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Lifeline in Knitting

The Lifeline is "Insurance" for knitters
by Jackie E-S

Although you and I don't want mistakes in our knitting to ever happen, we might as well anticipate that they could. A lifeline in knitting is a temporary thread inserted through a row of stitches. The knitting lifeline serves as a checkpoint if we have a calamity and need to rip out and re-do several rows.

Here is how to prepare a lifeline in knitting –

Step 1: Decide on a designated row to be a knitting lifeline row.

A good choice is an unpatterned "rest" row that is at the beginning or end of a pattern repeat.

Step 2: Insert the knitting lifeline.

After completing the designated row, insert a piece of contrasting thread through the stitches of that row.

Use any thread that is finer than the yarn you are using, yet has a fair amount of twist and body, e.g. crochet thread.

Be careful to not wrap the lifeline thread around the knitting needle, and do not insert the lifeline thread through any markers. The lifeline thread when inserted properly will travel from stitch to stitch just below the knitting needle.

Inserting a knitting lifeline
I am using a tapestry needle threaded with the crochet thread to insert my knitting lifeline through the stitches. Notice how I slid the stitches to the center part of the circular needle where the cable allows extra space to insert the tapestry needle.

Step 3: Check position of lifeline and resume knitting.

Pull the knitting lifeline thread out to each side of the row, leaving a good amount of length hanging down before cutting - you don't want the lifeline to be too short and accidentally come out of the row when you resume knitting.

When you resume knitting, remember to be careful to not catch the lifeline in with the new stitches you make. The knitting lifeline will stay behind and hopefully be enough to thwart any disasters. I sort of think of it as "insurance".

the lifeline in place
Here is the knitting after I have worked a few rows beyond the lifeline.

BUT should you discover a giant mistake after knitting several rows and need to rip back, here is what you can do safely recover your stitches and be prepared to resume knitting –

Step A: Rip back to knitting lifeline.

Remove knitting needle and unravel to your contrast color lifeline thread.

Step 3B: Remount the stitches from the knitting lifeline.

Insert knitting needle through loop of each stitch being held by the lifeline. Just follow the knitting lifeline thread so you pick up all the stitches in the original sequence and so that they are mounted properly. Do not remove the lifeline.

Step 3C: Check stitch count and resume knitting.

To be sure you are ok to proceed, count the stitches and compare to the number you should have had on the designated knitting lifeline row.
Tip: It helps if you initially use a smaller size knitting needle to get the stitches picked up along the lifeline thread. When you resume knitting, you can work the stitches onto the original needle you were using.

Learn from more Tutorials, Tips and Techniques by Jackie E-S.

Thank you for interest. I am here to serve you and help keep your knitting a pleasurable experience. If you have questions or need assistance with purchasing or knitting my HeartStrings patterns, let me know. Sincerely, Jackie E-S

Email address: jackie@heartstringsfiberarts.com
Phone: 678-262-6338 or 877-764-2747 (toll-free in US)
Postal address: HeartStrings, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, 53 Parlange Drive, Destrehan LA 70047-2133 USA

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Last revised Tuesday, 20-Aug-2013 18:02:15 CDT