How to Unpick a Knitted Lace Row – with safety line

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you are all enjoying your day.

I’ve recently started doing some lacey knitting. I’ve got a couple of projects on the go just to stave off boredom 🙂 The best thing I’ve found especially if you are a beginner is to put a lifeline, or safety line, into your knitting. As lace involves lots of yarn overs and knit togethers it can be really tricky to unpick if you make a mistake and I’ve found my self having to rip right back to the beginning of a piece and start all over again.

If you follow these instructions then you’ll only have to rip back a few rows if you go wrong and not get all stompy footed and have to rip back all of your hard work.

You will need:

Darning needle (or smaller depending on the weight of yarn, make sure it’s blunt)
Some waste yarn, in a contrasting colour to your main yarn, that is longer than the width of the piece you are working on
Your lace knitting piece


I put my line in after I’ve completed a full purl row, it makes it easier to understand the stitches when you pick them up again. It’s also up to you as to how often you put the line in. This will depend on the complexity of the lace and how wide it is.

Thread your needle with the waste yarn.

Once you have done a purl row, turn the work as if you are going to knit the next row. Take your needle and begin to thread it through the stitches on the knitting needle. You shouldn’t pierce the yarn, but aim to get the waste yarn running inside the loop of the knitted stitches on the knitting needle. When you get to the end of the row pull the waste yarn through so you have a long tail at either end, remove the darning needle.

Keep knitting, removing the line and placing it further up you knitting as you go.

If you do make a mistake, remove the knitting needle from the piece and rip the yarn back until you reach the lifeline. Then (ensuring that the piece is right side facing) you can pick the stitches up from the left to right with your knitting needle. Gently pull on the lifeline to remove it.

Believe me, this will save the tears 🙂


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