Monday, June 13, 2011

F is for Frogging

I desperately wanted to avoid a topic that was an absolute that other people were going to write about. So for F, I wanted to avoid the topic of frogging because I am sure it is going to be a popular topic. But, when it comes to fiber arts, it is one I couldn't pass up. Hopefully, I'll cover it a little differently than other people may be.

rip it, rip it, rip it
First - a new person to the internet community of fiber arts may not know what frogging in. Frogging is simply this - when you 'rip it rip it rip it.' Yup - it's when you grab your end piece of yarn and rip the darn thing out.
So what in the world do I have to say about frogging that could be different than what someone else would write?

Simply put - everyone does it.

That's right. This isn't some weird form of peer pressure in that do it because everyone is doing it. In fact, no one wants to do it but when it comes down to the meat and bones of it all - everyone does it. Once understood, frogging your very first big piece really becomes no big deal. It's just a reality to the fiber arts.

The spaghetti mass of green in the above photo was a baby blanket I made for a friend. It started out as a bobble baby blanket and became a gorgeous pile of green yarn spaghetti. Then that green yarn spaghetti turned into a lovely basketweave baby blanket.

It sucks to think that you just put a lot of time into something and it is being reduced to a pile of blah; however, you have to think about it in terms of your excitement for the project. If you are not excited about the project, having no desire to work on it, then it will never get done (or take forever and a day, prolonging your lack of desire). If you bite the bullet and frog it, even if its a couple hours work, and put the yarn into a different project, chances are you'll finish the new item a lot faster than you would have finished the old one.
Let's take that green baby blanket I mentioned. I started the Bernat Baby Bobble Blanket and did not enjoy it at all. I worked on it for about 6 hours and only completed a few inches in comparison to the whole. I didn't like working on it. It was all I could muster to sit down for "yet another hour" to "slave away" at the blanket. I didn't like it - 'nuff said.

(I wrote a relatively objective review of the pattern too - but no matter what, I know I will not make that blanket in the future unless 100%, absolutely, life-dependent.)

I decided to frog it, which is the spaghetti mess pictured above. Sure - it sucked to frog it. I thought of all those hours lost with each "rip" of the yarn. I couldn't believe that all those hours were ripped out in a matter of minutes. But what happened after that was magical... ok, perhaps magical is a bit over-dramatic, but I felt pretty darn good!

finished blanket
I began working on one of my favorite crochet patterns which is the basketweave stitch. I love love LOVE basketweave. Perhaps it is my girlie love of baskets.. who knows - either way the baby blanket was done in a relatively short amount of time. The reason it didn't take that long is because it felt good to make this pattern. I enjoyed picking it up and working on it. Sometimes, I looked forward to it - because it felt good to work on it, it seemed to go a lot faster.

If I had left it as the bobble blanket - I would have dreaded every minute and not picked it up so willingly - I could foresee the baby I was making the blanket for starting school before I finished the bobble blanket.
Frogging something is a mental struggle, especially when there are several hours already wrapped up into the project. Do you just stick with the original project because you put several hours into it or do you take a leap and start something more enjoyable? It is almost like a bad boyfriend/girlfriend - do you stay in it just because you have already put a fair amount of time into it or do you just finally close the door on the chapter and try to start fresh?

I think the final thing I'd like to say again is: everyone is doing it.

Yeah - a bit of a repeat from the above but for a completely different reason.

Everyone does do it. It doesn't matter how new or experienced you are - you will end up frogging something.

Frogging something does not make you a failure or mean you are not good at what you do - it just means whatever you were doing didn't seem to work the way you had hoped for. In fact, if you are able to frog something, that means the project did not meet your standard for whatever reason (time, passion, need, quality, etc) - it makes you a better fiber artist to know when your project is not what you wanted or expected.

So while froggin' seems to be a necessary evil to the craft, know that it isn't necessarily evil at all.

Happy Crafting!
- Cris

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Natalie Howells said...

Excellent last line! It sure does feel evil though ;)

Sharon said...

I was once told that if you are truly a knitter, frogging comes with the territory!  It's breaks my heart every time, but in some cases (such as your blanket) it is well worth the heartache!!

LyndaGrace said...

I have frogged a project simply because I couldn't bear the color of yarn a moment longer.  Yep, frogging because waves of nausea occur each time you pick up that yucky color is a very good justification, I would say. 

topperarnold said...

Sometimes I frog something 2 or 3 times before I finally figure out what the yarn wants to be. Lately I've been frogging more than finishing! EEEP!

Vikkihook said...

You know there are patterns that just feel good to work...I say it is because they all have personalities! Love reading your blog..

Cris said...

Thanks! And I do have to agree - some patterns are just more "personable" to me than others. :)

Cris said...

Oh I love how you put that - frog till you figure out what the yarn wants to be. Love it!

Cris said...

I think that is 100% fine to do... and I'm a little scared to even ask the color LOL

Cris said...

Oh, depending on how much time usually dictates how heartbreaking it is... but I have to admit - I was kinda, in a secret corner of my heart, thrilled to frog that bobble blanket hehehe

topperarnold said...

Yeah, and I'm pretty stubborn. I *know* the yarn knows better...but I refuse to listen to it!

Emma said...

So true! I agree with everything you have to say here, but sometimes frogging actually feels amazing. Especially when you are erasing something hideous from your life!

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