Tag Archives: design

Six in one hand, half a dozen in the other

Interview and Context

DO – It just means its pretty much, two different ways of doing the same thing, and neither is better than the other.
Interviewer – And it gets used all the time here (in the wood shop).
DO – Yes.
Interviewer – When was the first time you heard it?
DO – I have no idea, like when I was a kid.
Interviewer – Have you always worked in shops?
DO – No, I heard it before. I don’t think it s necessarily a shop only saying, but it is heavily used in shops. Between… (shouts to shop manager, DM) would you agree that between you, me, and (other shop manager) that we say six in one hand, half dozen in the other— like how often do you think we would say that phrase, or a version of?
DM – Ehh, at least weekly?
DO – It, it’s generally used in the planning stage of a thing because we’re like, “How are we doing this, what do you think?” and it’s like, “How do you suggest we like—”
DM – There’s usually two or three ways to accomplish the same thing. At least.
DO – And sometimes there’s an advantage to one way and sometimes there’s not. It’s comparable.


This metaphor is used frequently in this informant’s environment. They mentioned that it is most common in planning stages of set construction, which explains why the regular student workers had not heard the saying (because they are not involved in the planning or designing stages), while set designers and technical directors had heard it.
Because six is equal to a half dozen, the metaphor is saying that there are multiple ways to achieve one goal, and neither way is necessarily better than the other, so it does not much matter which option they choose. However, it also signifies a tiny roadblock caused only by indecision between two equal choices.
The informant doubted it was a saying unique to construction shops, even recalling they had heard it before entering that specific culture, suggesting it was more of a crafting cultural saying than a specific construction one.

Good Luck to Bleed on Designs in Fashion Industry

This friend is a student studying fashion design at FIDM, and she often alters housemates’ old clothes or creates new designs when she doesn’t have schoolwork. She attends one particular class that requires she use a small mannequin and canvas to create fabric patterns.

Three females including myself were in the kitchen when I asked her whether the fashion industry has any superstitions. We held this conversation after a day of work, and we discussed other folk beliefs in the same sitting. The speaker said that it is good luck to bleed on new fashion designs because this means the designer put their ‘blood, sweat and tears’ into the piece.


In the fashion industry, “It is good luck to bleed on things. Like if you’re pinning stuff on your body form, and you prick your finger a little bit, and you get like a little blood on like your costume or your design, it is considered good luck.” The speaker said that she had accidently done this while creating her own designs, and that she learned this tip from a female professor.

Designers are not supposed to bleed on purpose. Doing so ruins the sentiment. I asked if blood was still a good sign if the design were made out of expensive fabric, and the speaker said yes, that’s not a problem because blood is very easy to wash out with hydrogen peroxide and warm water.

The speaker said that this superstition meant a lot to her because she has bled on past designs and believes this helped make these projects successful. “It’s kind of like that statement, like I put my blood sweat and tears into this. So like, I can’t tell you how many countless nights I have cried over literal costumes, trying to get them done. And then when they come out amazing. Like, that’s how I know. Like, I can feel that good luck, because you know, you experience it.


This speaker has struggled to get where she is now. She did not go immediately to FIDM after graduating high school, and she started her first year in Fall 2020. She has needed to share a room with an incompatible roommate, and she has needed to take up two food service jobs to continue working toward her passion even when is is difficult. I think the idea that blood as a symbol of struggle resonates with the speaker in part because she has needed to struggle to complete her designs.