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The Safety Line

James McIntosh
March 25, 2019

Sometimes one has to rip out to go forward…

And it sucks.  Doesn’t it?

No point in assigning blame.  Was it a wrong stitch in a pattern or a mistake in garment shaping?  

It’s time to rip back.  After all there is no delete key or Tippex in knitting.  Don’t kid yourself it won't be noticed.  It will.

They say knitting is love, one does not put so much effort and care into a knitted item for it to be wrong?  It’s the love and care that makes knitting so special to complete a finished garment.

Reversing to go forward is how I see ripping out.

Set your knitting down.  Grab a cuppa. Breathe.

Feel better now?

Introducing the Safety Line or the Life Line.  It’s my top knitting tip.  And it solves all sorts of issues.

Here’s how to do it ...

Thread a length of yarn in a different colour to your main yarn colour - longer than the knitted work is - onto a tapestry needle a.  Thread it through the stitches on the knitting needle.  Knit the next row as per pattern and it will stay in place.  As the knitting grows the contrast yarn will stay in place, so if one needs to rip back to this point, the stitches will stay on the sewn in yarn and the needle can be inserted easily into the loops of the stitches without dropping if ripping back is required.

I told you it was my top tip!

A few of these rows in knitting can help both the beginner and the confident knitter too.

But I hear you cry, ‘I have to rip back and I have not added a safety line’.  


Grab that cuppa as mentioned above and place your work flat on the table.  Take a length of different coloured yarn, longer than your knitted work as above on a tapestry needle and thread it through the stitches where you need to as they present .  Ensure the line sewn in is straight, going under each stitch in the row.

Knitting a complex item with pattern repeats?

No problem, just sew in a safety line between each pattern repeat.

There, problem solved, knitting is better.  Have a sneaky piece of chocolate to celebrate ‘disaster averted’.

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