Knitter’s Toolbox: Lifelines

We’ve had a couple of people who have lost their way along the Mystery KAL Harder Path, and we’d like to make it a little easier for you to find your way back. So let’s talk about lifelines!

Lifelines are one of those McGyver tricks that every knitter should have in their toolbox. They can save you from getting frustrated at a mistake and ripping your whole project out. And they could not be easier to do.

All you’re going to need is your project, a length of smooth contrasting colored yarn a little longer than the width of your project, and a tapestry needle. This swatch and lifeline are both in our Uptown Worsted 100% anti-pilling acrylic (180yds/100g).
Step One
Thread your lifeline onto the needle. Run it through your work, alongside the knitting needle. The lifeline is going to be right where your active loops currently are.

Step 2

On your next row, knit as you normally would, disregarding the lifeline. It’s just going to hang out in your work, staying in the same row of loops you threaded it through.
Step 3

Here’s where it comes in handy. In the next picture, we’ve dropped some stitches! But wait – the lifeline is in place! Instead of unraveling all the way back down to the cast-on edge, the dropped stitch hit the lifeline and stopped. We still have to pick up the stitch, but it’s not the disaster that it could have been.

Step 4

Let’s say I realized I made a mistake about 20 rows ago (gasp!) and need to rip back to the point of the error. Thankfully, I put in a lifeline right before I was starting on the tricky bit, so I can just rip back and the lifeline will keep my stitches aligned and ready to go back on the needle. I just slide my needle through the channel created by the lifeline. I’m good to go!

Step 5

I’m putting in a lifeline as I begin Clue 2 of my Mystery Sweater. If something goes wrong, I can just rip back to that point, reset my needle, and start Clue 2 again. No muss no fuss.

We hope this helps!

ETA: Run your lifeline AROUND your stitch markers, not through. Otherwise you can’t move the stitch markers to the next row. You can guess how I learned this!

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