Lifelines – Part Deux (or Now That We Have Them What Are They For?)

In last weeks post about Lifelines, I showed you how to add a Lifeline to your knitting project as an ounce of prevention.  If you are not familiar with what a Lifeline is, or how to add one, I suggest you go back to the first post and read up.

When knitting any project, it is prudent to add lifelines periodically incase you have a major catastrophe so you do not lose your entire project. Especially if you are knitting a lace item.  A lifeline can be the difference between being able to save your project or having to tearfully trash your project.

For example….

This is a picture of the Diamond Lace Scarf I am working on and used to show you how to add a Lifeline last week.

In this picture I am pointing to a lifeline I had added 4 pattern repeats previously. I like to add several lifelines as I progress in my project and I leave them all in as backup just incase something happens.  Say…. if I spill some coffee on my scarf between the previous lifeline and the lifeline I just added, I can cut off that section of the scarf, rip back to the first life line, re-attach the yarn, and start again.

But in this post we are going to focus on the lifeline I just added, shown in this pic.

Lets play a game my girls and I play a lot.  Let’s pretend.

Lets pretend that I have knit a few more pattern repeats after adding this lifeline.

Then lets pretend that while I was riding a bus to the library and I was knitting happily mid-row, the bus driver failed to avoid a huge pothole, which caused me and my knitting to be ejected from the seat, and as a result 10-12 stitches slid off my slick needles. Then those 10-12 stitches dropped all the yarnovers in the previous rows.


Lets pretend that your knitting was in your tote bag in the living room, your blessing of a 2yo sees the pretty yarn in the bag, picks up your scarf, pulls the needle completely out and then shakes the scarf to play with it.  (Has this happened to you? Me either.  And I wasn’t almost done with the said scarf for a Christmas present neither.)

If this happened to you and your current project, what would you do and what would become of this project?

Well, if this was your project and you could not save all those stitches, it would eventually become completely unraveled and end up one tangled mess.  But if this was your project and you had a lifeline, your knitting would unravel, eventually to the point of the lifeline. But no farther.

To save your project – All you have to do is rip back the rows until you come to the lifeline, winding the yarn around two or three of your fingers as your rip it out of the scarf.  If the yarn is a tangled mess, simply cut it off, cut off the entire tangled section, and attach the untangled working yarn from the skein when you restart at the lifeline.

This shows the scarf at the point of where we would rip back to, and you can clearly see the lifeline is doing its job.  Now we need to get all those loops the lifeline is holding back onto a needle.

Using your knitting needle,  start at the right hand side, follow the path of the thread through the loops and begin to pick up the stitches one at a time. Slip the stitches on the needle as if to purl so you do not twist the stitches. It helps if you keep a size 3 or size 4 circular knitting needle in your knitting kit at all times to make it easier to pick those stitches back up.  You can then transfer the stitches from the small needle onto the correct size needle.

With the point of your needle, keep following your thread all the way across the row, making sure to pick up each loop and that it is sitting right on the needle.

When you are done picking up all the stitches, count them to double and triple check that you indeed did get them all. In this pic you can see all the stitches are happily back on the needle.  Pick up your yarn or re attach it, and knit again.  Be thankful as you feel your project resting in your lap that you didn’t have to toss it.  Leave your lifeline in, and pray you will never need to use it again.

Most likely your knitting will go smoothly with out any dropped stitches or major flaws. The chances are in your favor that the lifelines you put in for a precaution will never be used for their intended use.  But I hope that if you do need them, they hold well for you so you can rescue your project.

Until next time, have a StitchTastic Day!


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