June 27, 2006

It saved my life!

Well, perhaps I'm being slightly hyperbolic there. But I sure was grateful. Last time I was in Champaign, I made a stop at their most excellent yarn shop and bought some stuff. Among other things, two skeins of laceweight yarn. As they were balling it for me, we chatted about my recent forays into lace knitting, and they asked what would turn out to be an extremely prophetic question:

"You know about lifelines, right?"

I hadn't. The principle is very simple: at the end of a section, after an all-knit row, thread a needle with actual sewing thread (thin!), and run it through all the stitches, right next to the needle itself. I immediately understood how it would work and why it would be helpful: if you make a mistake and need to rip back, it'd be a helluva lot easier to find one continuous row if it's held in place by that thread. (Something that would have been nice to know, though obvious in retrospect: when threading through the loops, skip the stitch markers!)

So there I was, sitting listening to the Daily Show and knitting away, when I noticed that not only was there an error—which might be recovered with very careful ripping even without a lifeline—but the error was that I'd dropped a stitch in the last row and it had laddered down several rows. All the way to the lifeline, in fact, six rows back. And as luck would have it, the dropped stitch was the middle of a pattern repeat, adjacent to a bunch of yarnovers, which then laddered their way back up; essentially there was a big hole six rows high and eight stitches wide. BUT! But, it was tidily locked in place by the lifeline! I was able to isolate the pattern repeat, pull just those stitches off the circular needle, rip it down to the lifeline, and knit it back up. Easy as pie. I think the error will still be slightly visible in the final work if you know what to look for, but obviously not the huge unmanageable hold it would otherwise have been. It could easily have laddered all the way back to the start, and I would have had to just rip out the entire thing.

Thanks, Needleworks!

"I do enjoy myself a good crap out-beating." --Paul Hebble

Posted by blahedo at 11:54pm on 27 Jun 2006
I'm always too lazy to use lifelines . . . and then I spend all that time trying to recover. Hmmm . . . Any photos? Posted by Theresa at 9:35pm on 28 Jun 2006
For straight across projects, needles used for doll work might make this easier. I have some that are over six inches long and not as thick as a normal darning needle but decently stiff. Posted by lee at 10:40am on 3 Jul 2006
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