Five Fine Reasons to Frog Your Crochet

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 29 Comments

Well, hello again! Every day we have more interest in this year-long challenge. The Ravelry thread is pretty lonely. I’ll try to drum up some business there, but go ahead and link over, too.

Today we’re going to talk about the other side of WIPs and UFOs: calling it quits and getting your yarn back! Just need to let you know – this is a completely valid solution. If you have a WIP or UFO you’re just done with, by all means, frog it and enter the challenge! This froggy talk was inspired by the fabulous JodieBodie who asked “What criteria do you use when deciding to frog a project?”

artlikebread crochetspot caissa Mcclinton five fine reasons to frog your crochet

While the choice is completely individual, I am all about moving forward this year! I am going to be very directed with my WIPs and UFOs and I feel like the following criteria will reflect that spirit!

1. It’s been on the shelf for a year… or more! Popular organizational wisdom tells us that “if you haven’t seen it in over 2 years, it is safe to get rid of it.” I’m going to do them one better and say that if you haven’t worked on it in a year, it’s time to rip it back. Exception: If for some reason seeing the project again ignites the crochet fever in you, then by all means finish it. Otherwise, rip it back!

2. You don’t like it anymore. It’s happened to me before, and I think it may have happened to the best of us. You start a project with the best of intentions and then along the way you realize that this thing just isn’t what you had thought. No worries and no hard feelings, honey. Rip it back and get your yarn back!

3. It’s a gift you never finished. This could be a really guilty one, but guilt dissipates when we do something about it. That bit, bauble, or blankie you started for the baby who is now 16 needs to be ripped back. Just get over it and buy the kid a gift certificate for the movies or something! 😉 But seriously, if you do have an unfinished gift, now is the time to admit it, rip it back, and get your yarn back. Scratch that person off your gift list by buying them something and enjoying the feeling of freedom!

4. You’ve tried, tried again. This tip comes from Crochet Spotter Collette Griffith, “If I have a project that is giving me fits, I’ll stop on it, go to something else for a while, then go back to it. If that doesn’t help, I’ll repeat the whole process. But, if it STILL doesn’t work for me, I’ll frog it, and use the yarn elsewhere!” I agree wholeheartedly, Collette! Get your yarn back!

5. The yarn is yucky. It can be humbling to admit you’ve made a mistake in yarn choice. Maybe there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the pattern but you can’t bear the thought of slippers in that scratchy wool or a drapey shawl in that rough acrylic. Well, guess what! You don’t have to! Rip it back, get your yarn back, and if you still hate it, just give that yarn away. Life is too short for unsatisfying hobbies! Make room in your space and in your life for better, more beautiful yarn. There is someone out there who would find the perfect project for your cast offs!

So what about you, my friends? How do you decide when to rip back a project gone wrong? Please leave your thoughts, ideas and questions in the comment section below. I would love to hear about your finished and ripped projects!

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  1. Fay says:

    I have frogged several projects that my mom started. I have no pattern, not a clue where to get a pattern or even what she was thinking. So I frogged some projects to claim back the yarn. At first it felt awful, then I thought, I bet she frogged things or maybe she didnt and that is why there are all these unfinished projects. You just have to frog sometimes.

    • Cami says:

      I hear you. I can completely understand that it might feel weird to rip back projects you’ve inherited but your reasons sound very logical and I’m glad you’re moving forward. Maybe you can make something really special with the yarn you’ve recovered!

  2. Shari says:

    Where did the term “frog it” come from?
    What is UFO and WIP?
    Im old school! We riooed it! lol
    Just curious where these terms are coming from.

    • Noel says:

      You Frog It because you rip-it, rip-it, rip-it (ribbit, ribbit, ribbit). UFO is UnFinished Object and WIP is Work In Progress.

  3. Marie says:

    A few years ago I decided I had to finish all 10 of my UFO and WIP before I could buy any yarn. I finished 5 very quickly, then another 2 in relative time. Was feeling good until #8 ….. I reasoned that if I frogged it then it was like I never started so I didn’t have to finish it. It felt great, I have been delightfully frogging ever since. I also learned I don’t have to finish reading every book I start. It was a year of releasing!

  4. Iris says:

    I have no problem frogging – it is the process of crocheting that I enjoy – and while the product is secondary, it has to become something I will enjoy wearing, drapes and fits properly, or will make me feel good about gifting. Otherwise – Frog and alter pattern to meet my criteria.

  5. Zaftig Diva says:

    Sometimes I just need a specific yarn and know where I can reclaim it. I crochet every day and if I run out of yarn before I run out of time, I pull the project apart and start over. Finally, I have a piece I have reworked into three different scarves. I am frogging it for, I hope, its final incarnation – the edging to my road trip scarf.

  6. cecelia knuckles says:

    I crochet for pleasure and relaxation. If the project is becoming tedious and stressful…out it comes!
    Frogging is not a waste if you just use the yarn for a better project.

  7. Odalys says:

    This article came at perfect time. I have this beautiful butterfly grapghan pattern, but he yarn is so cheaply made that it kept slipping. I got tired of frogging hard worked rows, so I put it adide months ago. Everytime I come across it again I just sigh not knowing what to do. Till now. Time to frog it. Thank you

    • Cami says:

      This comment warmed my heart. Thank you! Enjoy ripping it back and maybe making another one (if you still like the pattern) in better yarn!

  8. Bonnie Banks says:

    The tips about the age of a UFO and of proposed gifts resonated with me: I have a flag afghan that I started SEVERAL years ago for a nephew returning from the Marines. The pattern got on my nerves, I modified it; then the yarn bugged me, and I just put it away. Then, after “reupping” with this project, I checked with my sister who said her son would still love the afghan. I’m giving it one more go, so we’ll see. 🙂

  9. I had never heard the term “frogging” while crocheting, but I admit I am a frogged when I have lost interest or forgot over time what my intention was with the year. It’s a special feeling when you can recycle!

  10. Jane says:

    I just frogged a project 2 weeks ago, how liberating! It was a kit with various types of yarn, and as a beginner was not knowlegeable enough to handle. It was in “time out” with me. When I picked it up after 1 1/2 years, I realized I didn’t even like the project! I took it to my yarn store to discuss with the staff, and they actually put in on the yarn winder and put it in balls for me. Ha! Take That! 🙂

  11. Debb says:

    Thanks for this article. Great tips. I have done the gift for baby thing that I didn’t finish in time but instead of frogging, I finished it and donated to a hospital for their clinic. Lots of moms don’t have enough & they just love the donated items!

    • Cami says:

      Debb, thanks for your comment. Great idea about donating your crochet to the hospital!

    • Marie says:

      I belong to a wonderful group called From the Heart. Basically you can make anything you want, donate it to their “stash” aNd when a group needs things they contact FTH and we fill their request. I believe the group has donated over 200,000 items since they started 12 years ago. All sorts of groups; veterans hospital, NICU, cancer centers, schools, homeless shelters. Every once in a while we get a call out. Recently hats were needed but people made them so fast they had to rescind it and say now we need scarves to go with them. Fun group of people and so dedicated.

  12. Cindi says:

    Howdy, Reading about frogging, I got to wondering how do you rewind the yarn to keep it from stretching any further, and to get the kinks out from being in stitches for awhile? Thanks for help.

    • Lee says:

      I just wind by hand, loosely. I don’t think I’ve ever done something that has been stitched a really long time, so not sure if it would work as well. I just put the bare minimum tension on the yarn as I wrap it around my hand. Be careful as the ball gets bigger; it’s very easy to begin pulling it and stretching then.

  13. Lee says:

    Is there any way to frog the beginning of a project without destroying the end. I knew it wasn’t quite right, but just not how bad, so I kept going. The end turned out okay, but the first half is a mess. Is there any way to rip out the bad part and do it over? Kind of working backward from the middle?

    • Bonnie Banks says:

      omg – it’s unbelievably tedious and difficult. You have to pick out each part of the stitch at a time by hand with a small hook; it won’t ravel out like normally.- i takes forever. Then you’d have to crochet “backward” to the beginning – what would that do to your project? Just keep it and ignore it’s not-perfectness or frog it and do better next time. 🙂

  14. Lee says:

    Thanks, Bonnie. That’s pretty much what I thought. Just hoped someone else had come up with a miraculous cure. I was making it for a gift, but I guess I will keep it for myself and make something better for the gift.

  15. Sue Watson says:

    I had a project I had started a long time ago. The stitches were small (Knitting project) and because it required small needles. When I finished it, it was an odd shape because I had picked up what I thought were dropped stitches, so the end of it was much wider than the beginning. I tried to take it apart so I could reuse the yarn. I ended up picking out each stitch. I gave up on that and have it laying around. No-one would want it. You have just given me permission to throw it away as well as permission to not finish a project I’ve lost interest in. I make prayer shawls and lost almost a year of projects because I thought I had to finish this old one. Thank you.

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