Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Seamless buttoning

I have had a telephonic disaster. A couple of weeks ago I dropped my phone in water (don't ask). Now, the replacement of a mobile is pretty simple and, as far as the physical thing, not a big deal. The drowned phone was an old and very well used I-phone 4 with a cracked screen, not a huge loss in itself. I just walked to my local phone shop and the deal was done in ten minutes (plus a significant payment to the phone company).  No it was the loss of certain information and a whole set of photographs that has cast me into confusion

I was going to blog about Gwlana, I had so many pretty photos of the Welsh Countryside in the sun (yes SUN) and of the yarn, the people and the swatches.  Luckily Felix of Knitsonik podcasted about this wonderful workshop I attended in May far better than I would have

I also visited the Chelsea Flower Show for the first time ever and took many photographs of inspirational gardens to help with our own garden plans.

All gone except those I posted on instagram.  All this threw me off balance and out of my usual blogging routine.  However, there is a new discovery that I have wanted to share with you for a while ... Buttons knitted in as you go!

I don't think I have seen anyone describe this technique before but as there is really 'nothing new under the sun' I shall borrow the word Unvented from Elizabeth Zimmerman rather than claim to have invented a new knitting trick.

If you read my blog regularly you will know I go to quite some lengths to avoid having to do any sewing up - whenever possible I chose patterns that are knit in one piece or adapt others.  So I am pleased to tell you how I have worked out how to knit buttons into a cardigan as you go, no more sewing on afterwards.  It came to me as I was thinking about a safe way to attach buttons on the cardigans I made for Isabella.


Begin the button band, I have knitted it 'horizontally' - i.e. I picked up the stitches up one side, around the neck and down the other, working a couple of increases around the angle where the button band and neck band meet. But you can also work this technique if you knit a strip up and around from the bottom (a 'vertical' band).

Firstly knit half your desired finished width and mark the position of button holes and corresponding buttons with stitch markers (I use the Hiya Hiya knitting safety pins

On a right side row, knit to your first button marker (it will of course depend on whether you are knitting for a boy or girl which side of the front bands this is!).  This technique will work with any two hole button, either where the holes are in the centre or on a shank.

  • Pull an extra loop through the base of the stitch below the last one knitted (both legs) and thread it onto a blunt tapestry needle (you will need a fine gauge one)

  • Pass the needle up through one hole and down the next, slip the needle off leaving a loop. Slip this loop on to your right hand needle and ease the 'Extra Stitch' as tight as you can (you will need to do a bit of wiggling here!)

  • Knit the next stitch and pass the loop of the Extra Stitch over .  The button is now fixed firmly to the base of a stitch by a double thread (this works best with yarn that is 4 ply or thicker).

  • Knit to the next marker and repeat.  

And you are done!  On the next row just knit back, it will be a little tight but you are saved the bother of stitching on each button with no loose ends (not even the two I describe in this button sewing tutorial). It is also very unlikely the buttons will come off, specially important in baby knitting as loose buttons are a choking hazard.

How simple is that?  Do please have a go and let me know in the comments what you think