. don’t get ahead of yourself, slow down, don’t knit the wool before it’s off the sheep.
The next time your boss writes it on the board, though, tell him that it’s really referring to mischevious creatures called “sheprichauns” who’d go around knitting people’s sheep just to annoy them.
p.s. I’m American, but my dad is nine-tenths British.
“A friend of mine once sent me a post card with a picture of the entire planet Earth taken from space. On the back it said, ‘Wish you were here’.” - Steven Wright
I’m not a brit but I believe it’s a form of "Don’t Wool Gather’.
‘Wool gathering’ refers to day dreaming, mind-wandering and just letting your attention fade off into nowhere.
Of sourse it could also refer to frowning or brow-knitting when you’re trying to understand or recall something------
I can’t find any reference to it in hundreds of reference books…must be one of those lucky things, like having a lucky sock on that day.
Well I’m a Limey but neither I nor any of my friends have ever hear that one before, si I guess your boss can make it mean anything he wants to.
It only hurts when I laugh.
Well, I’m from this sceptred fair isle and I have never heard this expression in my life. It’s probably some obscure Lancashire expression that his grandmother used to use. My flatmate’s from Lancashire and she frequently says things that have absolutely no meaning whatsoever
(For example : ‘You know what thought did? Followed a dustcart and thought it was a wedding’ and so on and so forth)
I’m from Scotland and I’ll verify with my parents but I don’t believe it’s used there either.