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Knit Maker: Skills & Technique

Lesson 5 of 11

Button Hole (BO/CO Method)

Vickie Howell

Knit Maker: Skills & Technique

Vickie Howell

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Lesson Info

5. Button Hole (BO/CO Method)


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:02:14
2 Provisional Cast on Duration:27:49
3 Cable Cast on Duration:06:19
4 Button Hole (YO Method) Duration:05:29
5 Button Hole (BO/CO Method) Duration:12:27
6 Dropping Stitches Duration:18:48
7 Mattress Stitch Duration:15:47
8 Kitchener Stitch Duration:17:53
9 Magic Loop Method Duration:12:07
10 3-Needle Bind Off Duration:05:40
11 Applied i-Cord Edging Duration:07:20

Lesson Info

Button Hole (BO/CO Method)

Alright so, while you guys are finishing up, I'm gonna talk about the second method. This is another sweater from my book, it's called Coyote Kid. 'Cause of the wee coyotes. And these button holes were created in a separate band that I sewed on later. So I actually knit them this way. Actually I picked up stitches, I didn't sew them on later. And this works really well, these are just traditional flat buttons. I actually painted the centers black, just 'cause I'm goth like that. This is a method that would work with a flat button like this, but it would also work with a button like this that has just a little bit of a shank. This is really just kind of a traditional button hole. It's really nice and clean. It works in ribbing, like this. Or, it works with a flat stitch as well. But I'm gonna be showing you in ribbing. In fact the swatch that I have given you instructions for in the bonus materials are for a rib stitch. Okay. So, I'd like to give the opportunity for the in studio guests...

to either just keep working on your yarn over button holes, or if you want you can abandon ship, and you can cast on just a multiple four stitches, but at least 12 stitches, to your needle, so we can work on the next one. But don't feel pressured. If you've got your jam on, jam on. At home what you can do, is you can cast on some stitches. For this swatch it's 28 stitches. And you're gonna work several rows, five rows in two by two ribs. So that's knit two, perl two. And we're doing this just to create our bands. So this would be, if you think of it as a sweater, I'm gonna pull on this sweater again. If you think of it as the sweater, this is gonna get you up to the point where your button holes would be. While you're casting on, I'm gonna go ahead and show it and then I can walk around and check in with people after that. Okay? Alright, so we have worked in two by two rib, like I said. And now this would be a wrong side row. So you work the first couple of stitches, or whatever the pattern calls for, in pattern stitch. So I can see that I need to perl these stitches. And now I want to bind off two stitches. So I need to knit two, slip one stich. The second stitch over that first stitch. That's one bound off. But I want to bind off in patterns, so I see that this is a perl stitch, so I want to perl that. Bind it off. That's actually created the hole that is gonna be where your button goes. So then from there, you've bound off stitches, and then you work until there are six stitches from the bind off. So let's see. That's four stitches from the bind off. And really, you know, you're always gonna be binding off the stitches that are knit on this side. And what that's doing is, on the right side, that's creating your button hole. So it lies, so it nestles the button in the valley that's created by the perl stitches. That's totally just a design feature. You could do it wherever you wanted. But I tend to like doing that that way. I think it looks really nice, and clean. Okay, so I'm to the place where I want to bind off again. Again, I'm reading my stitches. If they're knit, I knit them. If they're perl, I perl them. Then I want to work until there are six stitches from that bind off gap. And again, I chose this amount mainly because I wanted to keep in the rib stitch, but also that's how far apart I want my buttons for this sweater that this pattern comes from. It would vary if you wanted your buttons to be closer or further away. And if you weren't working in rib stitch, you would still do the same thing, you would work in whatever pattern stitch you are. The point is that you bind off, in this case two stitches, and then continue. And, by the way, I chose two stitches because when I was working my gauge swatch for the buttons that I was working on, I figured out that that created about the height of the hole that I needed. This would vary if you were using, if I were going to this big huge ginorma-button, I would definitely need to bind off more stitches than that. So, that's how you size up or down the button hole. Alright, so we are getting close to being at our last one. Alright, so I'm gonna bind off two to make my last button hole. I'm traveling. There we go, that's better for you. And now we've worked that whole row. Okay, so now we're gonna flip our piece over, and this would actually be the right side. If I spread the stitches out a little bit, you can see where the gaps are. So now what we're gonna do is we're gonna work in our rib stitch as established until you get to the place where the stitches are bound off. Get that out of your view. Okay, this is where they're bound off, so what I need to do is I need to cast on two more stitches. So we're gonna do what I call the E-cast on, or the E-wrap cast on, rather. That is I take the yarn, I wrap it around my thumb, hold on I've got to flip this over. You have to flip your piece over when you cast on this way. I make a loop, you can see it looks like a little loopty-loop. You see that? I just place it on my needle. I'm gonna do that again, 'cause I want to cast on two stitches. Then I flip the piece back over and I work to the next stitch. Okay, so on to my next one. I'm gonna show you again. I'm gonna cast on by wrapping around my thumb. I've got that little cursive E, or loopty-loop. Place it on my needle, pull it so it's tight but not so tight that it won't move. Repeat the process. And then go back, and continue in rib stitch. Are there any questions at this point? Are we good? Well, someone online asked if there's a complimentary cast off to the cable cast on? Hmm, is there a complimentary cast off? So, the fast answer is no. But the longer answer would be that I would just suggest casting off in whatever the pattern stitches that they were working in. So, if you want your cast off to be elastic, and you're working in rib stitch, then you would cast off, or bind off, they're interchangeable terms, in that rib stitch, which means you would knit two stitches, and then bind one off, and then you would perl. You'd read the stitches. And that, by very definition, is gonna keep you with that same elasticity. There may be some fancy-schmancy cast off that is just for that without working in ribbing. But it's really a case by case basis. In studio, how are we doing? That was not excitement at all. (audience laughing) Working. Working? Working? Okay, I'm gonna probably come around and see how it's going, I just wanted to finish mine. So also, I won't do it for the whole row, but I just want to give you a visual on what the next row will look like. When you flip the piece over you'll now have these cast on stitches. But the E-wrap cast on is not very stable. But it's just what you've got to do in the middle of a row. You want to make sure to come up through that wrap. You see that? And then knit it as you would knit any other stitch. But take it slow because it's really easy to pull off a stitch here. But now that I've said that, I feel like I need to show you what to do if that happens. So, give me a second to get to the next one. I promise that I have your creative back, so I've got to hold to that promise. Okay, so let's say, let's see I've knit my first one. Have I knit my first one? Allegedly I've knit my first one. There we go. And the other one comes sliding off. So you take a moment, have a little bit of a panic attack, and then once you're past that just take it, and make that loop again. Make the loop, it's hard to see 'cause of my fingers. And just slide it back on the needle. You see that? It's really no big whoop. So you'll feel like you're gonna have a mega knitting meltdown, but then you're gonna see that you are the champions, my friends, and it's easy to fix. Okay, so I'm gonna come around and make sure that everything's going well. And we're actually gonna move on, we have so much to fit in before the break. How's it looking? You feeling good? You're looking good! Yeah, I haven't gotten, I'm slow. So I haven't even gotten to that yet. No worries, you take your own time. That's looking good. Any questions over here? I was watching you. (audience member speaking quietly) Yeah! How do you feel about on button bands, afterwards doing crochet stitches around the opening to reinforce? I love that idea! So let's talk that for a second. So, there is the argument that depending on the fiber, so this yarn that I use is a really, it has a really nice twist to it, it's really stable. I chose it 'cause it's for a toddler, and you want it to have some wear and tear, whatever. This yarn that I'm using is light and airy and lovely and alpaca-y, but that also can mean that it's not as stable. So your button holes may be a little stretchier and so Olivia's suggestion, which is a great one, is going around with a crochet hook and you can single crochet or slip stitch all the way around. You could do that when you're working with a fiber that's not as strong, or a weave that's tighter. Or you could do that if your buttons have stretched out the band after a while. You could come back to reinforce it that way. So, great question. Great question.

Class Description

It can be hard to set aside time for your creative outlet, and even harder to put time and energy into doing the research and legwork to advance your skills. Vickie Howell turns this formula on its head. Your craft should be your inspiration, and learning new techniques should be fun, attainable, and energizing.

Vickie is an expert, easy-to-follow knitter who can help you master the just-out-of-reach skills you need to tackle advanced patterns. Join this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to get started with the provisional and cable cast-ons.
  • How to create button holes, fix dropped stitches, and more.
Vickie will also teach you advanced seaming techniques like the kitchener stitch, mattress stitch and the 3-needle bind-off. You’ll learn how to work the picot bind-off, add an applied i-cord edging, and incorporate SC edging. Take the time to invest in your knitting skills, and invigorate your creative practice!


Toni Imwold

Thanks Vicki for teaching a great class. I consider myself to be an advanced knitter but I still learned some great tips and ideas from you. The cowl patterns look great and I plan to knit one soon.

a Creativelive Student

This was an outstanding, intensive workshop by Vickie Howell. She covered a wide variety of techniques and I am amazed at how much I learned in just a few hours. I started practicing some of the new skills I learned and am happy to report that they are indeed now part of my knitting knowledge.

Chris Lopez

This was an amazing class. I've been a knitter for 40+ years but still picked up some new skills and refined some existing ones. Vickie is a wonderful teacher and her enthusiasm for her craft shines through in all she does. Please keep adding more classes with her.