, ""To frog or not to frog. That is the question. Whether it is more practical to rip out and recycle sections of your knitted or crocheted project or to slog along with a piece that is no longer satisfying and by frogging put an end to your misery." Shakespeare's Hamlet pondered issues of life or death. Frogging is not quite as noble.
What is "frogging?" According to the "Red Heart Glossary of Knitting," the term "frogging" refers to the tearing down of a project to make corrections or recycle the yarn. The words "rip it, rip it" sound like the call of a frog, and that is how this dreaded remedy got its name. Although most earlier references pertain to crocheting, the term is currently applied to both fiber arts.
Like most knitters and crocheters, I have been faced with a piece with a significant error or one that has not turned out as I had anticipated. Should I rip it down to the error, completely frog and recycle, or leave the piece to languish, half done, until I am motivated to pick it up again?
I recently began a scarf that was to be part of a photo display for an an article on knitting and crocheting in black and white. The yarn was a soft, fuzzy self-striping boucle that transitioned in shades from black to grey to pearly white. I was knitting in the "mistake" stitch pattern that runs K2,P2 K2...ending in P1 on an uneven number of stitches. When worked on regular worsted yarn, the pattern continuously repeats to form sharp vertical ridges. However, with this boucle, the ridges were rounded, and the piece had a more undefined look. I knew I had lost my concentration when I failed to end the row with a single purl. Frequently, I found myself "tinking" or undoing individual stitches in a row. "Tink" is the reverse of knit and is used to correct mistakes over a row or two. This procedure was difficult for this scarf as it is hard to distinguish between individual stitches with the fuzzy boucle. Anyway, with 18 inches of the piece done, it was looking muddy and unrefined. I had already spent 4 hours to complete this portion of the scarf, and the prospect of another 12 hours to work on this unattractive piece was not appealing. Hence, the question: "to frog, or not to frog." Would the scarf look better if I continued on to the lighter colors, or should I declare it a disaster and stop? I wasn't even sure if I could use the yarn again if I recycle it.
Let us assume that your piece is redeemable. If you are knitting, and the error is many rows down, you will generally remove the needles and "frog" down to the point where you made the mistake in the pattern. You are not happy about losing all of those hard earned rows, but you know that this is a necessary evil if you are to salvage your work. Once you have finished "frogging" you are faced with the problem of picking up all of your stitches without twisting or losing any. Sarah White (What Does Frogging Mean in Knitting, https://www.craftsy/blog/2015/08/frogging-knitting) suggests that before you frog you should run a smooth contrasting yarn through the stitches one row below the error point. In this way you will not go beyond the mistake, and you can easily pick up all of your stitches. An alternative would be to run a thinner knitting needle through the row before you started ripping.
It is easier to correct and "frog" an error in a crocheted piece than a knitted one. Amy Solovay (What is Frogging in Crochet?, https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-frogging-in-crochet) suggests putting a stitch marker just beyond the error point so that you can easily identify the spot and do not "frog" too much. Also, when "frogging," pull down to the base rather than use an upward motion so that the stitches come out more smoothly.
You can't take back your "frogging, so think carefully. Don't panic before you resort to this destruction.
So where is my project now? It is currently at the bottom of a spare knitting bag on a spare set of #8 needles. I took the time out to write this blog as part of my journey of reflection as a fiber artist, and am now eager to start a new project. Will I pick the scarf up again? That remains to be seen. I do not like to give up on a project once I have begun, but I am not into suffering needlessly.
The pieces in the photos below show the results of successful frogging. The ecru sweater was actually the third attempt with the same yarn. I wanted to make a simple sweater for my granddaughter to go with a dress that she would wear to a special occasion. I attempted to try something new and picked out a seamless design that was worked horizontally rather than vertically. However, after I got to the midpoint I could not figure out the directions to do the other half. After several attempts, I "frogged" and started another. I was not pleased with the way the yarn worked with the second pattern either. After completing the back, I went back to a tried and pattern that I had used many times before. In the second photo, the crocheted baby blanket and hat came from yarn that I received from a friend in the form of a half-done sweater. She had arthritis and could not longer crochet. I "frogged" her sweater and recycled it with the extra skeins to crochet a baby blanket and hat. In the third crocheted piece, I had made only one cluster on the corner instead of two. I really liked this blanket, and was so disappointed when I found my mistake. I "frogged" down to the error, corrected the piece and went on to complete it. The blanket will be one of my donations to Threads of Love. "Frogging" need not be a total waste and can result in a positive outcome.
Please share your experiences with "frogging." What happened to your project? Do you have any suggestions? I look forward to your comments and insights.