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!