If you love cross stitching, chances are you’ve made a mistake or two and then have to undo an entire area to remove the stitches that you’ve mistakenly created to redo them.
What is frogging in cross-stitching? Frogging is when you have to rip out the stitches that didn’t look right so that you can redo an entire area again. The term came from “rip it” which sounds similar to “ribbit.”
While making a mistake after meticulously creating your stitches can be a bit annoying, there are a few things you can do to make frogging a bit easier. This article will help you learn all about frogging.
What Is Frogging?
In the world of cross-stitching, frogging is a process where the stitches are undone due to an error or mistake. The origin of the term frogging can be traced back to the sound a frog makes – ‘ribbit,’ which sounds similar to ‘rip it.’
Despite the cute name, everyone in the world of cross-stitching absolutely despises frogging. Not only are you undoing hours of work, but ripping out stitches is messy and tedious, and sometimes it can take longer than it took you to create the stitches in the first place.
Even experienced cross-stitches make mistakes every once in a while, and there are a lot of reasons why you may want to frog.
First – the most common, you may want to fix mistakes that you’ve created. This can be due to miscounting, thread tangling, or maybe you just don’t like the way the stitches sit on the fabric. We all make mistakes from time to time, but it’s best to fix them as soon as you see them, as the longer you leave them, the harder it is to frog.
Sometimes, you just change your mind about a color that you’ve picked – Let’s say that you’re stitching along and decide that another color would be better for a particular area of your project.
Or, you can change your mind about the design and pattern and want to start your project over. In these instances, there’s no other way but to frog those stitches and start over again.
If you have a piece of cross-stitch that you have finished but no longer enjoy, you can also frog the entire piece to save the piece of fabric for a future project as well.
Tools To Help With Frogging
If your cross-stitching toolkit doesn’t have any frogging tools yet, you’re definitely missing out. Making mistakes can be frustrating, but these tools will definitely make frogging easier.
1. Stitch Fixer
A stitch fixer is a combination between a crochet hook and a tapestry needle – you have a crochet hook on one end and a tapestry needle on the other.
This stitch fixer is pretty neat, not just for cross-stitching but also for knitting and crocheting as well.
You can use it to pull out the threads to fix mistakes you have just made, so instead of ripping out an entire row, you can use the needle to loosen the stitch and use the crochet hook to pull it out.
2. Snip A Stitch Scissors
These scissors are precision tools that can help you get right in a single stitch and cut it, so you don’t have to worry about wedging in bulky scissors to get the job done.
They are quite efficient, and the curved edges also make sure that you don’t damage the fabric when you cut the threads.
3. Seam Ripper
Of course, if you are familiar with crafting and sewing, then a seam ripper must be an essential item to have in your toolbox.
This is a sharp blade that can get in between the stitches very quickly and efficiently to snap the stitches apart. This is suitable if you need to rip out a whole row of stitches at once.
Keep in mind that the seam ripper may pull and tug on your fabric, so the fabric may be damaged in the process. If you don’t want this to happen, then it’s better to opt for a thread cutter or a pair of snip-a-stitch scissors instead.
4. Judy’s Boo Boo Stick
The name of this tool sounds like a children’s toy, but it actually shapes like a mascara wand. If you have a clean mascara wand at home, you can also use that in place of the boo boo stick.
Essentially, after the threads are cut, you can use the bristles to pick up the thread and remove it quickly. This method can efficiently remove all the threads at once without damaging the fabric, which can sometimes happen when you use tweezers or your fingers to pull out the stitches.
You can use a rolling motion, similar to when you coat mascara on your eyelashes, to pick up the threads with the boo boo stick. Although the mechanism is simple, this method is highly efficient at removing stitches, making frogging much easier!
How To Frog When You Have Made A Mistake
Frogging is a little bit annoying, but it’s not difficult, especially if you are really a skilled cross-stitcher.
If you have discovered that you have made a mistake while cross-stitching, there are actually a few ways that you can frog, depending on how severe your mistake is. Let’s take a look at each of them below.
Method 1: Cross-Stitching In Reverse
For this method, there’s no ripping of threads at all, and you can actually save the thread and needle to continue cross-stitching after you are done frogging.
This method is actually quite simple; you just back-track your steps and essentially cross-stitch in reverse to remove your stitches step-by-step until your mistake has been undone, and you can continue stitching again.
This method is suitable if your mistake is not too bad, and you’re only a few stitches away from the mistake, so reverse cross-stitching is not too time-consuming. Better yet, your threads can be saved, and you can continue cross-stitching after you are done frogging.
Method 2: Pulling The Threads
For this method, you will need to first cut the thread from your needle.
Then, using the stitch fixer or a dull tapestry needle, you can pull out the thread one by one in the order of the stitches so that they can become undone in the order that they are laid out.
Make sure your needle is not too sharp, especially if you are working with a woven fabric. Otherwise, you can accidentally pull out the threads from the weave of the fabric instead of your stitches.
This method is also good if your mistake is not too far away, and you can pull out the stitches quickly. However, if you are ripping out a lot of stitches, the thread can get very long, which can cause tangles and take a while to frog.
If you manage to save the thread, you can use the same thread after frogging to create new stitches for your work.
Method 3: Ripping Out The Stitches
This method is the most extreme, and it is suitable if you want to rip out a very large area of stitches in a short time. For example, if you are cross-stitching and don’t like the color, you will need to rip out all the stitches and start over.
For this method, you will need a pair of rip-a-stitch scissors or a seam ripper and a boo boo stick (or tweezers).
First, you will need to use the scissors to snip away all the top stitches that you want to cut. Cross-stitches are ‘x’s, so you only need to cut the top part for the stitches that you want to remove.
After cutting them, you can gently rub the area with your fingers to let the stitches unravel a little bit and reveal the loose ends. Some of the stitches can also fall out after being rubbed.
Then, you can use the boo boo stick to pick away the stitches. If you don’t have this, you can also use tweezers to pick out the stickers, but make sure that you don’t accidentally grab the fabric and pull out a thread from the weave in this process.
If these steps do not manage to remove all the stitches, you can continue cutting the threads on the fabric to loosen your stitches and repeat the threads until they are completely gone.
With this method, you won’t be able to save your thread for future use. However, if you need to frog quickly and efficiently, this is definitely the way to go.
How To Remove Needle Holes On Your Fabric
After frogging, you may find that your fabric may have holes remaining from the previous stitches. This is especially annoying if you want to create a different pattern and feat that these holes may affect the appearance of your work.
You can easily remove these holes using an iron and a spoon!
- Iron your fabric using the recommended temperature for the fabric
- With a spoon, drag it across the surface of the fabric in the direction of the warp and weft threads (vertically and horizontally). You’ll notice that the holes are closed after the threads are moved back to their original positions.