A lifeline is a piece of waste yarn inserted through a row of knitting. This waste yarn acts as a safety net allowing you to unravel your knitting back to this point without the fear of losing all of your work. When working a complicated design, insert a lifeline after a successful row and you can always return to this point should your knitting go awry later. This video demonstrates how to utilize a lifeline and three options for inserting them into your knitting. Take the fear out of your knitting!

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  1. Becky
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    What a great post! I’m going to definitely start incorporating this trick – what a time saver!!

  2. JoLene
    Posted February 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Great video (again ;-). This is very timely for me because I’m knitting some socks that are a bit lacy. A request: could you also show how to insert a lifeline (into existing rows: Option 3) on a swatch with a more complicated pattern which has some purl stitches and maybe some yarn-overs. Thanks again, and it was great meeting you at Green Planet Yarns.

  3. Posted February 22, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    It was awesome meeting you, JoLene! Thanks for the video request. I add several titles monthly and I will add your idea to my list.

  4. Barbara
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I’ve never seen option 2 before, so handy to yet have another option to use. I’ve learnt so much from you.

  5. Ellen
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Wonderful video and my first time using a lifeline. I always thought them mysterious, but you have demystified them for me. I used the technique with my KnitPicks needles of putting my lifeline of dental floss into the holes at the base of the wooden needles. It worked great except on the next row I found my lifeline had gone through the markers – not so great. Second time around I just used a tapestry needle. Is there a way to use the holes or when you tape the lifeline to the right hand needle so that the lifeline does not go through the markers. There is likely an easy way to do this, but I cannot visualize it and wonder whether you can help.

    Thank you.


  6. Posted October 9, 2011 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Congrats on your first lifeline! If I want to insert a lifeline with your needles (either taped or in the “holes”) just remember to slip the marker to the right hand needle before working the next stitch on the left hand needle – the marker won’t get caught in your lifeline. Hope this helps!

  7. Rebecca Current
    Posted March 3, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this video! I am currently working on a baby sweater for a cousin of mine, and when I looked down, I realized I had messed up one row of seed stitch that was several rows below where I was working. A part of me was like just leave it, after all it was just one stitch on one row. Also, her baby is due in 2 weeks, and this is the take home outfit. Just the thought of tearing out all of those stitches and redoing them seemed daunting. However, the perfectionist in me said I had to correct it. So, I began taking it apart one stitch at a time, when I remembered seeing in the list of your videos, lifelines. Let me tell you, this was indeed a lifeline! I have corrected my mistake, and only lost a couple of hours’ work instead of a full days. Thank you so very much!!!!! ūüôā

  8. Barbara Gonzalez
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Well goodness gracious, what a smart thing to do. Love learning new things each day. This will be a useful tool. Thanks. Barbara

  9. Mary Fletcher
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Your lifeline just saved me while doing a brioche stitch. I’ve been knitting for years and never knew this trick. Your videos are so easy to follow. Thanks, Barbara. You are a great teacher !

  10. Posted April 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I am so glad I was able to help!

  11. Katy
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow! From your video, I have learned several things. I now know what a lifeline is, three ways to incorporate a lifeline and that the right leg of a stockinette stitch is the one that sits on the needle. Thank you for the effort you put into teaching so many people the mysteries of knitting!

  12. Posted October 3, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it fun to learn new techniques? It’s what has kept me addicted to knitting all these years!

  13. Ruthie
    Posted April 19, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m a beginner circular needle, I was able to make my first hat, can u make a video, step by step making socks for beginners

  14. Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I have many sock videos for both top down and toe up. I recommend purchasing my Magic Loop Sock pattern – it is supported with 13 videos to help you all along the way. Happy knitting!

5 Trackbacks

  • By Triplicity Shawlette – Part 1 on October 6, 2011 at 8:45 am

    […] Experienced lace knitters have long used this safety net to protect their work.¬† Watch the ‚ÄúLifelines‚ÄĚ Video for a quick tutorial on this essential […]

  • By Disappearing Act – Part 1 on February 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    […] the needles, it becomes quite easy to take your work back to the lifeline at the toe.¬† See my ‚ÄúLifelines‚ÄĚ Video to learn this essential knitting […]

  • By Intertwisted – Part 1 on October 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    […] to run away and spoil all the fun.¬† Take the time to utilize this preventative measure.¬† Watch my Lifelines Video to learn this valuable knitting […]

  • By Ridgely – Part One on April 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    […] I also recommend the use of Lifelines in any lace project to avoid tricky repair work.¬† See Lifelines […]

  • By Kaika – Part 3 on April 16, 2015 at 7:45 am

    […] I hope you are as happy with the Japanese Short Row heel as I am. ¬†It takes a bit of practice, but the end result is so worth the effort. ¬†I may never go back to the old wrap and turn method again! ¬†Before we begin the Leg design, I recommend placing a lifeline through your work to safeguard those hard earned heel stitches. ¬†See¬†Lifeline¬†video […]

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