I put a test swatch through some trials to see if it would make a difference after being blocked. I made the swatch like one of the center fronts with the idea that I could use it to test the button banding as well.
Here is my swatch before:
First I got it thoroughly wet, pinned it to a towel stretched out a bit and let it dry for 24 hours:
Immediately after removing it the swatch appeared to have gained some width and some nice definition around the cabling. Here it is side by side with the before picture:
And here it is next to an un-blocked sweater part:
As the day went on, the swatch relaxed back towards it’s original state. At that point the swatch had gained a little bit of width in the gauge, about 1/2 a stitch per inch (which adds up quickly when you consider the entire width of the sweater).
But then I figured I’d test wash the swatch the way I would be washing the sweater itself. I’m being realistic here, I’m prone to spilling liquids on myself and since this isn’t made of wool I’m going to take advantage of the washer/dryer for cleaning. And since there is absolutely no chance I’ll be re-blocking the sweater every time I wash it I threw it in for a cycle of darks (cold water wash, tumble dry medium). And it emerged reverted back to it’s pre-blocked self:
So, that’s that. No need for me to bother blocking sweater pieces that aren’t going to stay blocked. I can proceed directly to seaming, but first I’m going to do some test button banding on the poor, mistreated swatch.
Next I extended the swatch and added a button band. On the right I picked up stitches in 2 out of 3 rows, on the left 3 out of 4. I like the 3 out of 4:
I finished the edge in tubular 2×2 bind off, but it was noticably tight. I so I tried normal knit bind off (with the messy bits pointing towards the WS), bind off in pattern, and for the first time EZ’s sewn bind-off. I found EZ’s sewn bind off in The Knitter’s Handbook, which I find a bit more useful than The Knitter’s Companion but I have not had a chance to compare to the Expanded and Updated Knitter’s Companion, which I really should just buy already. Both books are spiral bound and lay open on a table, essential for a knitting reference.
I like EZ’s sewn bind of, it’s stretchy and not too tight. I suspect that if I went with 2×2 tubular bind off on the button band edge it would eventually stretch out and look floppy. (Again, I’m knitting with acrylic here, wool would hold the shape much better.)
I did a three-stitch, one row buttonhole like the pattern mentions but it looks sort of messy in the 2×2 ribbing:
I did a little swatch with eyelet buttons holes but they are too small for my 7/8ths inch buttons. Shame because they look so much neater:
So, does anybody know of a good buttonhole technique that looks good inside of 2×2 ribbing? Or should I simply use one of the tidier looking 3-stitch buttonholes I’ve been researching?