Dec 15, 2007

To Finish or To Frog: How Do You Decide? Let's Discuss...

Do you ever stop to think about how many thousands, or more likely millions of stitches pass over our needles in the course of our journey? I would be willing to bet that somewhere along the lines you have actually even counted the number of stitches that make up a project, and I would also bet that bracing yourself doesn't make much of a difference...the resulting number is always something staggering.

Most of us don't knit by the stitch though. We knit until a stitch becomes a row which becomes a section which becomes a piece of the garment, accessory, toy, or household item we set out to create. It is this cumulative nature that I find the most therapeutic (magical!) about knitting. That time plus yarn plus needles equals something that wasn't there before. Time is the prime ingredient. With enough time, we can make
just about anything. There is such possibility in that.

Twisted Maiden in Progress 003

Twisted Maiden Armwarmers - Frogged December 2007

But we know another side of knitting don't we? We know that a project doesn't always flow smoothly from the first stitch cast on to the final row of a finished item.
Like any handmade treasure, a knitted item is only as good as the pattern, or idea, or materials it came from; many times it's goodness is directly related to the the amount of sleep that it's maker has had before beginning it's creation. At times, what lies in between is so disturbing, and so daunting that it had to be given a name. A frightening concept that can reduce even the most resolute knitter to a pool of heartsick mush when they are forced to use the F word.


Some of your stomachs just flipped reading that. I know mine did. Frogging is the term coined to describe the reverse or our beautifully creative flow. The UNdoing of that cumulative process. So named because the action (rip it, rip it!) sounds eerily like the croak of a frog. A frog who lives at the bottom of a pond full of yarn barf. Nature loving though we may be - we hate this pond, and we avoid it whenever possible. At least, most of us do...

WCoK - Raglan V-Neck

Top Down Raglan - Frogged July 2006

I've been knitting over 2 years now, and as that time has passed, I find that instead of visiting the Frog Pond less due to improvement in my skills, I actually have been frogging even MORE of my projects - some of them well underway - because I am unsatisfied with something about the work in progress. In fact, after much deliberation, I actually frogged a completed sweater that I had knit top down because I just couldn't get over how poorly the armhole joins looked, and it bothered me and bothered me until that raglan was frogged back to the yarn cakes from which it came. I'm only surprised by this new tactic to rid myself of "less than perfect" FO's because it really doesn't mirror anything else in my non-knitting life. My mom and I are infamous for Making Do. When pressed, we will take anything in the pantry/craft cupboard/dresser drawer and make it into something that will pass for good enough. Get it done. That's usually the primary goal - mostly because whatever IT is is just a blip on the list of 8 million other things that need to be done.

Not so with my knitting of late. I'm finding that as soon as something starts to trouble me about a project's progress (the gauge seems off somehow, I don't like how this fabric feels on these needles, that cable could reeeeeally use some tightening up...) my brain starts the chant "Frog it and start over. You won't be happy until you do".

Red Raglan Pullover WIP

Toddler Raglan Pullover - Frogged September 2007 to become this

So, as with all of our round table chats - I'm reaching out to YOU now to share your Frog Filosophy. When something is not quite right with your knitting -how quick are you to rip it? What qualifies as a frog-worthy problem in a project? How major or minor does an "uh oh" have to be to get you to rip back and start over? Tell us your worst frogging story. Tell us about a frogging that actually saved your sanity. Have you ever resisted the call of the frog pond, only to press ahead and find a brilliant work around? I'd love to know about it.

In the continued spirit of these discussions, I'm sure you'll find that you are not alone in your experience with this less than rosy side of knit life, so share openly!

When something is not quite right with your knitting, and the time comes

To finish or to frog - How do you decide?

Let's Discuss....