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Frog pond edition

In Japan, the kajika goes kerokero. In Spain the rana sings cruá-cruá. A beka would say bre-ke-ke in Hungary. Here in Norway, frosker sier kvakk.

In the knitting world, however, frogs say "rip it, rip it." And that's the reason knitters use the term "frogging" as they merrily unravel their hours worth of knitting. Okay, it's not always a particularly fun thing to do, especially if you've found a glaring error and have to rip back something complicated like fair-isle or lace. But it can be incredibly liberating to admit that, well, this here just ain't working, while posessing the sure knowledge that you have the skill and talent to make something beautiful out of a monstrosity. And if you really can't bear to take your knitting apart alone, find a friend [next door or on-line] and turn your trip to the frog pond into a party!

The term frogging gives the impression of a rather exuberant ripping out of knitted stitches. But undoing your knitting stitch by stitch - technically known as tink-ing [that's "knit" spelled backwards] - can also be a useful trick to master. It's quite easy to be knitting along and realize you've gotten your ribbing off one stitch during the particularly exciting bit of that movie you're watching on television. If you catch the error while you're still on the same row...

insert the left hand needle into the stitch just below the stitch on the right hand needle....

...then slide the stitch onto the left hand needle while pulling on the yarn to release.

To unravel your work from a purl side, do the exact same thing, keeping the yarn in front. Repeat as many times as necessary to get back to the stitches preceding the error.

The real challenge to your nerves comes when you need to undo your knitting for a few rows, but not back to bare yarn. If you want to make life easier for yourself, try this lovely trick:

Use either a knitting needle [a smaller size might be a good idea here] or a tapestry needle threaded with a spare length of yarn... insert under the first loop of the stitches all along the row below the error. Be sure that you're staying in the same row as you work horizontally across. The loop will be the right half of the stitch both on a knit side...  

...and on a purl side ::

The row that you've inserted the needle [or thread] into will be the one you'll start knitting on after you unravel the yarn. To unravel just remove the working needle, take a deep breath and pull...

The true joyous nature of frogging is fulfilled when you can go wild while rippin' it. Just remove the needles and pull the yarn, winding it into hanks as you go along. Use a swift if you're lucky enough to have one or wind the yarn between your open hand and elbow, keeping the tension on the yarn gentle and even. Be forewarned that this ripping process is easier said than done with fuzzy yarns or mohair that like to stick together and is notoriously difficult to unravel.

You may find that the yarn is curly and crimped, especially if it's been a while since it was knit up. To return the yarn to knit-worthy conditions, tie the hank in 3 or 4 places with spare lengths of yarn and give it a gentle wash, following the washing instructions from the yarn label, using a small amount of mild soap and rinsing well. Hang to dry over a rod, adding weights [whatever you have handy, I usually use extra clothes hangers] to gently pull the crimps out. When thoroughly dry, rewind into skeins or balls and knit into something wonderful!



If there are any knitting techniques you're especially interested in seeing here, write to Theresa.

If she doesn't know how, she'll be more than happy to try to figure it out!