Throw me a lifeline!

Here’s a quick knitting tip that just might save your sanity when trying to do lace or any complicated knitting pattern. It’s called a lifeline and it is literally just a piece of yarn in a different colour from the one you are working with, put onto a large eyed needle and threaded through the stitches coming off your knitting needles. I use a slip knot to join the two ends once all the stitches have been threaded.  As you knit move the lifeline up a few rows each time. The purpose of the lifeline is to catch your stitches if you need to frog some rows due to mistakes.

Believe me, if you try to unravel lace patterns without using a lifeline you are letting yourself in for some serious misery and may well find yourself having to rip right back to the beginning of your work. No-one wants that (speaks the voice who ripped back her lace socks three times before discovering lifelines). So for the sake a minute or two, put in a lifeline and then you only need to unravel as far back as to where your lifeline is.

You can also put in an emergency lifeline which is what I had to do the other evening when I realised that I’d missed one repeat of the lace patterning on the Date night jumper which I am making for my sister’s birthday present. The mistake occurred two rows under the current row I was working and thinking I would be alright, I bold ripped back my work without having a lifeline in there. It was not a success, I ended up having to go much farther back on my work to get to a place where no increases or decreases were worked on the row. Before I went too far I stopped, picked up a large eyed needle and threaded it with a piece of spare yarn through one of the rows which was just worked in knit. Then I ripped back to the place where I had put in my emergency lifeline, picked up my stitches using a slightly smaller sized needle and then transferred them back onto the right size needles.

When you use an emergency lifeline, you don’t always manage to thread it correctly through all of the stitches as you do when you put one in at the start of the row. But by putting an emergency lifeline in you do manage to save more of the stitches than you would have done if you just ripped back willy-nilly!