If there was a Nobel Prize in knitting then it would surely go to the one who invented the lifeline! It is not a stitch, a technique, pattern, or even a tool, this is a trick to save your knitting projects from disaster and is well-deserving the name. A lifeline is a piece of yarn or thread that is weaved into a project, running through every stitch of one row. Like its name, it’s a preventive measure, a lifesaver that keeps stitches safe in case you need to unravel your knitting later on for one reason or another.
Now for mindful knitting, adding a lifeline is an added bonus. You can keep enjoying the health and meditative benefits of knitting while being free from the tension of unraveling stitches.
There are two main reasons why a lifeline helps us save our stitches:
1. When we make a mistake in knitting that needs to be corrected only by unraveling a few rows of the project. Here the lifeline secures the correct stitches from unraveling.
2. When we accidentally drop a stitch or intentionally drop one to repair a mistake. The lifeline will keep the dropped stitch from unraveling to the very bottom of the work.
In both these scenarios and many more, a lifeline gives us peace of mind that the knitted project can be saved without having to unravel everything and start from scratch.
Now that we know why we need a lifeline, let’s see how to insert one. Any smooth yarn or thread from your craft collection will make a nice lifeline. For best results, choose a yarn that is no thicker than your working yarn and is in a contrasting color. Some knitters even use dental floss or colorful threads to make lifelines. Lifeline acts like a secure keeper of your work. Before adding it, make sure the number of stitches on your knitting needles is correct, and there are no mistakes in your work that need to be fixed.
After you decide on the lifeline, cut a length that is at least twice as long as the width of your project. Also, make sure to not thread the lifeline through the yarn and stitch markers used in the knitting project.
There are two popular ways to add a lifeline.
1. Thread the lifeline into a darning needle. Run the needle through every stitch that’s sitting on your knitting needle, a row of the knitted project. This can be done while starting the project from the beginning of the first row or round. Make sure the lifeline stays at the bottom of the stitches.
2. Use interchangeable circular needles from the Mindful Collection that have little holes in them, called the lifeline holes. Simply thread the lifeline into the hole in your right needle and work the row or round as usual. The lifeline must be threaded through every stitch.
At the end of the row, pull the needle out of the work just enough to reach the hole. Then carefully take the lifeline from the hole and secure it. Or, you can again thread the lifeline for another row.
It is especially important to add a lifeline to mindful knitting when you are working with:
● A complicated stitch pattern like lace or brioche or many-colored yarns. These knitting patterns are beautiful, but not forgiving in case of mistakes. It is very difficult to fix mistakes in these delicate patterns, therefore a lifeline can assist you with correcting mistakes and even making them further.
● Oftentimes yarns make it very hard to see the stitches and working with them is challenging. A dropped stitch with yarns such as fun fur, eyelash or similar novelty can easily lead to unraveling the whole project as the mistake cannot be easily spotted or corrected.
● Any large project with many stitches or different types of stitches. When you are working on such a project, mistakes tend to happen more often and cannot be easily detected. Here again, you can prevent mistakes by adding a lifeline.
Now that you have the lifeline keeping your stitches safe, you can confidently continue with the practice of mindfulness with knitting. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, it’s a good idea to move the lifeline every 5-10 cm (2-4″) of your work. You must keep one on your project if you are going for complicated patterns and stitches for the first time.
With a lifeline in your knitting project, you can enjoy your knitting without hassles. Knitting is a meditative practice, every knit and purl becomes a mantra of mindfulness, being in the moment. If you have not yet tried knitting with Mindful interchangeable circulars, here is everything you need to know.
Happy Mindful Knitting!