Monday, June 15, 2009

Buttonband, buttonholes...

Practice makes perfect
Originally uploaded by JLW in PA

On Friday, I practiced picking up stitches for the buttonband and making buttonholes on my Must Have Cardigan. I decided to use the "one-row horizontal buttonhole" described by Margaret Fisher in her book Seven Things That Can Make or Break a Sweater. I took a class based on the book last September at Knitters' Day Out. I think this buttonhole technique is tidy and good-looking, much better than the cast-off-on-one-row and cast-on-on-the-next-row buttonhole instructions stated in the pattern.

The "winning" buttonholes are on the left side of this swatch. I goofed on one tiny but important step on the buttonholes on the right side of the swatch, and they have a saggy loopy piece of yarn that looks awful. The left side shows a 2-stitch buttonhole and a 3-stitch buttonhole. The 2-stitch one ended up being right for this project. Also, the band is a better width on the left side and the holes are centered more nicely.

I started to pick up the 272 stitches for the buttonband on Friday afternoon but didn't finish until later in the evening. It takes a while! I can pick up stitches so beautifully on a stockinette background ... but this sweater has reverse stockinette next to the band. Blech. Also, the pattern didn't really specify how to do the increases and decreases on the body of the sweater, and I think I did mine too close to the edge. They interfere with my "reading" of the rows. These are issues I hope to address in my next sweater.

Even though 272 stitches isn't that many (what, 4-5 rounds of a sock?), it took me forever to knit the 7 or 8 rows of the band. I had the stitches on a 60" circular and the stitches required a lot of shifting. Plus, the band is ribbed. I finished it yesterday. It needs a little blocking before it's ready for its reveal.

Next step: set in the sleeves and sew the sleeve and side seams.

Then, all that's left is the buttons. I no longer like the buttons I bought for this project. They look too dark. So I'm on the prowl for new ones. I didn't see any I liked at The Mannings on Saturday. I may try my local sewing shop. If that doesn't work, maybe Kristina and I will call on Windsor Button when we visit Boston next month. It looks pretty hardcore.


  1. Will you bring the 7 things book on your trip. Maybe I will fool with the button band on my Must Have when you are here.

    I can't wait for the reveal.


  2. I love your approach to things like button bands. Very logical and methodical. I've only ever done one button band, but I wasn't very happy with it. I need to get this book!

    Beautiful job. Wish I could go button shopping with you guys in Boston. Sound fun!