By Amy Odin
This topic was recently discussed in one of our channels, and it’s one every knitter asks soon after they pick up their needles for the very first time. And as long as we’re knitters, we will never stop asking it. Do we frog when we’ve discovered a mistake back in our work? For those who are not familiar with the term frogging, it means to rip out our work. It comes from the sound a frog makes “ribbit ribbit”…sounds like “rippit rippit.”
When knitters ask me this question, I hear all kinds of answers, ranging from “As long as someone galloping by on a horse can’t see it, carry on” (commonly known as the galloping horse test), to “most definitely frog all mistakes.” The reality is, while our work is often viewed up close, there are some errors that are glaring and others that simply hide in the overall color or pattern of our work.
So, what’s the answer? It depends, of course. We all have different levels of tolerance, and some of us are more perfectionistic than others. I tend fall in the latter camp. I’ll share with you what I do. If the mistake is glaring, it’s a no brainer. I frog. With many others, though, I ask for opinions. I need fresh eyes on my work. I ask knitters and non-knitters that happen to be handy what they think and usually the consensus decides it for me. But if I have any doubts, regardless of the consensus, I tear out. Go with your gut on this. I’ve learned from experience that if I move on because the idea of tearing back and re-knitting is too exhausting, I end up with a project relegated to the “sad and never to be seen again pile” on a high shelf.
That said, I am a big fan of thinking outside the box. True story: I once finished an oversized, double knitting scarf project and discovered that somewhere around the first 3 inches was a light green stitch that was supposed to be black. This mistake was in your face! There was no way I could leave it, but there was no way was I picking out my bound off edge and tearing back 70 inches either. My black Sharpie saved the day. Since then, I’ve challenged people to find that colored stitch and no one has yet.
Our goal as knitters is to create things we are proud of and think are beautiful. The more years I knit, the more I understand frogging is an expected part of the knitting process and is sometimes inevitable. It’s not always a loss. Often, it’s an opportunity to grow by understanding knitting design and construction. It can make our work better, more refined, and advances our skills for projects to come. Remembering this brings more joy (and a lot less cursing) to all parts of our knitting experience.
Share your thoughts about frogging. We'd love to hear!