A couple of weeks ago I ran into trouble with the little lace knit sachet I was making. I ripped back a bit and started up again, but then I really looked at it and I found some more mistakes. They began to nag at me, so I ripped it all out and began over. Then, I made a mistake in the first lace row and so I started over yet again. Now I'm counting more carefully, knitting more carefully, and adding life-lines at the end of each repeat.
The lace pattern is from Knit Picks. It is the Generations Purse and I'm knitting it in Knit Picks Shinesport Cotton/Modal yarn. I must say it's taken the rip and reknit process really well and is a lovely soft yarn to work with.
I found an error in my transcription of the pattern to my flip book. I also found I have a tendency not to bring the yarn to the back after purling--which makes a nice lacy yarn over hole, not necessarily where I want one.
I haven't (yet) needed my lifelines but they're making me much calmer about knitting. I used size 8 perle cotton--you want a smooth thread that won't snag. The thread holds that row of stitches so if I rip back to that point, I will have a clear demarcation of where to stop and the stitches will be in order and properly oriented. I can then put them back on the needles and begin again from that point (rather than starting over and over).
There are two steps to adding this safety net to your knitting. The first is to add the line itself. I use a big, fat dull-pointed tapestry needle (probably a size 18) so I won't snag the yarn. I begin at one end and carefully thread it through each stitch. When I get to the end I tie the two ends of the life-line thread together so it can't pull out. I like to use a long length of thread so I can spread my knitting out on the needles to inspect it and make sure it's going okay, even with the tied lifeline. I'm sure there are other ways to do this. I know there are some knitting needles that allow you to insert a thread to add a lifeline as you knit a row.
The second part is knitting the next row. This is where I have to be more careful. You have to be sure NOT to knit the lifeline with your yarn and just let it lie there loose, between stitches. This can be hard to see when decreasing but it's crucial. If you knit the lifeline into a stitch, you won't be able to rip back if you need to.
This reknitting has changed the whole project for me. Now I can see the pattern. I've knitted it enough, I can tell from the previous row pretty much what I need to do in this row. I'm knitting much more slowly, consciously and paying much closer attention--and enjoying it much more than before. Which is most likely why I ran into trouble in the first place. I have yarn to make several of these little sachets so it's good that I've gotten it sorted out.