February 13, 2004

Ripping good fun

Right now I have lots and lots of work to do for my major fields, and a fair amount of work to do for the class that I’m teaching. So, of course, instead of doing either, last night I started another project. Or, to be precise, I started destroying one project in order to someday start another. I’ve been planning to rip this for a while:


What ever made me think I should make a fancy evening camisole out of a metallic-gold-flecked mohair blend I do not know. It was entirely the wrong yarn for the task (who wants to wear a furry sleeveless tank top?), plus I made it at least a size too large. Which was only exacerbated when I lost 30 pounds. I knit the project last spring, and never even came close to wearing it. I decided to rip it and use the yarn for something else, probably a lacy shawl. So, yesterday I began the process. First, I cut off the straps and separated the two body pieces (here), and then I started ripping. This was complicated by the crocheted edging around the entire thing, and I’m afraid that, not being a very patient person, I cut some things that ought not to have been cut, so there are quite a few short lengths of yarn. But after I passed the armholes it started to go more smoothly. Tigger helped out:


Actually, he wasn’t a lot of help, but who could tell this face to go away?


Anyway, when I’d pulled everything out, I was left with this:


Unfortunately, the tank had been made with doubled yarn, so all of that mess needs to be separated into single strands. I started by winding one big pile into a ball, and then started pulling that ball into two strands, and winding those into separate hanks. But it was all a big pain, and I didn’t get very much done last night. What did get skeined I then washed and hung to try to straighten it:


I think this will be a slow process, which is fine, of course, since I still haven’t finished either of the projects I’m currently working on.

Now, all of this destruction raised a question. Where does the term “to frog,” meaning to rip out a knitted object, come from? Is it a new term, or has it been around for a while? It isn’t in the OED, but sometimes technical terms are hard to track down. Or has it been spawned (heh heh) only recently? I’m sure someone out there knows, and my husband and I would love to find out.

Finally, to answer Anne’s question, the visiting speaker was John Miles Foley, an expert in orality, who has done extensive fieldwork in the former Yugoslavia listening to oral poetry, and works with both Anglo-Saxon texts and Homer doing mainly comparative studies of story patterns and formulaic composition. He is also, it turns out, a very nice man, and a very interesting conversationalist. Which, I suppose, is only to be expected of an expert in orality!

This afternoon we’re going out to celebrate a good friend’s dissertation defence. I enjoy such occasions not only for the pleasure of seeing my friend succeed, but also because it gives me hope. It really can be done!

Have a great Friday!

Posted by Aven at February 13, 2004 10:39 AM

Frog: This is just a funny little evolution of a term. When people have to rip out some rows, they ‘rip-it’. This of course evolved to ‘ribbit’, thanks to someone’s sense of humor. From there, of course, we have ‘frog’. I only learned this a couple of years ago, so it could have been in use from time immemorial. Well, immemorial compared to a human’s life span anway. I guess a real English major could backtrack and find out when that certain someone decided to call it frogging. Not me, I’m too lazy.

Posted by: Mary at February 13, 2004 01:33 PM