How to Use a Lifeline

Stitch Description

You remember that show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? With that old guy in the shiny shirts and ties? Regis something. I don’t know.

Anyway, if you got in trouble on that show you had the chance to save yourself with a lifeline. You could poll the audience, phone a friend, or eliminate two of your four choices.

Well in knitting we don’t have the luxury of a 50/50 when we make a mistake. We could phone a friend or ask some people at the local yarn store how to fix it. But when it comes to lace, most people have no idea what to do when they mess up.

Thankfully we have our own lifeline to save the day!

A lifeline is a piece of waste yarn that allows you to rip back your stitches when you make a mistake. Since it can be difficult to rip out stitches when making mistakes in lace knitting, a lifeline will allow you to start at the beginning of a repeat, rather than start all over. This technique is a good practice when working with complicated (or not so complicated) lace patterns.

Video Tutorial

Technique Instructions

  • Step 1: Take a waste piece of yarn and thread it through a tapestry or darning needle.
  • Step 2: At the beginning of a new lace repeat, thread the waste yarn through the stitches currently on your main needle.

Once you have completed a few repeats of your lace pattern, remove the lifeline and re-insert it further up.

If you make a mistake, just remove your knitting needle and rip out the stitches until you reach the lifeline. The lifeline will keep you from pulling out anymore stitches than required.

Example Photos


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