Smarter Lifelines

For me, knitting lace shawls is a lesson in lifelines.  Lifelines are an additional piece of yarn in a contrasting color, that is placed through a row of stitches in case you need to rip back.  It is so hard to rip back in lace without a lifeline, because the yarn overs disappear as you go.  The more lace shawls I knit, the more often I place a lifeline.  This lesson has truly been learned the hard way. I finally tried the lifeline feature that is part of the cord in my Addi lace long tip interchangeable needles.  Now that I’ve done a lifeline this way, I can’t imagine I would ever go back to using a yarn needle for this task.  Some lace interchangeable needles have a small opening in the needle or cord, through which you can place an extra piece of yarn or plain dental floss to use as a lifeline.  This Addi cord has a small opening near the tip that is visible if you fold the cord in half. I thread a contrasting color of yarn on to a yarn needle and pull it through the opening.  Then as you knit your next row, the lifeline yarn gets incorporated into the  row of stitches.  Make sure you pull the contrasting yarn all the way through your row at the end so all your stitches are on the lifeline.   I usually knot the ends of the lifeline so it doesn’t get pulled back through when you work subsequent rows.   No matter how you place your lifeline, it’s important not to include your stitch markers in the lifeline.  The markers will become trapped on the lifeline and cannot move with your knitting.  The markers will not come out until you pull that lifeline.  The solution is to use removable stitch markers, or remove them for the lifeline row, then replace them on the next row.  You can see on my current project that I forgot to remove the central pink stitch marker on one of my lifeline rows. Also, make sure you document which rows contain a lifeline.  It seems like it would be easy to figure out where you are in the pattern when you rip back to a lifeline.  However, I have found that I am sometimes pretty puzzled about which row I should start with after the lifeline.