Here's the deal. Sewing is never an exact science; mistakes are often thought of as "creative changes" to a pattern. We incorporate the little booboos into the quilt or the shirt and call it a day. But sometimes that creativity ruins the flow of the pattern, the style of the clothing, the look. Those are the booboos where we have to start doing the frog-stitch: we rip it rip it rip it. And the handy little tool called a seam ripper is the best way to frog.
I'm not going to show you how to use the seam ripper. It's not difficult and a great many have already done this online. So, go find a great YouTube to show you how it's done, or just follow this link:
How To Use a Seam Ripper
Nope, I'm not going to tell you how to use the ripper itself; going to tell you about that little ball on the short tip of the ripper and what to do with it.
Some people think the little red ball is just a pretty little decorative knob that protects fingers and fabrics from damage when using the ripper. Some people buy rippers without a red knob. I used to think it was, you know, just there looking pretty. But this glorious red knob on this marvelous frog-stitch tool has a wonderful purpose (was that enough hyperbole?).
Most people hold the ripper with the long-pointy part down, like in this picture. That's because most people only use the long-pointy part when they rip it. And if you have a small amount of seam ripping to do, it's perfect. But what if you have a whole border to take off on your king-sized quilt top? Or a long seam along your ankle-length dress? Picking and pulling and picking and pulling would take ages. That's where the short-knobbed side comes in. You can simply turn the ripper over with the knob down and zip along the seam.
1. Start with the first couple stitches undone.
2. Keep the ripper at a slightly upper angle and catch the stitches inside the sharp "j" area that is between the long pointer on top and the knobbed pointer on bottom.
3. Start zipping, holding the top fabric taunt. Keep the fabric and the zipper straight. I tend to keep my thumb and finger on the knob to keep it straight. Some people lay the fabric on a table and tug it a little while they are zipping in order to keep it taunt.
See how it is at a slight angle and fabric is taunt. By the way, I don't usually keep the top fabric away from the bottom fabric, but am showing you the ripper as it zips.
4. Zip along. If your fabric gets caught, stop or you will cut the fabric. Sometimes you need to remove the little pieces of thread trapped between the seam and the ripper.
5. Easy peasy ripping. All because of that sweet little red knob that's been hanging around on the ripper forever.