Sunday, November 21, 2010

Life Lines aren't just for gameshows!

The prototype pictured to the right is a new pattern I'm working on for my dear friend Joann - the pattern will be named after her of course!  She asked/challenged me to create a pull on turban-type cap with a cabled edge.  I LOVE projects like this!!!  Designing is fun, of course, but working through the challenge of fulfilling someone else's vision is problem solving at its best!

In the photo you will notice two lines in the cap that have a dark line of thread running through them.  These are "Life Lines"

Life Lines are very useful in both knitting and designing/prototyping.  When knitting particularly complex patterns, running a life line gives you a safe point to frog back to if you discover an error.  I also like to run life lines on the last row of repeats; they provide me with an easy visual mark to count my repeats against.

When designing or knitting prototypes, life lines can also be used to mark pattern transitions for scaling.  For this particular project, they are worth gold.  The above cap appears complete, however, the reality of the matter is the fit is wrong.  The overall length falls short.  Because I ran a life line through the last row before closing the cap with decreases, I can unravel back to that point, add body length, throw another life line, close it and re-test the end product, making edits to my written pattern along the way.  I have no risk of over frogging.

Incorporating life lines has saved me a lot of hassle and guesswork.  You can use them in any project.

To run a life line, simply run a contrasting color of scrap yarn through stitches on the needle using a tapestry needle, as if to "hold stitches".  Simply continue on with your pattern ignoring the life line.  Life lines can be removed once your project is finished.  Should you need to use one of your life lines, simply unravel back to the life line.  You'll easily be able to reload your "held" stitches back to your needle.

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