Buttonhole Basics Part 1: Knitting

If you're anything like the button hoarders here (and yes, I am one of them), buttonhole making is essential in your knit and crochet projects. While there are quite a few ways to make a buttonhole, knowing the basics can be super-di-duper helpful when you are in the middle of a project and need to make some design choices. 

This blog post covers how to knit horizontal, vertical, and eyelet button holes, and the crochet counterpart blog post is soon to follow! These are just the basic  concepts. As I learned while researching this topic, there are A LOT of variations and additional options, so if you're looking for something more advanced, I suggest googling the specific thing you're looking for, or check out the TechKnitter blog (she's one of Jenn's go-tos for knitting technique help). Additionally, we filmed short videos of all these techniques! If you prefer watching to reading, there are links to videos for each type of button hole construction below. *Disclaimer: I often confuse horizontal and vertical (and left and right for the record), so please excuse my mix-ups in the videos!*

Horizontal Knit Buttonhole: This buttonhole is easy to construct and involves  knitting 2 rows to complete. When you get to the place in your work where you want to make a button hole, knit 2 additional stitches and then bind off however many stitches long you would like your buttonhole to be wide. I bound off 4 stitches in worsted weight for about a 1" wide buttonhole. Begin working the second row as normal until you get to the bound off stitches, then cast on the same number of stitches you bound off using the backwards loop cast-on method (in my case, I cast on 4 stitches), then continue working the remaining stitches on your need to the end of the row. Voila! When you knit back across, you simply knit as normal into the cast on stitches!  Watch our video on Horizontal Knit Buttonholes!

Vertical Knit Buttonhole: To make a vertical buttonhole, you'll need some extra yarn or a separate ball of yarn to make one side of the buttonhole. Here I used a different color yarn to better illustrate the technique, but when you're knitting a project, you'll probably want the same color for consistency. ;) To start this buttonhole, work to where you want the buttonhole to begin, making sure you're knitting towards the edge of the work on which you want the buttonhole. Once you get to where you want your buttonhole, turn your work and knit back across. Work as many rows as you want your buttonhole tall (I knit 5 rows), ending on a row that puts you knitting towards your buttonhole edge again. Now it is time to knit up the other side of the buttonhole! Attach your extra yarn and knit towards the edge of your work. Knit up one less row than you did for the first side of your button hole (I knit 4 rows). Cut your extra yarn with 4" or so, leaving plenty extra for weaving in, grab your main yarn attached to the first side of the button hole and knit across the second side of your button hole to the edge. Fini! You will need to weave in 2 ends for every buttonhole using this technique, so if weaving in ends isn't your jam, you might want to avoid this one. Watch our video on Vertical Knit Buttonholes!

Eyelet Knit Button Hole: I saved the best for last! I think the eyelet buttonhole is the easiest, and it is by far my favorite. The only downside is that it is a one size fits all hole, so if you have really big buttons, but are knitting with sock yarn, this one might not work for your project. This is another two row button hole. Simply knit to where you want your button hole, knit two stitches, bind off one stitch, and continue knitting to the end of your row. On the way back, when you reach that bound-off stitch, yarn over, and knit to the end of the row. This yarn over replaces the stitch you bound off. As you knit back across again, be sure to knit into that yarn over. Yay! Another button hole! Watch our video on Knitting Eyelet Buttonholes to see this technique in action!

I hope you found this buttonhole tutorial helpful! Please keep in mind that when I say "knit", I mean it in the sense of knitting across your work, not using the knit stitch (i.e., you may be purling, not knitting, a particular row). If you have any questions, please post them in the comments, or email our knitting guru, Terry, at AskTerry@jimmybeanswool.com

Thanks so much for reading! Happy buttonhole knitting!!!!


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