Bonus Week: Lifelines

Lifelines are a really useful thing to know about as your knitting gets more and more adventurous. Joanne takes us through the whys a wherefores today. What is a lifeline?

A lifeline is a line of yarn or thread that you place into your knitting to enable you to have a safe place to come back to if/when it all goes wrong.

Lifelines are particularly useful for cables, lace and any stitch patterns where the stitches are increased, decreased, slipped or rearranged as these are very hard to rip back accurately.

How do I insert a lifeline?

2014-01-27 10.28.47
2014-01-27 10.28.47

When you are at the end of a row and you are certain it is correct, take a piece of smooth yarn thinner than the working yarn, several inches longer than the row and in a contrasting colour.

2014-01-27 10.29.29
2014-01-27 10.29.29

Thread it on to a darning needle and run it one or two stitches at a time under the knitting needle.

inserting lifeline
inserting lifeline

 Continue along the row. Be careful not to split the working yarn. If you are using stitch markers then make sure you go around them NOT through them.

lifeline in place
lifeline in place

Once you have worked through all stitches remove the darning needle and leave the thread in place.

knitting past lifeline
knitting past lifeline

Work the row as normal being careful not to catch the lifeline in your stitch.

worked past lifeline
worked past lifeline

How do I use the lifeline? If you make a mistake you can use the lifeline by removing the needles from the work, gently pull the yarn so it begins to unravel, rewinding the ball as you go, when you get to the row where the lifeline is pull gently and slowly and replace the stitches onto the needle as they are unravelled being careful not to twist them. 

How often should I insert a lifeline?

How upset would you be to have to rip back to the last lifeline you inserted/the start? If you think it would make you:

  1. very cross,
  2. cry a lot, or
  3. curse in front of the children

it is time to insert a lifeline!

Happy Knitting!

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