The Buttonhole Block
Posted by Laura
I was scooting along with the Striped Baby Hoodie when I got to the buttonband. After my last debacle with buttonholes, I thought I’d be better off I picked up stitches along the buttonband and knit the buttonholes after the body of the sweater was complete.
Haha. I should know better by now!
I picked up stitches for the buttonband, knit a few rows, and then looked at the buttons and decided I needed a two-stitch buttonhole to accommodate them. Went online, found the instructions for TECHknitter’s Tulips buttonhole (and the Knitting Daily video that helped me figure it out the last time I used this technique), worked the buttonholes, and knit another row. Then it occurred to me that this sweater is for a boy. So the buttonholes should go on the left side, not the right side, where I’d put them (running on autopilot, since most of the sweaters I knit are for me, my daughter, or for girl babies!). I talked myself into just leaving them where they were. (After all, girl buttonholes were traditionally placed on the right, because that’s easier for someone else to do up, and I don’t know many 3-month-olds who are doing up their own buttons, right?!) And then I tried the buttons in the buttonholes. Definitely too tight. Grrr.
So I frogged the buttonhole row, all the way around to the other side. Redid my calculations, knit five of the six three-stitch buttonholes… and realized I’d gotten off by one stitch somewhere. Further investigation revealed it was between the first and second buttonholes. Cursed, frogged back to that point, reassured myself that after blocking, the fuzzy, repeatedly-frogged yarn would still look nice, placed stitch markers at the start and end of each buttonhole, and re-knit the buttonholes. This time, to gain a little extra slack, I used a trick from The Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie Wiseman: Cast on two extra stitches along the top of the buttonhole, and on the next row, work a decrease at the start and end of the buttonhole, which will eliminate any gaps. This trick has worked well for me in garter stitch and with stockinette, so I used it here. And discovered that it gave my 2×2 ribbed buttonband a bit of a drunken stagger. Sigh.
I contemplated re-doing the buttonband, or just the rows above the buttonholes, moving the decreases around. but then I decided that a drunken stagger in the ribbing was probably appropriate, since lately my knitting projects keep taking a drive-me-to-drink turn. Plus, the baby it’s intended for is now a month old (he was born a month early), so I need to wrap it up and give it to him before he’s too big to wear it! I’m halfway through the second sleeve now, so when this is done, I just need to sew on the buttons and weave in the ends, then wrap it up and give it away!
And besides, the yarn I bought in Philly is sitting in front of me, winking and smirking. And the project I haven’t actually started yet is always better than the one I am currently abusing on the needles, right?