Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A tweet for help

There are some Blogging Days when I know exactly what to write, others I wake in the morning and it can take me quite a while to make up my mind.  So when from time to time one of my Knitting Sisters asks me to write about something I am all too happy to oblige.  Last Thursday Kathleen tweeted

How flattering to be asked! Kathleen is a wonderful knitter, teacher of knitting and writer of knitting books, the latest of which is the very desirable Silver Screen Knits

But, despite her expertise, she did ask me so I am delighted to oblige, not least because it combines two of the things I like most - buttons, and telling people what to do!

I had just finished my Juno vintage cardigan, it needed seven small buttons. I found exactly what I was looking for in my rather large button stash in several faded shades of green perfect for the many tones in the lovely Juno Buffy that I used for my cardi.

And so this post is how I got from this ....

to this in just a few minutes

The fewer ends you have the less there are to come undone so here is how you can sew the buttons on with one very long thread.  You could even use the thread from your cast on if it is long enough (or you think ahead!)  

If you don't, secure the end close to where you want your first button,  you can use the seam where you attached the button band to the front of your cardigan.  Run a line of wiggle stitch about an inch up your band and then reverse back down, splitting your 'up' stitches holds the yarn even tighter.  (I have left the wiggles loose here so it is just possible to see them). 

The button band on my cardigan is knitted in with the front, by running the wiggle stitch in and out of the Vs at the back of the purl gutter they are indistinguishable from the bars of the purl stitches on the right side.   

When you reach exactly opposite the position of the first button, strike across to the middle of the button band following the knitting stitches as you go (in my example they are reverse stocking stitches). 

Your needle will go up...

 and down

This technique, often called swiss darning, is used for adding small areas of colour to the right side of your knitting when intarsia would be too fiddly but it works well here.  It is invisible, yet reinforces the place where you stitch your button.

When you reach the middle bring your yarn to the right side and attach your button

wiggle back to the edge of the band and up to the next button position.  After the last button secure the end of the yarn in the same way as at the beginning



There may be other reasons for the button falling off to do with the button itself.  Sometimes the shank has a sharp edge, this is especially true with metal buttons.  You can try to file the rough part down if you have something called a rat tail file, or coat the shank with clear nail varnish.  Both can work although you have to be able to find the sharp edge on something that is pretty small.  

One trick I have used is to use ribbon instead of thread, it does not stop the button eroding the ribbon but it does last longer.  Just use a length of fine ribbon, thread it through the shank of the button (or through the eyelets)

 and through to the other side of the cardigan (in two places of course!) and tie the ends in a reef knot (remember... right over left, left over right?) and finish off with a pretty bow.

Much nicer I think than using heavy thread, formerly called Boot Button Thread.  However, although it is heavy and can look down-right ugly it does have it's place!

These are the two best ways I know for making sure my buttons don't fall off at tricky moments, I would love to know what methods you prefer



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