Well my friends, there was one person curious enough and not afraid to ask.
Enter Cherry. A knitter wanna-be and a personal friend. Don't worry yourselves into a tizzy my knitting readers, she will be brought over to the dark side and into the ranks of the obsessive knitters ever so gently and soon enough...
Let's get back to the main topic shall we?
Well Cherry, here's my explanation - and you can consider this your first knitting lesson.
Knitting is made up of two different stitches: the knit stitch and the purl stitch. It's how these two stitches are manipulated that makes knitting such an ever-changing habit, I mean hobby. Whilst making a knit or purl stitch, mistakes can be made. Sometimes you have to un-do what you have done. If the boo-boo is on the same row or round of knitting, you can tink (knitting backwards or un-knitting or k-n-i-t is now t-i-n-k - get it? Cute, right?). If the boo-boo is a few rows down or you've made the mistake throughout the entire piece, you might want to frog.
Frog - v. to take apart knitting for whatever reason (choose one, choose wisely) 1. a big mistake in the knitting 2. you can't stand it anymore (can you say "Donna does that?" I knew you could) 3. the gauge is all wrong 4. the yarn is all wrong for the pattern 5. what the hell was I thinking?!? etc etc etc (Been there chose them all.)
Why call it frogging? This name comes from the words the knitter mumbles (or thinks) as the stitches are ripped apart. Rip it, rip it, rip it - almost sounds like ribbit, hence a frog and ta da! we get the official knitting term: frogging.
For the most part, when I'm frogging it means I'm taking apart a thrift store sweater and therefore gaining lots of expensive yarn for little to no $$. Booyah! Being a financially challenged single parent has allowed me to be more creative in how I subsidize my hobbies. Example: $5.99 bought me two sweaters, which took several hours to frog, which turned into 2600 yards of yarn, which took several hours to skein up, which has already kept me out of lots of trouble and will continue to do so when I finally do knit it all up. I shudder to think what that would have cost me at a store. Actually, I wouldn't have been able to buy it. At all. 2 Sweaters = $5.99, hours of low-cost entertainment = PRICELESS!
Frogging is very calming for me - one of my favorite de-stressers. While I do usually have to knit - frog - knit - frog until I can actually get something going, I enjoy frogging other stuff even more. Thrift Store Sweaters are the perfect things. For $2 to $4, I get hours of frogging and winding enjoyment and very cool, once expensive yarn to feed my stash. With a little TLC, it looks as good as new and I get to knit with some yarn I would never have been able to afford the first time around. It's a win-win all the way around as far as I see it.
For those interested, this is a very good tutorial and where I learned to do the deed. It explains how to pick out the right sweater (yes, there are actually sweaters that don't do well with the whole process - usually the ones in a color I like too), how to take that sucker apart, and how to deal with all the yarn you just scored (skeining, washing, etc). Ashley Martineau does a great job taking her readers through the steps, and there are lots of photos. Give it up for Ashley - You Go Girl! In checking out her site for the link, I noticed she's got a link to a free download of the eBook version. I'm gonna have to go back and see what else she's added...
Well, Cherry, that concludes your first knitting lesson. Hope I explained it well enough. If not, let me know.
Warning: Thrift Store Sweater frogging can be addicting. You could find yourself ignoring everyone and everything else to spend all your days combing Thrift Stores for 'the perfect sweater for frogging and all your nights frogging them. Don't say I didn't warn you.