16 April 2013

Technique: Buttonholes

Fasten up, friends! Today we're looking at buttonholes. I totally wanted to do some little swatchy examples of buttonholes for you, but I have totally screwed up my wrist and it's hard to knit! So instead we're getting chatty.

I've done a few projects with buttonholes. Not many. Although I love buttons and I like button closures, it seems like I end up with pullovers or open cardigans more than buttoned things. My first big buttonhole project was my sultan cardigan:
Every time I look at this cardigan, I wish I'd added at least one more buttonhole:

The button band for this cardigan is made by picking up and knitting perpendicular to the cardigan stitches. The holes are created by binding off a few stitches along the way, knitting to the end and turning the work, then casting back on when I get to the bound off stitches. It's a really easy way to make a traditional vertical buttonhole. In fact, I used the same strategy for this little baby sweater:
I had already purchased the buttons, so it was imperative that the holes were correctly sized. I always side with a little tighter fit with the buttons, but the star shape of these buttons meant they'd stay fastened better without a fight. Important, since you're trying to get a sweater on a tiny baby who doesn't understand the need for fashionable closures. Sheesh, children, get it together. 

I did one more baby cardigan with buttons, and it utilizes a yarnover buttonhole:
It's impossible to see then, but the holes are just above the leaf stems on the buttonband. Essentially, these are done by creating a yarnover k2tog, then knitting or purling back across those stitches. It makes a tiny little hole that is perfect for small buttons. 

There's a new type of buttonhole, called the Tulips buttonhole, that interests me quite a bit. I'll probably give it a shot on my next buttoned project. The lovely Eunny Jang shows us how to make the buttonhole, which was created by TECHknitter

There's also a knitty article that shows the basic buttonholes I've talked about above, if you'd like an illustrated walkthrough done by someone without a bum wrist!

There's also this illustrated guide for button loops that showed up on Pinterest and linked back to a Chinese site... Does anyone recognize it? I'd love to know if this is from a book or what. Click to enlarge:

Creative Knitting's newsletter shows some buttonholes, but more importantly, a great way to reinforce standard buttonholes, for those of you who want to go back and tighten up your older holes (WOAH let's not read too much into that, okay?)

Do you have a great buttonhole reference you use? Do you just follow the patterns as written? Tell me everything!
- YX

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