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.

One Comment

  1. MJ, the SKEINdinavian

    What a clever way to hide buttonholes! They really are undetectable. PERFECT! I have resisted ribbed buttonbands because the buttonholes I knit always looked terrible. NO MORE!

    I also like the way you take up the slack on the backwards loop cast-on. It’s brilliant! I have despised them because of the slack. NO MORE, on this, too!

    Thank you so much for sharing these great techniques with all of us. Now my projects will shine.

    Have a great day… KNITTING!

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