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How to Become an "Expert Knitter"   *Buy this book on CD for offline reading!

table of contents Ľ chapter 26 (of 29)

26: Buttonholes

Knitted buttonholes need to be a size that will fit a button that is in a reasonable proportion to the thickness of the yarn used to make the garment. Huge buttons on a fine yarn will pull the fabric, and little buttons on thick knitting will not hold the garment together without slipping out of the buttonholes.

Hand-knitted buttonholes have a tendency to stretch with wear, so make the smallest possible buttonhole that will fit over the button that you have decided to use.

The easiest buttonhole to make almost works like magic. The hole is usually the perfect size for a button that suits the yarn used for the garment [pic 1].

1: The magic buttonhole. Easy to work and always seems to be just the right size for a button that suits the particular yarn used.


On either knit or a purl row, work to the appropriate buttonhole position, knit two stitches together, then take the yarn over the needle to compensate for the lost stitch and to make the hole. Continue knitting to the next buttonhole. Or, take the yarn over the needle and then knit the next two stitches together. On the next row, knit the yarn-over as an ordinary stitch. Either way, the result is the same sized buttonhole and it doesnít matter which way it is worked [pic 2].

2: Buttonholes worked in two different ways look alike.


Occasionally, if you have a large decorative button, you may need to make a long, horizontal buttonhole. Itís difficult to form a long buttonhole without distorting some stitches, and knitters try so many different ways to navigate around this problem, but I find the following method is the easiest to work and gives a good result, especially when worked on the purl side of the knitting.

At the appropriate place in a purl row, cast off the required number of stitches knitwise, then purl to the next buttonhole and repeat, or finish the row if you are only working one buttonhole [pic 3,4].

3: (left) Purl row start casting off stitches knitwise.
4: (right) Four stitches have been cast off.

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