Barbara wants to know how does she find the right pattern row after ripping out a lot? 

She’s feeling frustrated with following a chart.

Great question!

And Barbara, congratulations on stretching yourself to try what sounds like a complex knitting chart!

Been there, done that!  When starting to knit lace or any pattern with a knitting chart, it’s easy to get lost.  Especially when knitting with interruptions or to relieve stress.

Some charts have over 20 rows of knitting in the pattern repeat.  Yikes!

Is it any wonder knitters get frustrated?

Many lace knitting instructions suggest marking off the chart as you go.  That makes sense, although it can still be hard to find your way.  And if you drop a stitch or are just having problems challenges with the pattern, it can be frustrating.

Especially when ripping and knitting, ripping and knitting.

Wondering if there’s an easy solution?

Well, there is.  It’s called a lace lifeline or just a lifeline.

Lace knitting lifelline

Basically, you thread a finer yarn or thread through the stitches on your needle, and then knit around the thread.  I often like to use crochet cotton or crochet thread.  It’s often a good thickness, and will slip in and out easily without catching on the yarn.

Putting your lifeline in a row that’s all knit or all purl stitches is often easier than trying to thread it through the fancier yarn overs or baubles or knots in lace knitting.  And if you make a note of which row you’re working on, you can find your place easily.

And you can put in as many lifelines as you feel you need.  You could insert one the same row of each repeat if you like.  They can be left in until you’re finished, or pulled out when you’re satisfied you don’t need it any more.  Just be sure you really are satisfied before pulling it out.

Yes, that is the voice of experience. 😳

If you’re a member of the Knitting Yarn, you can click on the link below to view a How To Knit Video on Lace Lifelines I made…


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Lace lifelines can be an important safety net for all lace knitting, and for knitters starting a new level of knitting.  They can also be helpful when you’re learning how to read your knitting.

Reading your knitting is a skill all knitters should develop.  One of the best books on the subject is Knitting for Anarchists.  It explains the different ways the yarn loops around the needles, and should be part of every knitter’s library.

Click here right now to get your own copy.


To your healthy and happy knitting & caregiving,

Dr. InaThe Knitting Dr Logo
Ina Gilmore, M.D. (Retired)
“The Knitting Dr.”

Founder, and
Ambassador of Elder Care at





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