I didn’t knit any buttonholes in the front band for my Central Park Hoodie, since I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to finish it, and I didn’t know how much I’d want the bands to overlap depending on the fit. I figured I could do loops or afterthought buttonholes after I decided what I wanted to do.
I decided that toggles would look really nice, but I couldn’t find the kind that you tie on with yarn, like the ones used on Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Aran Coat. Instead, they all just had a metal eye on the back for fastening them to the fabric. Rather than do afterthought buttonholes, I decided to add loops, but I was worried about having the yarn pull loose. So I came up with my own “unvention”, as E.Z. would say.
I took my yarn and grabbed a crochet hook (size C if you want to know, but only because it was the first one I grabbed out of my knitting bag). Then I crocheted a chain up the inside of the cardigan where the front band meets the body, just following the column of knit stitches that were next to the cable (these are purl stitches on the public side). This is basically the same technique as doing a crochet steek, though I was doing simple chains, not single crochet stitches as some people do for their steeks.
Wherever I wanted a button loop, I’d stop chaining up the cardigan stitches, and just did 15 chain stitches (enough to make the size loop I wanted). Then I’d continue chaining up along the cardigan to the next spot. Once all the loops were done, I chained a few extra stitches along the cardigan, then cut the yarn and wove in the ends.
The final step was to stick the crochet hook through the cardigan from the public side at each loop, and fish the loop out to the right side of the garment.
Voila! Button loops that shouldn’t come undone.
Here are some photos of what I did – If you’re having trouble seeing what’s going on, you can click them for a bigger image. When the Flickr page comes up, click the “All Sizes” icon over the top center of the photo to get the large size.
1. In this photo, I’ve been chaining up along the edge of the knit stitches – I have the chain loop on the hook, and have inserted the hook through the next stitch on the cardigan:
2. Then I grab the working yarn and pull it through both loops on the hook:
3. In the next photo, the stitch is complete, and now I just have the chain loop on the hook again. Continue to where you want a loop, and then just do chain stitches without picking up stitches from the cardigan until you have a length that is right for your desired loop. (Oops – sorry, no photo of that.) Then continue chaining along the cardigan, starting with the next stitch.
4. This photo shows what the loop looks like after it’s been pulled through to the public side of the garment. I outlined it in red so it would be a little easier to see:
5. The last photo shows the front of the cardigan – the bottom toggle is fastened by the loop, and the top one is unfastened – the loop is inside the red circle:
I like how they came out, but I have to admit that it’s a little bit fiddly to button them, since the band that the buttons are on needs to go over the band that the loop is on, rather than the reverse, which is how it would work if I had buttonholes instead of loops – or if I’d put the loops on the outer edge of the band. If it really bothered me, I suppose I could move the buttons to the right band instead of the left band, and re-do the loops, but I don’t mind it this way. Besides, if I changed them, the buttons would appear to be on the “wrong” side when the cardigan is unbuttoned.