Frogging in Crochet

Crochet Frog

h.e.r., Moment, Getty Images

Have you ever heard someone say that they are frogging their crochet work? As a beginner, you will naturally wonder what this odd term means. It isn't an official crochet term that you will find written into crochet patterns. But it is common parlance among people who crochet (and is also used regularly in knitting and cross-stitching). If you join the online crochet community, you will almost definitely see blogs and social media posts about frogging crochet.

Frogging in Crochet

Frog is a word that can be used as a verb. In this sense, "to frog" means "to rip out stitches." When used this way, the word is slang and it is also a play on words. It pays tribute to our amphibious friends, the frogs, and their choruses of "ribbit, ribbit, ribbit". When you discover a mistake in your crochet work, you rip it, rip it, rip it. So, you frog it.

Frogging in crochet refers to the act of ripping out stitches that you have already crocheted. One of the biggest differences between knitting and crochet is that it's easy really easy to frog crochet, allowing you to go back to where a mistake is and quickly fix it. In contrast, the structure of knit fabric makes it a more difficult craft to frog.

Why Do You Frog Crochet?

There are a couple of reasons that you might frog your crochet work. The main one is to repair errors but a secondary reason is to reclaim yarn from a project you don't want anymore.

Frogging to Repair Errors

The most common reason to frog crochet to go back and fix a mistake. How often you frog depends on what kind of a crafter you are. If you are a perfectionist in your work, then you may frog crochet often in order to get each stitch looking perfect. If you are more about the process than the end product, you might sometimes leave mistakes in your work and frog less. Beginners usually have to frog more often than more experienced crocheters. Either way, there will certainly be times that you see a major mistake in your stitching and you need to fix it to move forward.

Frogging to Reclaim Yarn

Another reason that many crafters frog their work is because they want to reclaim the yarn from one project to use in another project. For example:

  • You started a project and realized that you didn't like it all that much after all so you don't want to finish it.
  • You don't want to keep the crocheted item anymore even though the yarn is still good.
  • A crocheted item has the wrong fit or style.
  • You found crochet item made by someone else and you just want to use the yarn.

Regardless of the reason, you may decide to frog an entire crochet item, ripping back those stitches to the very beginning to recycle the yarn.

How to Frog Crochet

Most of the time, it is super easy. Simply pull your hook out of the work and tug on the end of the yarn that you were working from. This easily rips back the stitches, which you can then re-wind into a ball of yarn (if you end up frogging the entire item).

If you're only frogging a portion of the work, pull the yarn back to where you want to begin again, re-insert your hook and resume your pattern. If you are afraid of ripping back too far, insert a stitch marker into the spot where you want to stop frogging so that you don't rip back past that point.

Frogging Difficulties

Frogging becomes difficult is when you are working with certain types of yarn that don't frog easily. Some yarn catches on itself when you try to unravel it, creating knots instead of fresh yarn to work with. Mohair yarn is difficult to frog; worsted weight cotton is an example of a yarn that's easy to frog. In most cases, being patient and pulling very gently will allow you to frog all types of crochet projects. In some cases, the frogging becomes a tangled mess and you might have to give up!

Frogging crochet can also be difficult if you've used unusual stitches. Most stitches do rip back easily, especially all of the basic crochet stitches such as single crochet and double crochet stitches. If you have implemented different crochet techniques it can become harder to frog the work. Patience tends to be key. 

Tips

  • Work slowly.
  • Pull stitches down from the base of the stitch, rather than pulling the yarn directly out sideways or even upwards. A downward angle facilitates smoother frogging.
  • If you reach a knotted area, try to work out the knot.
  • If you can't work it out, cut the work before the knot and re-join it after the knot. This works best if you are reclaiming all of the yarn, not just working back a few steps to fix an error.


Other Crochet Frogs

A "frog" is also a term that is used to describe a fancy closure for a garment. Frogs can enhance dresses, sweaters, vests, tops, shirts, robes, and other articles of clothing. Like buttons, frogs can be either functional or decorative. They typically include two parts, one attached to each side of the garment. One part functions as the button; the other part functions as an external button loop. Frog closures can be made using fabric, cord, gimp, thread, yarn, string, fiber, or similar material. You could even crochet your own frogs. Frog closures often feature some sort of knotwork. For example, many frogs incorporate Chinese knots, also known as Mandarin knots.