Not Martha

my third sweater: planning the button band

the pattern: Central Park Hoodie
the yarn: Dark Horse Fantasy in Charcoal (#13)
the previous entries: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I have knit the hood. I decided to go ahead and bind off the stitches along the back of the neck (the pattern calls for them to be left live) for more stability. After weaving in the ends there is a stable line of bound off stitches that goes from one shoulder, across the back of the neck and to the other shoulder.

After toying with the idea of learning to graft to make the hood seam I decided, screw it, and did a three needle bind off. I did not continue the center back cabling up the back of the hood since I don’t think I’ll be wearing it up all that much. I did knit the hood an inch or so longer (one more cable repeat, to be precise) than the pattern called for since it was obviously too short at 11.5 inches. The hood took a long time to knit, there is a lot of fabric there, so I had to be pep talked into keeping going on the hood after I started reasoning that I will rarely be wearing the hood up anyhow.

So, now I’m planning the button band. I read that lots of people wished they had used more than six buttons, and I also heard that people wished they had put one button higher up near the neck and one just at the bottom. I bought eight buttons but I’m considering going back and buying extra and perhaps using ten. Would ten be heavy as well as overkill? My gauge is loose, so the sweater has come out long. I have room to stretch it around me, and it looks fine when I do this while trying it on, but I’m worried the stress between the buttons will mean I get those little gaps. Anybody have any advice here? Will picking up stitches for the button band created a rigid enough edge to allow the sweater to close gracefully? Or should I add as many buttons as aesthetics will allow?

Alternate plan: I could knit many buttonholes, say every other purl rib, and sort out the button problem later on.

I’ll be reworking my button band swatch since the last one did have a suspicious curve to it. I have to ask, how is it that the CPH pattern can get away with telling you to knit 14 inches in one part of the pattern and then turn around and give you an exact number of stitches you need to pick up for the button band later on? Looking through Ravelry you can see how it’s caused trouble for people where the button band is too short for the sweater. I’m extra worried my button band will pull up since I cannot fix it with blocking.

I don’t have high hopes that this sweater will be wear-out-of-the-house worthy, but so far it’s dreamily soft and fuzzy and warm and will do quite nicely to wear while slouching around the house.

· comments [15] · 05-7-2008 · categories:knitting ·

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kim // May 7, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I started at the top and worked a buttonhole every 5th rib. I don’t think I’ll be buttoning mine up completely so every 5th rib worked out fine for me. :)

  • 2 caro // May 7, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I wouldn’t go more than 7 or so buttons, otherwise it might look too fussy competing with the cables. As far as the buttonband goes, don’t worry about how many the pattern tells you to pick up, that math never works out. Just pick up 3 and skip one. Works like a charm on every sweater, every time.

  • 3 Daphne // May 7, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Pick up 3 out of every 4 stitches for the ribbing, evening it out to repeats of 4 + 2 (2×2 ribbing, right? plus two extra so you end on knits). (Or pick up 2 out of 3 — whatever looked best on your test swatches for button band.) If you’re worried about the width of the sweater & it gapping, why don’t you knit wider button bands? Not too awfully long, but you know, long enough. From what I recall of the sweater, I think the fabric is soft enough that it shouldn’t gap much.

  • 4 megan // May 7, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    For my previous swatch I picked up every 3 out of 4 and it still curled, so I’m trying 1 to 1 and 4 out of 5 this time.

    Daphne – Thanks, I’ll consider the wider button bands even though I’m a little eh on how they look on the sweater. It’s the very nature of the loose knit that I’m afraid will make it gap even more.

  • 5 Tina // May 7, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    you were talking about a wider button band, this one looks good….
    or this one

  • 6 megan // May 7, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Tina – Thank you, I do like those button bands, they are super wide instead of just wider.

    I’m still having trouble finding the right ratio of stitches to pick up for the button band.

  • 7 julie // May 8, 2008 at 5:05 am

    i have no knitting advice, but i wanted to say – WHAT?! buttons or no buttons, it looks deliciously wear-out-of-the-house-able as is. before i even saw your last paragraph i thought, “man, i bet she’s going to get a lot of compliments on that sweater as it looks Very Expensive.”

    good luck with the finishing!

  • 8 Rebecca // May 8, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Ooh, the sweater is looking great. I love your methodical approach to sweater knitting.

    And don’t be afraid of learning to graft. I’m never sure why people always seem to think it’s difficult or tedious. It’s certainly no harder than, say, a tubular cast on (which I was motivated to learn after reading about your adventures with it). I grafted the hood of my Rogue hoodie and even over the wide band of cables, you’d be hard pressed to find the seam.

  • 9 Liz // May 8, 2008 at 6:05 am

    I’m a sewer, not a knitter, but how about trying 2 smaller buttons on the bottom of the sweater instead of one large one. That would prevent any gap and might be a little lighter. I agree with caro – no more than 7 buttons on the rest of the button band.

  • 10 megan // May 8, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Rebecca – I’m not afraid to learn to graft, but simply on my way out of town and am running out of time to get the sweater done so I can take it along. It was all a time thing.

    Liz – I’m curious, why are you both recommending seven? Is there a fashion rule I’m unaware of here? Is it like the design rule of fives, but for buttons it’s seven? I agree, seven (one less than in the picture) would look far less fussy.

  • 11 Liz // May 8, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I recommended 7 buttons just because I think any more would look crowded. Maybe caro has a better reason :)

  • 12 megan // May 8, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Liz – Ah, thank you. I just found this entry at Drunken Monkey Knits saying that an uneven number of buttons is often recommended. Coincidentally she is working on a CPH as well.

  • 13 Rebecca // May 8, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Ack! Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you in particular were scared of grafting! In fact, after following your adventures in sweater knitting, I’ve been very inspired by your approach and exploration of different techniques to get the job done in the best way for you. I know a woman who will rip out half a sweater to get the perfect fit is a woman with no knitting fear!

  • 14 megan // May 8, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Rebecca – Not to worry, I didn’t think you were calling me a scardy cat, but I realize I didn’t explain why I decided to go ahead and do a seam I was familiar with. But I do want to learn grafting, and had planned to use it for the hood here. Just ran out of time since I need to be a bit careful with my button band since I cannot block it. This is a time consuming effort, let me tell you.

  • 15 MontanaJen // May 8, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Yeah – I’m loving the wide band. I’m so glad you made this, as the CPH is in my queue for next time.

    I’m sweater stalking you – making the Ribby Cardi right now. Would you mind doing Sitcom Chic next? ;)

    I agree with the other commenters, eight buttons may be too many, but six too few. Seven seems like a good compromise.

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