I love using lifelines in large projects, especially when lace is involved. When I stand back and realize I’ve made a giant mistake, I can easily rip back to the lifeline, rather than having to tink it all or rip back to the beginning. I used to one lifeline. I moved it as I went along, taking it out and re-using it in the row where I needed it next. When all the knitting was finished, I’d take the lifeline out and then block the project.
At some point I ended up leaving my lifelines in place when I knit a shawl. When I went to block it I had one of those light bulb moments where I realized that the lifelines were helping me to space sections of the shawl evenly. I found them especially useful for measuring along diagonals and curves.
The first project I did this for was a shawl with three wedges. The happy “mistake” of leaving the lifelines in allowed me to use them as guides when I blocked the piece. Where the gridlines of my blocking board were covered by the shawl, I could easily measure along and between lifelines to make sure all the sections matched:
Recently I finished knitting a shawl called Ripplerock. I used lifelines in the body of the work so when I made the inevitable mistakes, I wouldn’t have too much to rip back and re-knit. The shawl’s design uses a lace border which is joined to the body as it is worked. I ended up using short lifelines at the end of every other repeat of the border. They were super-useful when I blocked it:
I like this so much, I may just try adding lifelines into pieces where I wouldn’t normally need them. I imagine for things like pieced sweaters they could come in handy not only for blocking but – if used at consistent row intervals – for seaming too.
Do you have ideas for unexpected ways to use lifelines? I’d love to hear about them!
Just outside Fredericksburg, Texas, is the most astonishing wildflower farm!
Wildseed Farms has over 200 acres of wildflowers that they use to produce seeds. Visitors are welcome to stroll along the mowed paths through the flowers. They can also visit the garden shop, have a snack, or browse the gift shop.
Similar to the lupines we loved so much in California, in Texas they’re called Bluebonnets. The poppies were a familiar sight as well.
Texans tend to be crazy for their universities, with staunch loyalties and intense rivalries (something I’m getting used to now, being in the thick of Ohio vs Michigan). Texas A&M’s school colors are maroon and white, so this maroon variation is a favorite among “Aggies”.
I was lucky to be at Wildseed when the red poppies were in full bloom. I was awestruck by the intensity of the color!
Sometimes all I need is a little “something” during transitional weather. I made this version of my Farrand Cowl out of some cheery Malabrigo Rios colors to keep my neck warm as the weather struggles to let go of winter.
The “Apple Green” color reminds me of spring-time tree buds. Always a fan of teal, I thought “Teal Feather” was just right for the accent stripes.
Now, puhleeeze…can we get rid of what seems like the longest winter ever?!
Farrand originally appeared in Knitty’s Winter 2016 issue.
I’m practicing my stranding. Why? Sheer, shameless jealousy. My good friend (She Who Will Remain Nameless) strands like the wind. When she’s done, her work looks like it’s already been blocked. Turn it inside out and every float is an image of perfection.
I can’t stand it. My stranding looks like it should be named “Knitting by Mixmaster”. The stitches are all wonky, leaning this way and that, some big and some small. The floats on the back either tightly pucker the fabric or loop lazily, just waiting to snag the finger of the unsuspecting wearer.
I’ve tried every stranding technique known to man. Both strands in the right hand. Both in the left. Using gizmos like the wire guide. And the plastic guide. The least disastrous for me is to hold one strand in each hand. The two hands disagree with each other about tension, though. The right hand makes little stitches while the left makes big ones.
I’m using the cute Freyja Hat pattern by Courtney Kelley for practice. The pattern calls for some purl stitches, but for sanity’s sake I’m just knitting so I can concentrate on getting some consistency in my stitches.
Maybe by the time I get to the top of the hat my stitches will have improved. If it works, I will have put envy to good use after all!
Owner Cassie Marie Orner was very welcoming and carries a fantastic selection of yarn. Here, she’s winding my latest acquisition (because we all know there is no such thing as too much Sweet Georgia yarn, right?)
Ply Yarn not only has beautiful, quality yarns, it also hosts several knitting groups throughout the week. I was lucky to be visiting at the right time to join in twice, getting to meet some very nice local knitters.
This small town is lucky to have such a great yarn shop!