Monday, March 28, 2011

Keeping You in Stitches - Volume 7

Frogging and Tinking…Basic Knitting Terms, You Don’t Want To Use

At a recent meeting of “Tuesday Morning Hooks, Yarns, and Thinkers,” an unusual hush fell upon our usually chatty group.  Some were contentedly working on their projects in silence, but most were quietly counting, the numbers flowing softly out into the air creating a buzzy undertone.  You might wonder why so many of us were counting that day.  Keeping count of your stitches is necessary as pattern stitches must be verified and the amount of stitches in a row has to be accurately maintained.  If you come up short or long, correction can be irritating.  No one wants to rip out their work and so we count.

If you are knitting along and much to your dismay see that six rows down you have a horrible ugly error then it is time to rip it out.  And then you just rip it, rip it, rip it ... gently pulling the thread from the stitches. This action is the basis for the knitting term of “frogging.”   We knitters envy the crocheters the ease with which they can rip their work, just a tug and the stitches come out easily.  Not so with knitting.

Knitters are free to frog their work too if they dare to strip all the stitches off the needles and then do what it takes to get them back on.  We have some dedicated “froggers” in our group. Virginia once completely frogged a single sock so many times that the yarn started getting fragile.  When we caught her at it, we exclaimed a collective “STOP!”   And proceeded to show her how to go back to her error, correct it and then go from that point on again. At last her sock is getting longer.  (Now if we can just convince Marie of the same thing.) 

Frogging is certainly not fun, but if your error is several rows down, if you just don’t like the pattern or think it is not going to fit, then frog you must. If, however, you discover an error in the row you are currently knitting, the recommended method for repair is called tinking. A knitter who has an error in an intricate pattern will cautiously remove stitches one a time, backing them off to the left hand needle.  Essentially this is un-knitting or knitting backwards, therefore we have the term “tinking” which is knit spelled backwards and indicates unknitting your stitches.

As much as we would like it to be different, errors are by no means uncommon.  We sometimes talk too much,  our project falls on the floor and off the needles; the cat decides our project is a toy, or that TV program is just way too interesting and we lose our place.  Certainly there are any number of ways in which you can lose count or lose your needles; believe it or not, some patterns actually contain errors that take a while to sort out.  Everyone makes mistakes and they are really not that difficult to correct.  As with the whole of knitting, or of life Patience is certainly a virtue.
So, don’t “tink” you need to frog your whole project.  Bring it to the library on Tuesday morning and we will do our best to demonstrate the easiest way to get you back in the swim of things.  Hooks, Yarns, and Thinkers meets every Tuesday at the Little Dixie Regional Library at 9:30 a.m.  We tink you’ll like it so join us!

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