More Knitted Buttonholes

Last week I gathered a number of videos together that demonstrate horizontal knitted buttonholes. There are other ways to make buttonholes in a knitted garment. Today I’ll touch on three more types:

  1. Yarn-Over (Eyelet) Buttonholes,
  2. Vertical Buttonholes and
  3. “Afterthought” Button Loops.

If you are making something that can use small buttons, like a baby sweater or a headband, you can actually use an eyelet as a buttonhole. These are technically called yarn-over buttonholes, but you often see them called eyelet buttonholes as well. In my Summer Hair Band #1 pattern from a number of weeks ago, the pattern is made up of staggered rows of eyelets and you actually use a row of those eyelets as buttonholes. These are very easy to make and work well for relatively small buttons.

Yarn-Over/Eyelet Buttonhole over 1 stitch (in stockinette stitch and 1×1 ribbing)

Yarn-Over Eyelet Buttonhole over 2 stitches (in 2×2 ribbing)

This is an excellent video. She explains and demonstrates how to avoid interrupting the knitted pattern very nicely in this video.

 

Next we have a demonstration of the vertical buttonhole. Vertical buttonholes are not the most stable, but they do look quite nice and discreet. They are not difficult, but they are a little more fussy to do. This is only because you have to use an additional piece of yarn and then weave in the ends afterward.

Vertical Buttonhole

 

Another way to add a buttonhole is to create a button loop after the garment is completed. The nice thing about this technique is that it doesn’t interrupt the knitting process as you go. This means that it doesn’t change any pattern you have knitted in. Also, you can actually put off deciding what size buttons you want to use until after the garment is complete.

Button Loop (or Afterthought Buttonhole) using 3 strands

 

The previous video shows the process of making a button loop close up and slowly. The next one shows you the entire process right to the end on an obvious garment. You can actually see how it looks in relation to the garment. The only thing I would add to these is that I would actually put the intended button through the loop before I commit to the size so I’m sure it will work for the button I want. If you haven’t chosen a button, I would say at least decide what size of button you want to use so that the proportion appeals to you.

 

Button Loop (Afterthought Buttonhole) using 2 strands

 

I hope that this selection of videos will be helpful to you. Most patterns will give you directions for the type of buttonhole that the designer intends. Having an overview of the different types of buttonholes possible can help to understand those directions a little easier. Also, if you find that you don’t like the style that a designer has proposed, you have the tools to be able to swap it out for one that you prefer.

It’s good to have options! 🙂

I want to add a little side-note about YouTube videos. I absolutely love the fact that so many people share their skills in this amazing and easily accessible format. I have the utmost respect for them, for their time and their skill and their willingness to share that. I share links to these videos with that in mind. When you find a YouTuber that explains and demonstrates things in a way that works well for you, I encourage you to subscribe to their channel. There are loads of fantastic videos out there.

Show your love and appreciation by liking, sharing and subscribing for these amazing and creative people.

Fair Isle Explorations

It’s been a week of knitting exploration for me. I mentioned two weeks ago that I signed up for my first ever sock knitting competition. Although the competition officially starts on July 15th, the bonus “warm-up” pattern was released upon signing up. It was a stranded colour-work pattern. Something I had not done before.

Since signing up I was motivated to complete the two pairs of socks that I had on needles. I finished them both and then proceeded to take on the warm-up pattern.

Here is a photo of the completed “Gimli” socks that I showed you two weeks ago.

I loved making these socks. The pattern was challenging; even more challenging because I chose to knit them in black yarn. I swear that black yarn truly sucks all the light from the room like Albus Dumbledore’s “deluminator”. If you don’t have excellent light your chances of messing up increase exponentially. Of course, the sense of accomplishment is fantastic completing something so challenging. These were a gift for my son and have since been sent off to him.

The other pair that I finished was Hermione’s Everyday Socks. If I do this pattern again, I will cast it on 8 stitches smaller than the size I usually do. There is not a lot of stretch in the pattern and they ended up bigger than I expected. They feel a bit like slipper socks on me. They were easy to do and I love the heel on them.

The warm-up bonus pattern for the sock competition is a secret to all but those participating in the Tour-de-Sock competition.

Because of this, I will not give the name or show any photographs of the sock or links to the pattern until after the competition completes in September.

I was excited to get the chance to do some colour-work without the pressure of competition. The last time I attempted colour-work was about 27 years ago so I thought I would do some research before I got started.

I’m so grateful for YouTube!

I found the following videos very helpful. The first link is to a playlist of videos about Fair Isle Knitting. It was definitely worth taking the time to watch numerous videos to take in the tips and get an overview of what to watch out for.

 

 

I learned a lot making this pair of socks.

Normally I like to knit socks two at a time (2aat). Because this was a new technique to me, I thought I would work one sock at a time to minimize any confusion. In future I will definitely knit them 2aat.

Adjusting the tension on the colour-work is a bit tricky. The floats (strands of yarn that span more than one stitch on the wrong side of the work) need to be kept loose enough and at an even tension so that they don’t make the sock too tight or inconsistent. On the first sock, because this technique was new to me, my tension was quite controlled (snug). It was loose enough that the fit was good and I managed to keep it even by tugging my row every 15 stitches or so to make sure it wasn’t too tight. The contrasting stitches didn’t show up quite as well with this snugger tension though.

The pattern recommended changing to larger needles for the colour-work section and I didn’t listen. So I guessed at loosening the tension and it shows in the second sock. By the time I did the second one I was much more relaxed and when I loosened my tension for those sections, I actually loosened it more than on the first. The contrasting stitches show up really nicely on the second one but the sock ended up a bit larger. I would definitely knit 2aat and change the needle size for the Fair Isle portions on future patterns that use this technique.

All that said, I’m very happy with how they turned out.

Fair Isle knitting (stranded colour-work) can be done holding the yarns in a few different ways. You can hold your main colour with whichever hand is normally your dominant knitting hand (left for continental and right for English) and the contrasting colour in your non-dominant knitting hand. You can also hold both yarns in your left as a continental knitter. I thought I would push myself to develop my muscle memory for English style knitting. I normally knit continental style and working one yarn in Continental and one in English style was definitely something to get used to. I did find that by the end of the first sock it was going fairly smoothly. Once I got kind of comfortable with it, the knitting actually went quicker than I expected.

It was definitely important to keep track of my rows. At each section of the pattern I drew two rows of little boxes to represent the number of rounds needed. I checked off the boxes as I completed each round. This way when I got to the second sock there was no confusion about how many rounds were in each section.

I am excited to try another project with a Fair Isle design so that I can fine tune these new skills. Perhaps I need to design a Fair Isle inspired hair band? Hmmm there’s a thought.

Summer Hair-Band #1

I have a new pattern for you today. I got tired of doing dishcloths so I thought I would shift to something different. I have long hair and it is always coming loose and getting in my face when I’m trying to work. I thought I would make a series of hair-bands out of 4-ply yarn for summer. I wanted the first one to be super easy so it can be knitted up in front of the TV once the pattern is established.

The hardest part about this pattern will probably be choosing the buttons to coordinate with your yarn. It features a staggered eyelet pattern that will allow you to adjust the size to your needs. It does tend to curl along the long edges, although blocking helps with this.

This is a great project to use up little odds and ends in your leftovers bin.

I had some self-patterning cotton sock yarn leftovers that I used. I’m very happy with the way it turned out. As a summer item, I’d suggest using cotton, linen, bamboo or any combination of those fibres. Obviously you can use wool if that’s what you have. I used sock weight yarn (4-ply/fingering) but you could use thicker yarn if you like, it would just come out wider. You work the patterned section to your head measurement and then add a section to sew the buttons onto. Because of this as long as you are happy with the width you get with a thicker yarn, you can absolutely make it work. If you use a thicker yarn, the amount (weight) of yarn you need will be different than what I have listed.

What with finishing up projects, gardening, work and the upcoming sock competition, I don’t know how many patterns I will be able to create this summer. I will play it by ear and see how it goes. I want to have a variety of hair-bands for myself, and that may be what motivates any new patterns that I come up with. 😀 I have a few ideas in mind; it’s just a matter of the time to do them up.

I hope you have fun with this pattern.

And here is the pattern!

Socks on the Brain…

I am midway through creating a new beginner/novice knitting pattern design that only Wonder Woman herself could possibly finish in time for this week’s blog. I have to work today and knitting all day (although I personally LOVE the idea) is simply not an option. Hopefully I can have that ready for next week. Oh, and

it’s not a dishcloth. 😀

Meanwhile, I just signed up for a sock competition called Tour-de-Sock! This will be my very first sock competition and there is a part of me that is stoked beyond imagining and another part of me that is utterly terrified. LOL

tour-de-sock.com is where you can find the information about this FUNdraiser for Doctors Without Borders. I have joined a team that assures me that they are pretty laid back knitters (so I won’t be expected to sneeze out socks). There will be six patterns and I won’t know what they are until each respective pattern drops. The specs have been posted so I can start choosing coordinating yarns in anticipation.

Most of all, I want to get my current sock projects completed before the July 15th start date.

I’m working on a pair of black socks using the “Gimli” pattern from “The Fellowship of the Sock” book. I just want to say, “Woah, Nelly!” Knitting intricate patterns into socks in black yarn is not for the faint of heart! You need extraordinarily good lighting to be able to see. It took me a while to get it just right and boy, this pattern is a pain to fix if you make a mistake. Once I got used to it I really liked it though. This is definitely not a beginner pattern. As of today, the first sock just needs the toe grafted and I’m about half way through the heel flap on sock #2. These were far too complex for me to feel comfortable knitting two socks at a time. I absolutely love these socks. I may very well make this pattern again one day; just not in black.

The other pair of socks I’m making is called “Hermione’s Everyday Socks”.

Hermione sock progress

The challenge for me in making this easy sock pattern was not in the knitting, but in NOT obsessing about having my self striping yarn correspond exactly from one sock to the other. Don’t laugh! This was a big deal for me. See in the photo how offset the stripes are from each other from sock to sock? My normal approach is to cast on as many times as is necessary to make certain that both socks are identical. To just cast them on immediately in succession without even looking at how the colour-way was lining up was essentially b**ch slapping my desire to have control over the outcome. It may sound silly, but my heart was pounding the whole time I cast them on. As I knit each round (as you can see I cast the two socks on at the same time on two circular needles) I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. It was seriously so stressful to me that I would hold my breath for far too long. Then, once I got to the point where I could see the colour-repeat from the first sock show up in the second, all that stress dissolved. Now, I’m really enjoying them.

I feel like I conquered something in the process; and that felt fantastic!

I hope to complete both pairs of socks before Tour-de-Sock starts so they won’t distract me from focusing on the competition.

Have a wonderful week!

Lacy Twigs Dishcloth

Ta-dah! I have a pattern for you today.

The Lacy Twigs Dishcloth includes a 4-row lace pattern repeat. It results in lacy columns that reminded me of woven twigs or climbing ivy. On either side of the lace columns are stockinette (stocking stitch) columns. It has enough going on to make it fun to watch it develop; but it’s still easy.

There are a couple things to pay attention to in this pattern.

I have you starting the pattern immediately after the cast-on. Most often you would either knit or purl a row first. I did this purposely so you can see how that affects the outcome. I think it’s pretty. (Besides, I was getting bored of the seed stitch border routine.) Knitting the first row of any project can be a little troublesome, even when you are just knitting it or purling it. It’s tricky to knit into the cast on stitches. Don’t get discouraged if you feel frustrated establishing the first row. Yes, it does kind of suck. But once you get that done, you’ll be fine.

Be patient and just take your time with it.

Rather than knitting or purling the first stitch in each row, you will be slipping them. This gives a different look to the edge of the work. On the right side rows you simply slip the first stitch as if you were going to knit. On the wrong side, with the yarn to the back, you slip the first stitch purlwise. Easy squeezy!

The decreases this time include K2tog-TBL (knit two together through the back loop). This awesome and easy little stitch results in a left leaning decrease without doing a SSK (slip, slip knit) or a SKP (slip, knit pass). It is a perfect compliment to the K2Tog (knit 2 together) on the mirror side of the pattern repeat. It lays nicely and looks sharp.

I included a wee chart with only the lace pattern repeat. Once you get your foundation done (your first 4-row pattern repeat), you will be able to see easily how those stockinette stitch columns sit between the lace. You won’t need the full chart to follow along once you have that in place. However, I did include the full chart so that you can have an overview of the entire project.

Remember that the symbols have 2 meanings:

  • one for the right side of the work;
  • one for the wrong side of the work.

This will likely only potentially confuse you on your foundation rows. Once you see the pattern develop you will be able to tell what you need to do on the wrong side rows at a glance. (Yes, honest, you will. 🙂 )

I hope you have fun with this project. I have some ideas for some other fast and easy projects that I want to create patterns for over the summer. I can’t promise that they will appear predictably regular or anything. My life is pretty full these days and I do have to sleep and eat from time to time. LOL 😀 My hope is to offer some projects that would make quick but nice and useful gifts. I want them to be interesting and fun to make without making your head hurt. Sound like a plan?

And hey, feel free to leave me a comment if you’d like. (Well, as long as it’s a nice comment.)

Oh, and

Happy Victoria Day weekend

to my fellow British Columbians! And for everybody else:

happy long weekend

of whatever sort it is wherever you are. Cheers!

And here is the pattern!