Knitting Community

Life lines: seeking suggestions from those who use them regularly.

I am doing my third lace shawl since I took up my needles again late last summer. I did the Fall/Winter one from the kit which I simply could not pass up then, and learned/remembered a lot through that. I think I had done a little chart-reading before that in my earlier knitting days so it wasn't 100% foreign.


I then did the Brimness shawl by Evelyn Clark, which was a freebie through Ravelry. Used bare merino lace weight wool from Knitpicks, single strand. The young lady (my future Jennie-in-law) is much taller than I, and if this was to be a wedding shawl, it needed to be much bigger. She's about 9 inches taller than I!!! (I barely miss being 5' at this point.) Besides, I needed to borrow it last week...

SO!!! I have begun the Rose Trellis shawl, also found free via Ravelry and also in the bare lace weight merino.

It is getting much easier to see patterns developing and where I've made an error, but I AM still making those errors. I inserted my first lifeline in the last row I did last night, after tearing back and re-working the oopsed part and knitting up to where I'd been before I tore back. BUT... is there an easy way to insert a lifeline? I find mine getting tangled into the work as I go along the next row, and I see this as a problem.


I am now up to row 17 on the shawl, by the way, and am totally in love with this beautiful thing!

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Mary!


I am not sure what kinds of needles you are using, but here is a really neat trick for lifelines if you are working with Knit Picks interchangeable needles. I have also heard of people having good luck using dental floss instead of yarn for lifelines - it is smooth and a much different texture of yarn, making it easy to thread through and remove.


Hope that helps a bit and good luck on your shawl :)



Education Coordinator, Knit Picks

lol... I read that about those and seriously considered getting some. Unfortunately, I knit loosely and am working on size 00 needles. The interchangeables don't come that small. :0( 


I am using tatting thread in a light blue for my lifeline. It's a firm thread.  Perhaps I need to insert it while I am making a row rather than trying to thread it through later with a tapestry needle?

Wow - I have to say it is quite impressive to make it through any shawl on needles so small! I usually use a tapestry needle and whatever I am using for the lifeline and I thread it through at the end of my row, before I begin my next row - by placing the tapestry needle through the stitches that are sitting directly on my needle. Just carefully knit the next row as normal (not catching the lifeline thread) and it should be good to go.


Again, good luck! Hopefully others will chime in with more useful tips and tricks for lifelines :)



I also am interested in the answers to this thread. So far I've averted disaster in my lace knitting, only needing to go back a little or finding mistakes that I could fudge by dropping and reworking a few stitches. It's only a matter of time til I'm kicking myself for not having a lifeline in my work.


For such a small size, I imagine fine crochet thread is a good option for you? 

Your question seemed to be about avoiding tangling of the thread on the following row. I'd also be interested to know how people deal with making sure the thread doesn't come out until you want it to.

I have knit around 4 shawls and I have used No. 10 Cotton embroidery thread to thread through and it is wonderful to use and does not catch as wool thread would, I have also used size 8 Tatting thread but becareful so what ever color you are using does not bleed.  I normally use white or off white.  I used a tapestry needle until I bought the Knit Picks needles.

I do stop and put in a life line where I want it before going on to the next row then I check it over before I go on and I take it easy on the row with the life line so I don't knit with it also.

Yep! DMC tatting thread works fine. Baby blue #3325. Tapestry needle. And I have a word of advice: Make sure you do NOT thread your markers into the life line. Just sayin'... lol (In other words, I just did. DOH!)


I love lace knitting! Works a WHOLE lot better when your mind isn't going in six different directions at once, though, doesn't it.

Mary- one person mentioned in a conversation about life lines a while back...  Leave your markers on the life line when you place it.  Then replace them on the next row with different ones.  Then if you have to rip back, your markers will be there where you wanted them.  I thought that was quite brilliant.  :) 
That is an awesome idea THANKS for mentioning it.
oh my - that's something I hadn't considered! Thanks.

It was me! I use either jump rings or split rings as markers. You can buy about 100 or more in one package. I prefer the split rings because they are attracted to magnets. Why do I care? Well, a picture is a thousand words! Or should I say 2 pictures?

This is one of my many magnetic pin cushions. I have them for split rings, T-pins [great for when blocking things], coiless safety pins, quilting pins, and anything else small that is attracted to magnets and need to be kept handy.

Here is a closeup.

I always leave my markers in my lifeline. I use lots and lots of markers. If I am doing repeats, I have a marker for each repeat. If there is no repeat, I usually place markers every 20 sts. I'm a big believer in counting and counting again as I knit because it is easy to make mistakes when you have ADD.

Thanks for chiming in!!  I thought it was you, Cheryl, but wasn't 100% sure!!  Love the visual.  :)  I have one of those magnetic pincushions for straight pins.  I hadn't thought about 'repurposing' it for knitting!  HA!  Cute doily, too.  Is it old?  The netting-type part in the center doesn't look like normal crochet. 


It was done by one of my great-aunts. I'm not sure how I ended up with it. Since I really don't know much about crochet, I can't really be of help other than it is crocheted.


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