Ripping back stitches is often called frogging because saying 'rip it' repeatedly sounds like 'ribbit'.
By Susan B. Anderson
Cover courtesy Artisan Books
In Susan B. Anderson's Kids' Knitting Workshop (Artisan Books, 2015) the author sends the message that anyone and everyone can knit. The patient and engaging instructions are geared towards children 8-12 but can help anyone of any age learn the basic skills of knitting. This excerpt comes from chapter 5 "Fixing Your Mistakes."
Ripping back means taking the needles out of your work and pulling out lots of stitches at a time and then putting your needles back in to continue. Sometimes you need to go way back to a certain spot, or sometimes you have to pull your work all of the way out and start again. This might seem a little scary when you just start knitting, but once you get more practice, you will feel more comfortable ripping back to correct mistakes.
New knitters often feel like they want to leave in their mistakes instead of pulling back and redoing all of their hard work. But being able to “rip back” is actually one of the greatest things about knitting: even if you make a mistake, your yarn doesn’t get used up, so you can try over and over again. There aren’t many mistakes in knitting that can’t be fixed this way.
Step 1: If you are pulling back to a certain spot, put a stitch marker on the fabric marking this spot so you’ll know when to stop. Pull the needles out of the stitches.
Step 2: Grab the end of the yarn you were just knitting with and pull the yarn out of the stitches. If you get going fast, you’ll see why it’s called ripping: you are ripping out the fabric. Either rip the stitches all the way out so there is nothing left or stop at the desired spot to pick up and carry on with the project.
Step 3: Start putting the stitches back on the needle by inserting the tip of the needle from back to front in each stitch.
Step 4: Continue putting the stitches back on the needle, inserting the tip from back to front and working all the way around the stitches until you get back to the first stitch.
If you are working in the round, once you are all the way around and all of the stitches are back on the circular needle, make sure the working yarn is coming from the first stitch on the right needle. For working back and forth, the yarn should be coming from the first stitch on the left needle.
Now you can start knitting on your project again, knowing you have pulled out your mistake and can start fresh. That’s a good feeling.
Note: Ripping back is sometimes referred to as frogging in the knitting world. This is because if you repeat “rip it, rip it, rip it” over and over, it sounds like a frog’s “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.”