A step-by-step tutorial for reinforcing a buttonhole and knitting it in one row
So, you stumbled across a simple way to knit a buttonhole. It was easy and fast to make it. But then, lo and behold, with time it wore out and looked all wonky. Does this sound familiar? Well, I want to show you a very easy way to knit a reinforced buttonhole with tips and tricks to improve the basic method.
The root of the problem is knitting itself. The fabric will always be stretchy, and – unlike in crochet – all stitches in a row are interconnected. With time, stitches that experience a lot of stress will automatically steal yarn from the adjacent stitches. When it comes to knitting neater buttonholes, that’s a mechanic you absolutely need to avoid. Here is how:
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- Knit up to the position where you want to place your buttonhole and bring the working yarn to the front.
- Slip one stitch knitwise.
- Bring the working yarn to the back again. This will create a little wrap around the slipped stitch that will reinforce the corner of the buttonhole later on.
- Slip the next stitch over to the right needle knitwise without knitting it. The working yarn stays in the back.
- Pass the second stitch on your right needle over the first stitch. A bit like a normal bind-off but without knitting either of the stitches.
- From here, continue binding off stitches by slipping the next stitch knitwise and passing the second stitch on the right needle over until you bound off the required number of stitches for your buttonhole. (E.g. 4 stitches)
- Slip the remaining stitch back to the left needle point-to-point.
- Turn your work around and pick up the working yarn again.
- From here, cast on as many stitches as you've bound off using a cable cast-on.
- Consider slipping the cast-on stitches back to the left needle twisted (and not purlwise).
- Then cast on one more stitch (e.g. if you bound off 4 stitches, cast-on 5 stitches). But before you slip that stitch back to the left needle, bring the yarn to the front. Then slip it back twisted.
- Turn your work around again.
- Slip the next stitch knitwise.
- Pass the second stitch over the first.
- Continue knitting in pattern.
I typically slip the stitches knitwise/twisted. Some people prefer to slip them purlwise (both for the bind-off and when they cast on). Knit a swatch and see what you prefer more. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter all that much. I feel, slipping them twisted creates a sturdier edge for me.