What is a lifeline anyway?

You know that feeling you get when you realize you made a big mistake 6 rows back? Then the choice you have to make can be dreadful: leave it there or go way back and fix it. Especially if you are a perfectionist like me. Correcting mistakes can be time consuming and can mean a lot of rework.

A lifeline makes the choice easier. With a lifeline in place, you can easily rip out the mistake and get the needles set to start working again. Although I have many times ripped out stitches back to a mistake and restarted that area, it would have been easier to do if a lifeline was in place and I knew which row it was inserted into. I’m also impatient.

So, a lifeline is simply a piece of string/cord/unwaxed dental floss/yarn that is strung through the loops of a single row of knitting. The lifeline serves one of the purposes of the knitting needles – to prevent live stitches from unraveling. All of the stitches beyond the lifeline (in the rows/rounds after it) can be ripped out, but the lifeline prevents you from ripping out past that row. The lifeline also serves as a landmark if you make a note about which row it is inserted into. When you no long have a need for it, lifelines are easily removed by simply pulling them out from one end.

You can learn more about lifelines by watching my video Lifelines in Knitting – what they are and why we need them.

I really hope I’ve been able to demystify the use of lifelines for you. Please leave comments or questions, I’d be happy to answer. Have a great day fiber friends!

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