My current work in progress:

1. pour moi, designed by Lori Versaci, knit from Wollmeise Merino DK in the "Stella Polaris" colorway on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
2. Outlander MKAL Shawl, designed by Rachel Rodin, knit from Lornas Laces Shepherd Sport in the "Beauchamps" and "Fraser" colorways on a 3.75 mm (U.S. size 5) needle.
3. Myriad stealth projects.

Save My Life, I’m Going Down for the Last Time

Does anyone remember that song lyric?

Helene asked in the comments what a lifeline is, so that song has been running through my head. Must . . . try . . . to . . . find . . . it . . . for . . . the . . . iPod.

Lifelines in knitting. A lifeline is a thread that you run through all the live stitches on your needle and leave in as you continue to knit. If you put a lifeline in every “x” number of rows, and you find an error, you can rip down to the first lifeline below the error, and because that thread is run through the stitches, you can easily put them back on the needle.

I’ve heard that dental floss makes a great lifeline, but any smooth yarn that fits easily through the stitches would work. It is helpful if your lifeline is a different color than your project yarn. A word of caution — if you are using stitch markers you need to be careful not to run your lifeline through your stitch markers.

Have I ever used a lifeline? Nope. Have I ever wished I had a lifeline? Yup.

In my early days of lace knitting I made mistakes that I wouldn’t notice immediately. And I found ripping out lace to be hell on wheels. So lifelines woulda been useful.

Nowadays I am far too impatient to take the time to put a lifeline into my knitting. But I pay extra-close attention when I’m knitting lace. I find that if you are watching what you are doing, any errors in your lace pattern will be noticeable on the next row, and are relatively easy to fix.

An Error in Judgment

I may have made a grave error in judgment.

I started knitting my Peacock Feathers shawl on the train this morning.

peacock062305 Save My Life, Im Going Down for the Last Time

What’s the problem? I want to abandon everything and do nothing but knit Peacock Feathers. To hell with Tina! To hell with work! Housework? Ha! Don’t be silly.

Well, I always feel that way about housework.

But I am going to have to talk to myself very sternly to make myself knit poor Tina’s edging. This is gonna be tough. I am a weak, weak woman.

Oh, and the Joslyn’s Fiber Farm Angel Hair yarn? I love it!

It is a bit heavier than the Misti Alpaca I am using for Tina, and is lovely to knit. The colorway I am using, Plumes, is beautiful, and I think is gonna look great with the Peacock Feathers pattern.

But when I got home I sucked it up and knitted one repeat of the edging on Tina. The first repeat is the worst — very fiddly. I’m going to have to speed things up if I want to finish this in my lifetime.

tina062305 Save My Life, Im Going Down for the Last Time

Lucy doesn’t care what I knit, as long as she can sit with me while I knit.

lucy062305 Save My Life, Im Going Down for the Last Time

Comments

  1. Wendy, the Plumes yarn is gorgeous! I like the fact that it is a little heavier than the Misti Alpaca. I’ve had a hard time knitting with that. I can’t wait to see how your shawl turns out.

  2. go with the peacock!! up with color!!

  3. I must have had Lucy on the brain, because every time I saw “lifeline” in that entry, I read “feline”. So the real question is, Wendy, how has the use of felines in your knitting been helpful? Haha! Well, the shawl looks luscious, I can certainly see why you want to abandon all else.

  4. To hell with housework indeed. Of course, that’s why I can’t find anything in here. Doh.

    Love that peacock color!

  5. I like dental floss as a lifeline because it will never shed on your work. I had a lace shawl is which I lifelined some regular waste yarn that turned out to me more of a shedder than I thought. It took me forever to get the little bits of white fluff off my black shawl because they were stuck in between the stitches.

    That being said, there are equal perils to using floss. Now that my daughter is old enough to know how to floss (3), she took a lifeline out of my Flower Basket Shawl to use it for dental purposes. Right when I had put my knitting down to take a break before ripping back to said lifeline. Not a problem to tink it back, but it would have been faster to use the lifeline ;>

  6. I love both of your shawls and wish I was knitting on mine at this time, maybe tomorrow. I was planning to do the housework on my day off, but I think I will have the same motto as you–the hell with it! I do need to organize my knitting room, but that’s another day. I want to knit a shawl!!!

  7. maureen hay says:

    I’ve always had good luck with Jaeger Matchmaker 4 ply and/or Baby Ull as lifelines. I haven’t done anything cobwebby, however. I like to do them at each major repeat for a big pattern or every few repeats on a smaller one.

    I like seeing my progress, it keeps me motivated. A big shawl can just look like a mass of knitting, and it is often hard to ‘see’ your progress. Having the multiple lifelines helps keep a knitted on border on track, and makes it easier to fudge picked up stiches across the whole shawl if adjustments are going to be needed to get the corner right.

    Also, if you are going to put down the knitting for a while (intentionally or not), lifelines on the repeats helps you to find your place.

  8. maureen hay says:

    I’ve always had good luck with Jaeger Matchmaker 4 ply and/or Baby Ull as lifelines. I haven’t done anything cobwebby, however. I like to do them at each major repeat for a big pattern or every few repeats on a smaller one.

    I like seeing my progress, it keeps me motivated. A big shawl can just look like a mass of knitting, and it is often hard to ‘see’ your progress. Having the multiple lifelines helps keep a knitted on border on track, and makes it easier to fudge picked up stiches across the whole shawl if adjustments are going to be needed to get the corner right.

    Also, if you are going to put down the knitting for a while (intentionally or not), lifelines on the repeats helps you to find your place.

  9. A word to the wise- get the waxed/unwaxed thread dental floss- that plastic stuff is not good at all for lifelines.

    The Peacock shawl is going to be something I will have to look into! It’s *beautiful* already, even as a crumpled rag!

  10. I love lifelines ’cause then I could see the progress for each session of knitting, especially for large projects with no visible pattern repeats, like my darling’s *plain* sweater.

  11. You might have already found it – but if not, check out the Sahara soundtrack – the song you’re looking for is by Head East and it is called…Never Been Any Reason. And thanks a lot…now it’s stuck in my head. :-)

  12. Lifelines? We don’t need no stinkin’ lifelines! Anyway, I’ve gotten SO GOOD at fixing errors who wants to start using them now? (Mistakes? ME?) I didn’t know there was such a thing as a knitting lifeline. It would have really helped in the days when I was more patient with my projects and actually went the extra step to do things like a lifeline. You know, things like the basting stitches in a difficult piece of sewing. I feel that basting time is just better spent when cooking, as in basting roasts! LOVE the Angel Hair wool! It was calling to me from the picture you posted 6/22! Can’t wait to see more!…of the Tina shawl, I mean! Yeah, that’s it! =)

  13. Thanks for the lifeline info :)

  14. And I thought I was the only one who ever gets THAT song going in her head. (There’s Never Been Any Reason – Head East) Especially that little drum riff and the harmony when they do the “Save My Life” repeats. And like Julie, it’s now in my head for day…possibly the weekend. Oy!

    You’ve inspired me to join you in your Summer of Lace and try my first lace project. This could be ugly since I’m in my 9th month of pregnancy and have no patience and hormonal/mood issues. There could be violence involved if things don’t go well. Maybe I’d better stick with something more like Summer of Dishcloths.

    Pam

  15. I may have fallen to the enticement of the Peacock Feathers shawl, and you were the original instigator for it. Thank you for the enabling. :)

  16. Thanks for the info about the lifelines, they will make my knitting so much easier and will result in less yelling at the boyfriend to not touch the kntting in mid stitch. We thank you.

  17. always a pleasure reading your blog. Your new knitting project/lace shawl is lovely. Have a wonderful weekend. Love to Lucy.

  18. Fiddlesticks knitting is like that. Oddly, compulsively, obsessively, compelling.

  19. It is Head East’s, “There’s Never Been Any Reason”. I just googled it and lickety split, lyrics and title

    http://www.lyricsexpert.com/headeast/headeast-lyrics01.html

  20. Four-letter word, lace. Just sayin’…

  21. Ha! I love that Head East song. I have the album from back in my “party” days. Now I’ll be humming it all day long. It’s a real ear worm.

    Lovely project by the way!

  22. I’m bogging down in the second border chart of Tina. I’m not sure when I’ll even make it to the blasted edging.

  23. How I wish I had a life line last night. I’m a new sock knitter and didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to just double up my wool for reinforcing the heels. That and I did only half of the heel, 17 x these two rows, not just 17 times (I wondered why I ended on a purl row, but just added a knit one).

    Did I mention I was doing two socks on two circulars.

    Now my only question, is after all that yanking, I reballed my yarn, but now the connected point is on the outside. If I try to connect the point closest to the knitting, won’t that twist up terribly?

    What do you do?

    Mattie

  24. Been there on the running the lifeline through the stitch markers thing. That was truly one of those “oh f**k” moments. I switched to dental floss after I once used a yarn that left little fuzzy bits on everything.

  25. My peacock shawl went to the frog pond. The yarn was just so fine that it wasn’t coming out well. Sigh. So I picked up a baby set I had waiting to go as well. Normally I wouldn’t be knitting multiple projects, but the needles I need for my Sandnes sweater are stuck in the vast black hole that is the postal service.

  26. Can’t wait to see Tina finished. On lifelines, being a somewhat new knitter, I HAVE to use them. LL’s saved me on my Clapotis FOUR times and I’ve already got two in my new FBS. I frogged THAT four times before I got it right. Now that I’ve been moving along on it, I don’t want to tempt the Knitting Goddess with my cocky ‘oh I’m a Red-headed Knitting Smartie’ without a LL. Or ten.

  27. I don’t use lifelines either, … but for those who do, the quick way to put one in is to finish the row, move the stitches to the cable part of a circular needle, pull down on the fabric to elongate the stitches, then run a fine tapestry needle threaded with the lifeline through the bottom halves of the stitches (running the needle along the cable but below it). The stitches can be bunched up together so the needle runs through many stitches at each pass.

  28. Bless you all, on this blog was the first time I have heard of lifelines. As I am looking at doing a lace scarf in Misti Alpaca where each row is 97 stitches, I am thinking that these could be lifesavers indeed. Quick question for Wendy-my pattern calls for size 3 needles, it is supposed to be a fairly open look. Do you think that those will be big enough? I noticed you are doing Tina on 6.

  29. My gosh I am still laughing over the Tina shawls pic where you say “look she does impressions – a sea anemone!” Hilarious…. The peacock shawl = oh what gorgeous yarn!! You are truly a lace knitting inspiration! I am still on the halfway point of the Diamond Madeira chart of the Shetland Lace Shawl and it’s just a huge mindcramp…it’s slowed me down…but seeing your pics has reinspired me!!

  30. Addictive huh. It’s so nice to have such a sweet kitty to sit with and knit. I have Abner, but he’s a bit heavy.

  31. Don’t I wish one of my four kitties would sit with me, not ON me!

  32. I like to flirt with danger. Or I’m too lazy to thread a lifeline. Can’t decide which.

  33. Boy do I understand what your talking about. I don’t want to do anything but knit Birch. It’s terrible. I LOVE Peacock. That may be my next shawl!!! It’s looking beautiful so far.

  34. I’ve got a question for ya sometime to answer…. do you always use circular needles? or just on shawls/lace?? -I’ve got a pair, but I haven’t used them yet, I’m still a newbie I guess.