In this video, Jennifer discusses what a lifeline is, why you might want to use one, and two different ways of inserting a lifeline in your knitting.
Lifelines are a great tool to use when you're trying a new stitch, or working on a complicated pattern. Once the lifeline is in your work, you know exactly where you are in case you need to rip back to fix a mistake.
The reason lifelines are helpful is because they allow you to rip back to a spot where you know your stitches are correct and easily return those stitches to the needle. In this way You can feel confident working a tricky spot in your pattern without worrying about making a mistake, because it is easy to go back to the lifeline and try again.
If you do need to rip out your later work the lifeline will prevent you from frogging beyond that point and provide easy reference for returning live stitches to the needle.
Jennifer demonstrates how to insert a lifeline using both yarn or a circular needle with a smaller circumference. Either work really well, but make sure that if you choose to use yarn that your yarn is smooth and preferably a thinner yarn than your working yarn. Once your lifeline is in your work, you proceed to knit your next row according to your pattern, ignoring the lifeline (making sure you don't inadvertently catch the lifeline with your stitch).
There are a few caveats when using a lifeline. If you've put stitch markers in your work, DON'T thread the lifeline through them (you won't be able to get them out). And if you choose to use a circular needle as your lifeline, make sure you either have stoppers (or a rubber band) to keep the circular needle from falling out.
If you've been avoiding lace projects because they seemed too hard or complicated, lifelines are your friend! As always, let us know if you've got any questions--we're here to help!