Knitting Tutorial: Cocoknits Buttonholes

When teaching my finishing classes, I am often asked about working neat buttonholes. I’ve tried many different techniques over the years and never loved any of the results — they seemed to sag and stretch — so I often avoided buttonholes completely. But then I tried my technique for a neat underarm bind-off (when knitting a sweater bottom-up) and found it resulted in a neat, almost invisible hole. This method also hides the holes in the valleys created by purl stitches on the right side. I’ve given directions for both a one-stitch buttonhole in k1, p1 rib and a two-stitch buttonhole in K2, P2 rib.


One-stitch buttonhole in K1, P1 rib

Step 1: Mark where you want to create buttonholes (these will be purl sts when looking at your RS).
Step 2: On RS, work in pattern to the k st before your marked/purl buttonhole st.
Step 3: Into this k st, kf&b.
Step 4: P your buttonhole st
Step 5: BO the purl st (using the extra st you made by knitting into the back of that knit st).
Step 6: Pass the resulting st from your right needle to your left needle.
Step 7: K2tog (the extra st with the next k st).

Continue in pattern until 1 st before the next buttonhole/purl st and repeat from Step 1 above.

In the next WS row, backwards loop CO 1 st over each of the BO purl sts.

Two-stitch buttonhole in K2, P2 rib

Step 1: Mark where you want to create buttonholes (these will be 2 purl sts when looking at your RS).
Step 2: On RS, work in pattern to the k st before your marked/purl buttonhole sts.
Step 3: Into this k st, Kf&b.
Step 4: P your buttonhole st
Step 5: BO the purl st (using the extra st you made by knitting into the back of that knit st). BO one more st purlwise.
Step 6: Pass the resulting st from your right needle to your left needle.
Step 7: K2tog (the extra st with the next k st).

Continue in pattern until 1 st before the next buttonhole/purl st and repeat from Step 1 above.

In the next WS row, backwards loop CO 1 st over each of the 2 BO purl sts. In the next RS row, when you come to the newly CO st, M1R p-wise into the extra slack of this CO.

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