There’s heaps of information out there on how to knit a garment but it occurred to me, I’ve not often seen how to unknit a jumper? Or “Frog” a garment to give it it’s official internet knitters’ accepted name. (Hence my post being called “Frog City“.)

For those who are not up on the latest internet lingo – it’s called frogging because you take the knitting off the needles and rip the yarn away repeatedly – this sounds like a frog i.e. “Rip it. Rip it”!! 😉

If you unpick a stitch at a time, on the needles, that’s called Tinking. “Tink” is “Knit” backwards 😆

So here you are – a quick guide to how I unknit a garment. It’s not supposed to be a definitive “best and only way” – just how I do it.

Firstly – deconstruct your garment. This is the reverse order to to making it! I say that because I always want to undo the seams then get stuck because some idiot has left a collar or a button band in the way 😯 So undo collars, button bands and general “finishing bits” first. Then you get to pull apart all those carefully worked mattress stitch seams you spent hours on – strangely, I find undoing the sewing more emotional than frogging the knitting !

You should end up with garment pieces ready to frog like this…

Next I need to introduce you to my swift! Normally used for holding a fresh new skein while I wind it into a ball, this time I use it to wind my yarn from garment to skein.

  1. Tie end of yarn to swift
  2. Rip out several meters of yarn onto the floor trying to make several small separate heaps so it doesn’t tangle. I’m doing it like this because the Rowan Ribbon Twist I’m frogging is quite “sticky” and fluffy in places. If the knitting frogs easily you can skip this stage.
  3. Wind yarn onto swift by spinning it like a bicycle wheel with your left hand and guiding the yarn from the floor with your right hand.
  4. Tie the skein loosely in at least four places to stop it tangling

It should look like this when done

You should be warned of a couple of potential hazards.

  1. The yarn will want to tangle
  2. You’ll create a huge amount of fluff and need to hoover when you’ve finished.
  3. The process is irresistible to cats – even blind ones…

Once you have turned your jumper into skeins you’ll notice that they are made up of seriously crinkly yarn.

The next step is to give them a light wash to remove the crinkles (and any odours that may have crept in while wearing your garment!!)

I wash my skeins by hand, very gently in warm water and a “delicates” detergent, two rinses and fabric softener follow – all at the same temperature. only put one skein in the water at once – they will want to tangle together…if that happens , it’s a wet soggy nightmare 🙁

I now throw the whole lot into the washing machine for the fastest spin I can muster . I think this does less harm than the yarn laying around sopping wet and stretching under the weight of the water.

Give each skein a shake when it’s had it’s spin to separate the strands and hang up to dry – I find an “sock and undies” hanger useful…

Now it’s dry and looking more “yarn like”

From here I could either wind it up into a skein like you’d get from the shops…

Or put it back on my swift …

and use my trusty ball winder…

to make perfect little cakes of fresh clean and crinkle free yarn!

Not a bad afternoon’s playing and I got my yarn back from a garment I didn’t like! 😀

7 Responses

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  1. Cheryl
    Cheryl March 15, 2008 at 11:48 am |

    Great,i must try that some time,is that the judy jacket you have frogged Susan?

  2. susan crowe
    susan crowe March 15, 2008 at 12:03 pm |

    Hi Cheryl

    I’m afraid so…

    I feel quite guilty that I decided to frog it just as you started to knit it!


  3. mary
    mary March 18, 2008 at 11:26 pm |

    I’m just taking a break from frogging.I agree with you its ripping the seams thats a bit emotional. All that work gone in a few hours.I feel a bit guilty about not giving the garment away,but,I like the yarn.Now I have to look to forward to knitting something that hopefully I won’t be frogging.

  4. kathryn
    kathryn March 19, 2008 at 10:34 am |

    That’s very useful – especially the decrinkling washing part. Perhaps I’ll have the courage to wash those frogged skeins now 🙂

  5. Juliet
    Juliet July 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |

    If you don’t want or need to wash the garment to be frogged try holding the skein over the steam of a kettle or pan of boiling water. Use a (long) wooden spoon to hold it ( spoon end as handle). The kinks drop out quite quickly. It’s probably best on natural fibres only.

  6. Saff
    Saff May 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm |

    Fab, thanks. Decided to rip back my socks today and start over and your instrcutions were just what I needed.

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