How to Add a Lifeline to Your Knitting

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adding a lifeline

Have you ever had to add a lifeline to your knitting? We all make mistakes, no matter our skill level. My favorite thing about making mistakes is the chance to learn something new (Proud nerd over here. I LOVE learning!). This tutorial shows you how to add a lifeline to your knitting. It can be scary when you make a mistake and have to rip back your project. What if you rip back too far? Or if you drop stitches when you’re putting them back on the needle? Maybe you twist stitches? All of these possible problems are solvable, but if you put in a lifeline before you rip, you’ll save that time.

This tutorial was born from one of my many mistakes. I made this sleeve WAY too big and didn’t notice until it was done! I didn’t want to rip back any further than I had to, so I put this lifeline in place first. It worked like a charm! The next time you have to rip back your knitting, try putting in a lifeline first and see if it lowers your stress level.

If you’re a Disney fan like me, you may recognize the color of this sweater. That’s right- I’m making an Oozma Kappa sweater from Monsters University. You may already know how much I love making Disney-themed knits, if not you can check out my hat covered in hidden Mickeys, my Buzz Lightyear scarf, my Haunted Mansion-inspired hat, and my hat based on Zootopia’s Mr. Otterton! (to name a few…)

So far, my other tutorials have been for simple projects like a knit scrunchie or for skills like a knit-on border. I promise to keep making mistakes so I can make more tutorials on how to fix them. Stay tuned!

P.S. I love the slanted tip on these darning needles, but for finer weight yarns I use the smaller needles in this set.

Insert a Knitting Lifeline

A lifeline in a knit sleeve

It's much easier to rip out your knitting without going too far or dropping stitches if you insert a lifeline first. You'll end up with all the stitches nicely on waste yarn, ready to be put back on the needle.


  • Yarn needle
  • Waste yarn


  1. lifeline materials Thread your yarn needle with a long enough piece of waste yarn to hold your project.
  2. lifeline first stitch Find the first stitch on the round you'll be ripping back to. Insert your needle under the right leg of the stitch.
  3. lifeline first stitches Continue running your needle through each stitch of the round, being careful to go under the right leg of each stitch and over the left leg. This ensures that your stitches won't be twisted when you place them back on the knitting needle.
  4. lifeline stitch outlines Here is a picture with the stitches outlined, in case it's hard for you to visualize which is the right leg of the stitch.
  5. lifeline installed Once you've made it all the way to the last stitch, you're ready to rip out your knitting.
  6. Don't forget that when you're knitting in the round, you are knitting in a spiral. The last stitch on your lifeline will look like it is a row above the first first stitch on your lifeline.
  7. Rip your knitting out without worry of dropping stitches! Now you're ready to place your live stitches back on the knitting needle.
  8. sleeve stitches on knitting needle With all your stitches back on the needle, you're ready to start knitting again. And now you have a new skill under your belt!


The process is the same for inserting a lifeline into an item knit flat, just start at the beginning edge. When you are knitting something complicated, you can insert a lifeline in the row just before the complicated part. If you run into problems you already have your lifeline in place.

Author: Kelly

I create disaster-movie-worthy knitting patterns.

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