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If you have spent any time around crochet, I bet you have heard the terms “frogging”, “frogged”, “had to frog something” being thrown around. And I bet you, just like I had before, went ‘Huh? What are the frogs doing in crochet?!”
The other day, while I was hanging out in one of my favorite crochet FB groups, I saw someone ask this same question again: “What is frogging in crochet?”
So, I figured I’ll write up a quick post about it.
Frogging is one of those terms that you would’ve never used if you weren’t in crochet, it’s so native to this craft. And, once you know what it means, you will find yourself using it all the time, because it’s fun and makes you feel like a total crochet pro in the know.
So, what does the term ‘frogging’ mean? In the simplest terms, frogging means unraveling your project. You know, that fun part when, after working on something for hours or, god forbid, days, you realize you made a mistake like 50 rows ago and now you need to unravel the whole thing to be redone the right way.
So what does “frogging” has to do with unraveling? Where is the link?
Another way to say ‘unravel’ the crochet work is to ‘rip it’. Now say it a few times: ‘rip it, rip it, rip it’. Sounds kind of like ‘ribbit’, doesn’t it? ‘Ribbit’ as in the sound that a frog makes!
So, because rip it sounds like ‘ribbit’, the process of unraveling or ripping of a crochet project is often referred to as ‘frogging’.
It is not exactly an official kind of terminology, but in the crochet it is used often, I suspect because it’s kind of fun to say.
What would be some of the reasons you would frog your crochet work?
Frog the yarn to correct a mistake
The most immediate case would be when you have noticed you made a mistake in your work. Maybe you didn’t count the stitches right and your project ended up wider or narrower than you expected.
It’s possible that you missed a stitch somewhere and now the design or the lacework of the crochet fabric is not working out the way it supposed to. The worst one that happens to me was with one of my blanket designs and, as you can imagine, a crocheted blanket has a lot of stitches! :O
Frog to reuse the yarn
Another reason to frog a crochet project would be to reuse the yarn from it. Let’s be honest, often we get a gorgeous yarn and it’s so magical, but when you make something out of it, it just doesn’t turn out how you imagined it.
The awesome thing about crocheted projects is that you can always unravel them, wrap the yarn back into a ball and make something else with it!
Frog to finish a project
There was a time when I ran out of yarn in one project and, since I love using the same yarn on a lot of my projects, I was able to frog an older design and use the yarn to complete my latest creation.
Few things to keep in mind…
Type of yarn
Now, I’m lucky that most of the yarn I use is synthetic, cotton, or wool/synthetic mix – those are pretty easy to frog. On the other hand, if you are working with a yarn that has a long pile or super fuzzy like mohair, frogging it can be a real pain in the butt and even ruin the yarn, so thread lightly.
How to unravel
How do you frog something? If you are frogging in the middle of a project – easy! Just take the hook out of the yarn’s loop and pull gently on the string, undoing loop by loop until you get the spot where your project was still correct.
If you are frogging a finished project, especially a garment, you would need to undo all the seams first, find the weaved in ends of the yarn, undo all the final knots, and only then you’ll be able to unravel it.
Keep in mind though, when frogging an existing piece, especially if it was used or worn for a while, will be much harder to frog than something just made. The fibers tend to intermingle after a while and every thread will be holding on to the neighboring thread. Be gentle with this kind of crochet fabric and don’t force or yank the yarn too hard to preserve its texture and feel as much as possible.
As I finish this little Q and A about frogging in crochet, let me tell you my personal funny story about it. When I was young, I was learning how to crochet and knit, but our family didn’t have much money, especially on a new yarn for me to mess with.
So, my mom gave me my father’s old wool sweater to repurpose. It was machine-made, but in a proper way so none of the yarn threads were cut.
I let out all the seams and frogged this large sweater panel by panel. It was well loved, so it took me a while to unravel all that yarn that just wanted to stay together. Once I had the yarn, I went to town making a dress as my first project (I know – what was I thinking?!)
Needless to say, it didn’t come out right – first it was too small, then too big, then too short. I frogged and remade this dress at least four times. At that time, it was like an ongoing nightmare, but looking back, I know it taught me all kinds of lessons on patience… and frogging!
What is your frogging story? Drop a comment below.