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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.



Contributing Artists

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I made mention of “Lifeline’s” in the previous post and thought I would expound for those not familiar with this project saving technique. Anyone working with lacework knows how intricate the work is and how nearly impossible it is identifying and/or correcting mistakes. You can go cross eyed straining to find the illusive stitch and even ruin the delicate yarn tinking or ripping rows over and over. Instead I would like to suggest, and indeed have, putting into practice, a safety feature offered.

Now there are many safety features we are either reluctant or just don’t see the need for in life. The more obvious, of course, are seat belts. I remember when they first started the “buckle-up” campaign; yes I am old enough to remember a time when we rode at high speeds without them, how hard it was for me to get into the habit. I hated wearing them and even rationalized reasons not to, how confining I felt, I hated how it would wrinkle my clothes, what if I were trapped by one, and even, believe it or not, I just didn’t have time to get settled in one. None of these excuses were valid of course. The same goes for this lifeline. Most knitters just don’t feel it's worth the time to put one in place. It slows them down and/or they feel confident they won’t need it. But when you consider the consequence of needing it and not having it, chances are you will wish you had.

A lifeline is a length of yarn/string, preferably of a different color, that is threaded through, using a darning needle, the bottom of the stitches on your knitting needle. When you begin knitting the next row be sure not to include this lifeline. Then if you notice a mistake and either are unable to correct it without ripping rows, or are unable to find it, you can easily guide your knitting needle through that particular row using the lifeline as a guide. This will prevent you from having to rip out more than you need and risk dropping more stitches.

You need to periodically pull that lifeline out and replace it in rows worked and confirmed to be mistake free as your work advances. That is to say as you knit say 5-10 more rows and everything looks good, pull the lifeline from where last placed and insert it where you find yourself at that point.

As I mentioned a yarn of contrasting color and texture is best as it will be easier to identify and choose a yarn that will hold up to constant placement. I have read that some knitters will use dental floss. It is strong and will glide easily though stitches.

I hope, one day, to be able to work without one but until that day comes I am grateful for the headaches, literally, it prevents from squinting to find the offending stitch and the material it saves from ripping more than you need or risked tangled and knotted fibre.



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