I love lace. It is beautiful, light, and airy. I love the way looks while I am wearing it and in photographs it looks amazing! I am also an accident prone knitter. I often forget to yarn over, stitches get dropped, and I don’t know how many times I have I knit 1 when I was supposed to knit 2 together. Lace knitting requires a lot of precision. Since I am a human, I often make mistakes.
Over the years I have learned to spare myself the frustration (sometimes tears) and just use a lifeline. When knitting something intricate like lace or brioche I have better peace of mind when, not if, I make a mistake if I use a lifeline. A lifeline also protects me when I try to tink back stitches to fix a mistake, but then tinking leads to a bigger mistake. It is a point in my knitting that I know I have done correctly and those stitches are not going anywhere (most of the time…I do have a horror story for a later date).
At a minimum I put in a lifeline every night before I set aside any knitting project more intricate than garter or stockinette stitch. Ideally, I place a lifeline every 5-10 rows. If I am being honest, I often gamble and place one every 15-20 rows. If I get over confident and wait too long to move my lifeline I always regret it.
I use the same very fine piece of pink and white lace weight yarn as my lifeline on almost every project. It is a symbolic little piece of yarn. A fellow knitter gave it to me at one of my first group knitting sessions in Tucson. I had been in Tucson about a month and I was struggling with a project. She noticed that a thinner lifeline would not only help me pick the stitches back up more quickly after I ripped back, but also told me a thinner lifeline would not distort my stitches when it moved. She was my first knitting friend after a move across the country. Isn’t it interesting how universal the languages of kindness and knitting are?
Ode to the Lifeline
Thank you small silky strand
Pink and white as fine as sand
You protect me from my imperfect knitting self
You save my project from being put on a shelf
Thank you friend for helping me; so wise and kind
After a move you are just the lifeline I was hoping to find