In knitting terms, to frog means to rip out work that you are dissatisfied with.
It is a cheeky term derived from the sound of “rip it, rip it”. Someone with a sense of humour thought, “Hey that sounds like a frog croaking. Let’s call it frogging.” I like it! It makes me smile. Well, the word itself makes me smile. Doing it, not so much.
Knitting anything takes time, care and attention.
No matter what you are making there is always potential that you will make mistakes, or that you will simply be dissatisfied with how the work is turning out. Everyone who knits, at one point or another, will be faced with the decision,
“Should I frog this?”
Now there is full on frogging, where you simply abandon a project, sacrifice it to the gods of creativity and frog the whole darn thing. Wind that yarn up and set it aside until the sting of it has subsided and the knitting muse whispers seductively through it again. Sometimes, you just have to.
Then there are times when you discover something is wrong. There are stages to this process:
- There is a moment of confusion. You carefully count, recount, check the pattern, count again. You realize that you made a mistake.
- You think bad words (some of us will actually say them out loud… usually those of us without children or whose children have already grown up to at least teenage.)
- You double check, just in case you counted wrong.
- If it’s within the current row, you sigh heavily and begin picking back the stitches to where you made the mistake and you carry on, ever so grateful that you caught it as soon as you did.
- If it’s several rows down though… You realize it’s wrong and think more bad words.
- You toss the work onto the coffee table, get up and pace around (thinking many bad words).
- You grab a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, or a shot of tequila and exhaust all the bad words you ever learned. (I applaud those of you who don’t say them out loud.)
- Now, with your wits gathered (or numbed as the case may be) you assess the situation.
- Is it a one-off mistake? Will anyone but you know it’s even there? Aw shucks, just leave it as a reminder that we are all perfectly imperfect. Have another sip of your beverage and carry on, my friend!
- If it’s a one-off mistake that screams, “WOOHOO, Look at me!” You might be able to take the column of stitches above it out and just repair it as if it were a dropped stitch. Hey, that’s not SO bad.
- And then there’s the one where you thought you’d be creative; make stuff without a pattern. You start out thinking it’ll be fantastic. Then you reach a point where you should have stopped and reworked it, but didn’t. You keep on going and with every stitch that feeling in your gut gets stronger. (I’m reaching for the tissue box because I’m talking about my latest pair of socks… ‘blows nose’… That was black 4 ply yarn! Can you feel my pain?) You’ve invested so much time but it just isn’t good. When it comes to this point, you know that every stitch is going to make it worse.
Stop! Stop knitting now! Step away from the knitting!
I’m saying this as your friend! No, seriously. Stop. This is when you make notes in your knitter’s journal about what didn’t work. Use this to reassure yourself that all that work was NOT in vain. Brace yourself, and frog.
- And then my friends, there’s lace. Shall I pour you a scotch? Enough said.
I wish you infrequent, but productive frogging and even happier knitting!