Constructing a Simple Knitted Buttonholecomments (7) November 6th, 2008
Buttonholes are not difficult; it’s just a matter of binding off and casting on a few stitches. Most knitted items that incorporate a buttonhole are knitted either on a button band knitted separately from the body and attached later or are knitted right into the garment itself. Practice this foolproof technique and you will be prepared to tackle those sweet cardigan patterns you have been coveting. Imagine all the beautiful buttons you can adorn that perfect little sweater with. Buttonholes are also handy for home décor projects.
Easy Two-Row Buttonhole
Calculating the buttonhole size takes a little preplanning. On the row you would like the buttonhole, bind off the number of stitches you need to create the size buttonhole you would like. Most patterns will have done the math for you, but I’ll lay it out for you in case you are doing it from scratch. How big do you want the buttonhole? Refer to the gauge you are working with to determine how many stitches per inch you have. If you are making a baby sweater, you will use a tiny button and make a small buttonhole. If you are making a super-chunky sweater for yourself, you may have one up to 2 inches. Let’s make the big one for demonstration purposes.
The yarn I am using is worsted weight, and on a size 10 needle the gauge is 3.5 stitches per inch. I’d like to use a dramatic 1-1/2-inch button, which means I need a buttonhole slightly smaller than the button to keep a snug fit. Remember that knitted buttonholes have a tendency to stretch, so don’t make yours too big. Binding off 4 stitches (4 divided by 3.5 = 1.14 inches) is too small. Binding off 5 stitches (5 divided by 3.5 = 1.43 inches) is perfect!
Row one (purl row)
Purl to buttonhole placement, bind off 5 stitches as follows:
Purl 2, then with the tip of the left needle carry the first stitch purled over the second stitch purled, one stitch remains.
*Purl, carry the original stitch over, one stitch remains. Repeat from * 3 more times for a total of 5 stitches bound off.
Knit to the bound-off stitches and cast on 5 stitches. The easiest way to cast on stitches is to use the backwards loop cast-on (aka the single cast-on). Make a backwards loop, place it over the right-hand needle, and repeat until you have 5 new stitches on the needle.
When you reach the 5 cast-on stitches, purl through the back of the stitches, which will provide a tight, secure stitch.