You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Math4Knitters Crafty Living Show 20

Download audio

Lara Neel
I like how these buttons seem to glow, but I suspect it might have been caused by a dirty lens.

Math4Knitters: Crafty Living, Show 20

This week's show is about button placement on a buttonband. I created a cheat sheet simply titled "Placing Buttonholes", but, of course, it's also about placing buttons. I wrote about two situations. The first situation is for buttonholes that are horizontal, with the buttonband being knit with its stitches parallel to the stitches of the sweater (with many rows, over few stitches). This is the same as if the buttonband is being knit at the same time as the rest of the sweater. The second situation is for buttonholes that are vertical, with the buttonband being knit with its stitches perpendicular to the stitches of the sweater (with many stitches, over few rows). This is the usual case when a buttonband is picked up and knit after the sweater. So, to make this one, you work your buttonband until the row that you want to add the buttonholes.

For both situations, I work through the math, describe how to handle it when your result is not a whole number, and work out an example.

Pushing Buttons

I spent a fair amount of time this week in a lather about button placement. Specifically, top button placement. How far should it be from the top? I finally settled on placing the lowest button on the sweater 1 inch from the bottom, and then spacing everything else evenly. If you prefer to have more free room at the bottom of your sweater, you could flip your directions over, so that your top button would be 1 inch from the top, and everything else would be evenly spaced, including the space after your last button.

Sewing Method

I like to use two buttons for each buttonhole- the one in the front, and another one on the back of the fabric. The two buttons, sewn together, support each other. This keeps the top button from looking too floppy, as it sometimes can on knit fabrics. I have heard some people line their buttonbands with ribbon, but I don't like sewing long stretches of inflexible fabric to my knitting. That's why I hire other people to put zippers in cardigans for me.

Crazy Aunt Purl's Tip

For security on baby things, I use unwaxed dental floss to sew on buttons. It is very, very strong. Crazy Aunt Purl says to sew a 4-hole button using two pieces of thread. In other words, you would sew through two of the holes with one thread, tie it off, and then sew the other two holes with another thread. This method ensures that, even if one thread breaks, your button won't come off.