What is a Knitting Lifeline and How Do I Use It?

November 12, 2020 2 min read

What is a knitting lifeline

Have you ever said something you later regretted? Or maybe you made a big mistake and wish you could get a redo. In knitting, there is a way to squash your regrets and right your wrongs. This magical solution is called a knitting lifeline.

What Is a Knitting Lifeline?

Mistakes happen- in life and in knitting. Ripping back your knitting to fix a mistake can cause a sinking feeling in your stomach. It looks like all of your hard work just went up in smoke. Once you learn to use a lifeline, you will feel better about having to rip back stitches to fix a mistake. 

A knitting lifeline can be placed at any spot in your work. If you are a beginner knitter, you may decide to place them often or specifically before and after a complicated set of rows. The purpose of a lifeline is to hold your stitches in place in the event that you remove your needle. 

How Do I Place a Knitting Lifeline? 

The first thing to consider when using a knitting lifeline is choosing the best material. Your lifeline must be thinner than your project yarn and smooth so that it can be easily pulled out without snagging. Using a color that stands out from your garment also makes it easier. These materials work well as a knitting lifeline:

  • Dental floss
  • Smooth, thin cotton yarn
  • DMC floss

Perle cotton is the most common material used for a knitting lifeline, but any of these can be found at most craft stores.

There are several ways to place a lifeline in your knitting piece. One of the easiest ways is to use a tapestry needle and push the lifeline through each stitch on the needle. You can also place the lifeline several rows below. Be careful to thread the lifeline through every stitch. If you are using stitch markers, do not thread the lifeline through them. Once the stitch markers are threaded, they will stop moving up as you progress the knitting. 

It is not necessary to remove your lifelines along the way. Sometimes you may not notice a mistake until you have made significant progress. There is no reason not to leave the lifelines in just in case you need to go back. 

A Few Knitting Lifeline Tips

  • Leave some length hanging out on the side. If you cut the lifeline too short, it may come out. 
  • Note where you placed each lifeline so that you know where they are in the pattern.
  • If you need to pull out stitches to your lifeline, stop a row or two before the lifeline. 

Mistakes are part of life and how we handle them defines us more than the mistake itself. Preparing yourself for a mistake with a knitting lifeline will prevent loads of frustration. 



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