A Variety of Buttonholes to Spice Up Your Knits

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in Knitting | Comments


How to Knit Buttonholes

Keep knitting long enough and you’ll definitely run into a project with buttons that you’d like to try. And with buttons, you’re going to need to be able to handle buttonholes. The good news is, if you’re working from a pattern it will most likely direct you how to make the holes. But here are some basic tips in case you are creating your own pattern or modifying an existing one.

The most basic buttonhole is a lace eyelet stitch. The base of lace knitting is the combination of a yarn-over (yo) and knit two together (k2tog) because it creates those holes in the body of your project. One of those holes works perfectly for a small button. You make a yarn-over by wrapping your yarn from the back of your needle up and around the right needle before working your next stitch. When you combine the yarn-over with the k2tog, you end the row with the same number of stitches as you began it. You can also do the k2tog before the yo.

For a more defined edge or a larger button, you will want to choose a different buttonhole though.

Two easy choices are the horizontal (2-row) buttonhole and vertical buttonhole. Horizontal and vertical refer to the orientation to your project on the needles, which will not necessarily correspond with how the holes appear on your finished product.

How to Knit a Horizontal Buttonhole
How to Knit a Vertical Buttonhole

To create a horizontal or two-row buttonhole, you cast off stitches where you want the hole. How many stitches you cast off will depend on your gauge and the size of your button. On the next row, when you get to the spot of the dropped stitches, you simply cast back on however many stitches you cast off on the previous row. Cast on using the backward loop method. Because this buttonhole involves casting on and off, it creates a more defined edge.
To create a vertical buttonhole you use two balls of yarn: one on the right side of the hole and one on the left. At the spot where you want to begin your hole, switch to working with a different ball of your yarn. (In the above picture, a different color yarn is used for contrast.) You will use that yarn until you come back to the hole on your next row. Then switch back to the original yarn for all stitches on that side of the hole. Continue this way until your hole is the size you’d like. Then resume knitting entire rows with your original ball of yarn. To keep your yarn tension, wrap your new yarn around your original yarn at the beginning and end of the buttonhole. You can further fix any tension issues when you weave in the ends.

 

For even more buttonhole ideas, try the 3-row buttonhole, alternate 3-row buttonhole, or the 1-row buttonhole. Luckily for your wardrobe, there may be as many ways to make buttonholes as there are styles of buttons!