Lifelines are for rock climbers and for sailors and for acrobats. They are also for knitters! When you rise to the dizzying heights of Orenburg lace, and lean over the edge of French eyelet clusters, or throw yourself into the gymnastics of an Estonian nupp stitch…
Yeah okay. I’ll drop that metaphor. A lifeline in knitting isn’t quite the same as a lifeline when you are climbing up the side of a mountain. Its doesn’t actually mean the difference between life and death. But it is pretty useful. A lifeline (in knitting) may not save your actual life, but it can save you a lot of frustration.
When you set a lifeline in knitting you are usually working a lace pattern. Lifelines are there for
when if you need to rip back. In knitted lace, or lace knitting (and don’t get me started on those technicalities!) you are working with bigger than normal needles. Your stitches are larger, more open. Plus… its lace ya know. There are all kinds of increases and decreases going on. So if you should, heaven forbid, have to pull out a needle and start ripping its a BFD. Picking up looses stitches in lace is no easy task. Unless you remembered to put in a lifeline and then its a no-brainer.
I personally feel very strongly about lifelines. I (strongly) feel that if you put a lifeline in knitting, you won’t make mistakes and you’ll never need that lifeline because you’ll never need to rip back. If you blow off lifelines, you are certain to screw your knitting all up and spend hours ripping, picking up stitches and re-knitting. Call me superstitious but I believe it. When I’m working on complicated knitting, lace or otherwise, I put in lots of lifelines. they are like my good luck charms!
How To Set a Lifeline in Knitting
Do it. Put in a lifeline. And if you never need to make use of it because you never made any mistakes then I say:
“See? Lifelines work every time!”