After lesson 5a your sweater will now be cut open along the steek.
Now it is time to add the button bands. One button band will have button holes and the other the buttons. I typically complete the button band in a garter stitch (knitting on each side). This texture will keep the button bands from rolling. Some like a ribbing on the button band. As ribbing is elastic, it has a tendency of pulling up and the button band will not be as flush at the hem or neckline as I like.
Picking Up Stitches for the Button Bands
Your button band will be added at the stitch beside the purl stitch you used on the steek. Picking up two stitches, then skipping a stitch will provide a nice band. So for every three stitches on the sweater body you will be picking up two stitches on your button band.
You can pick up the leg of the stitch closest to the steek area of the sweater and knit into it. I actually use a crochet hook to pick up the stitches going through the center of the stitch. The first stitch is done locking the yarn over the edge of the sweater. Then holding your yarn to the back of the work, put the crochet hook down the middle of the stitch and pull up the yarn.
Leave the loop on the crochet hook. Continue to pick up two stitches then skip a stitch. Once I have several stitches on the crochet hook, I push the crochet hook down so the stitches are at the opposite end of the crochet hook. Now transfer the stitches to your knitting needle by picking up the stitch from the backside. This will orient the stitches correctly. Continue down the length of the front.
Placing the Buttonholes
Next is to figure out where to place the button holes, as well as how large to make the button hole. Generally button holes for women are on the right and for men they are on the left. The first and last buttons are 1/2 inch in from the edge of the neck and also at the hem. Button holes should be placed in the center of the button band. The button band is generally an inch wide. Use your row gauge and knit 1/2 of that number, complete the buttonholes then knit 1/2 your row gauge. If your row gauge is an odd number, add a row to have an even number of rows on each side of the button hole.
Button holes should be placed evenly along the band and close enough that the band will lay straight and not create gaps. 3.5 inches apart is a very good distance. For example my sweater measures 23.6 inches up the front. If I divide 23.6 by 3.5 (distance between the buttons) I get 6.759. I will therefore use 7 buttons.
Using the number of rows to knit the front we can figure out the placement of the buttons. There should be at least a 1/2 inch between the edge of the band and the first button hole. Use your stitch gauge, divide by two. This will be the stitch count before beginning the first and last button hole. For me that’s 5.875 divided by 2 = 2.9. I will knit 3 stitches then place my first button hole.
The size of the button hole should be 3/4 the size of the button. For example, my buttons are 1/2 inch. Therefore .5 divided by .75 giving me a number of .375. I then take my stitch gauge and multiply by .375. ( .375 X 5.875 ) = 2.2. I will therefore be casting off 2 stitches in my button holes.
At this point I have used 5 stitches. I will do the same at the bottom of the band, essentially using 10 stitches.
Next is to evenly space your remaining buttons holes. Take your full row count of your sweater front and subtract the stitches knit before the button hole as well as the button hole stitches. Multiply that by 2 to account for the top and bottom of the band. With this remaining stitch count, divide that number by the number of remaining buttons ➕1. The reason for the ➕ 1 is you are counting the spaces between the remaining buttons.
Let’s look at an example.
My row gauge is 8.75. I will knit 4 rows then knit my first buttonhole.
Say the front of the sweater has 207 rows. When I add on the button band I’m knitting 2 stitches for every 3 stitches of the body.
207 X .66 = 138. My button band therefore is 138 stitches.
Once I account for the 10 stitches allocated for the first and last button holes and stitches from the edge to those buttonholes, I have 128 remaining stitches. I have 5 more buttonholes to space out evenly. I take 128 ➗6= 21. My buttons holes use 2 stitches. Therefore I will knit 19 stitches then place a 2 stitch button hole. This for me will be repeated 6 times after the first button hole.
Once all the button holes are complete, I will knit 4 rows followed by a cast off row.
NOTE: If you prefer you can determine where to place the button holes by measuring how many inches the front of the sweater is rather than using your row count. Start the 1st button hole 1/2 inch from the start. Continue as above to determine the placement. The video covers this method.
Knitting the Button Holes
Button holes can be done a couple of ways. One is a simple button hole knit over two rows. The other has a few steps to follow while knit in one row. Head to our YouTube channel for a video on how to complete these.
Steps For a One Row Buttonhole
When you reach the buttonhole placement, move your working yarn to the front. Slip a stitch purlwise from the left needle then move your working yarn to the back (wrapped stitch)
Slip a stitch purlwise from the left needle and pass over the wrapped stitch (NOTE; the working yarn is not being used right now)
Continue to slip and pass over for the number of stitches needed for the size of buttonhole desired. Place the last stitch on the right needle back to the left needle.
Turn your work. Ensure the working yarn is in the back of your work. Add the same number of stitches plus 1. To add stitches place your right needle between the first two stitches on the left needle and pull up the yarn placing it onto the left needle.
Add the same number of stitches you eliminated plus one additional stitch..
Turn your work and place the working yarn in the back of the work. Slip the first stitch from the left needle onto the right needle. Now pass the last cast on stitch over this slipped stitch.
This completes the button hole. Knit to the next marked buttonhole placement and repeat these steps.
Completing The Button Band
The band for the buttons is now knit with the exact same stitch count and row count.
Now all that is left is to sew on the buttons, sew the stitches under the armhole together. Tack down the crochet edge of the steek to the inside of the front opening and weave in all tail ends. You are ready to soak and block out your sweater.
WOW! CONGRATULATIONS you have completed your first designed sweater. I do hope you have gained some confidence designing your own sweater and will continue with future projects. Let us know how your sweater turns out, we would love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by and happy knitting.
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