I’m doing the A to Z Challenge for the month of April with the theme “Learn to Crochet A to Z.” For more details, and to see previous posts, click here!
Frogging? I thought this was a crochet blog, not a study in amphibians.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a science lesson. Frogging is a term that many knitters and crocheters use to describe unraveling your work, because you rip-it, rip-it, rip-it… get it? I’m not sure who came up with this term, but it’s pretty clever, and appeals to my love of terrible puns.
There are several reasons you might unravel your work. The most common one is because you made a mistake…and it always seems to work out that you never notice the mistake until three rows later. I’ve had many battles with myself where I try to decide if the mistake will bother me, or if I can just let it be. In cases like this, it really depends on what the mistake is: if it’s a complex cable or color work pattern, you’ll probably need to pull back to the mistake and fix it (unfortunately). If it’s in amigurumi*, you can usually just toss in an increase or decrease to make it work out.
Any perfectionists like myself will know how hard it is to leave a mistake in, even if you’re the only one who will ever notice it. :}
Another reason you might unravel your work is if you want to reclaim the yarn. For instance, a lot of people go to thrift stores and buy sweaters for the express purpose of unraveling them and reusing the yarn. I’ve never tried that myself, but it sounds like a great way to get a lot of yarn for an inexpensive price. I have unraveled some of my own creations to reclaim the yarn, though. In fact, I have an example from just a few days ago.
Ignoring the mess in the background, and the fact that I can’t strike a pose to save my life… I made this sweater about a year ago from this pattern by All About Ami, but it didn’t fit very well and wasn’t super soft. It sat in my closet all this time, never getting any wear. Recently we adopted a new puppy (!!!), and I really wanted her to have a blanket of her own, but I can’t crochet that fast. I started making a granny square blanket and did manage to make 17 four-round granny squares in one day, and join them together, which is not something I will be repeating anytime soon. But it was too small. So I dug through my closet looking for any blankets I had forgotten about, and stumbled upon this sweater. Perfect! I just unraveled the ribbed collar and undid the seams, and then I crocheted a border on it.
Our 12-year-old poodle, Ruby, volunteered to model it for me. The puppy, Maisie, is a little too energetic for photo ops just yet! 😉 Ruby is chilling out next to me while I’m writing this post. The pink afghan is one that I made four years ago or something, and she stole it when it was finished. She’s an afghan thief. Not that I could ever be upset with her. :}
So those are the main two reasons you would unravel your work…now the logistics of doing it! Unraveling can be time-consuming, but it’s easy in theory. You just take your crochet hook out of the loop and pull on the yarn, which pulls out your stitches. The main things to keep in mind are:
- The yarn will get tangled if you don’t roll it into a ball as you go. I usually frog until I have a small pile of yarn on the floor, and then roll that into a ball. Sometimes you can roll it into a ball and have that motion unravel your work, if that makes sense.
- Some yarns are easier to frog than others. Luckily for me, I mostly use worsted-weight acrylic (the inexpensive stuff you can buy from Michaels, because I’m a budget crafter), so that usually frogs pretty smoothly. More expensive yarns with fancier fibers might have a “halo,” though, like mohair. It’s best to not frog these if at all possible. If you do have to, however, just go really slowly – painfully so – and if it gets stuck, try wiggling the yarn until you can continue frogging.
- The yarn will look crimped or kinked after you frog it, depending on the stitch pattern. This is especially the case for single crochet, or anything worked tightly. It isn’t a big deal, because you won’t be able to see the crimps when you crochet something new with the yarn, but if it bothers you, it will usually relax over time.
*Amigurumi is Japanese for “knitted stuffed toy.” We’ll talk more about amigurumi later in the month!