There are many techniques for creating buttonholes, but here are my favourites! I like to work my buttonholes in a single row, as I find this method the tidiest. Using the same method you can adjust the size of your buttonhole according to the size of your buttons. For information on spacing your buttonholes and creating a button band check out our button band tutorial here.
This method is simple and creates a small, tidy hole. To work a 1 stitch buttonhole simply work a yo, k2tog where you want your buttonhole. That’s working a yarn over then knitting the next 2 stitches together.
2, 3, and 4-stitch buttonholes
For larger buttons, or in lighter weight sweaters (fingering / sock weight for example) a 1 stitch buttonhole will be too small, so you will have to go with something bigger. For 2, 3, and 4 stitch buttonhole you will work as follows:
1. slip the next 2 stitches
2. pass the first over the second and off (also known as binding off 1 st)
3. slip 1 more stitch
4. pass the first over the second (binding off a second stitch)
For a 2-stitch buttonhole proceed to step 5.
For a 3-stitch buttonhole work steps 3 and 4 once more then proceed to step 5.
For a 4-stitch buttonhole work steps 3 and 4 twice more then proceed to step 5.
5. pass 1 stitch from right hand needle to left hand needle
6. Using backwards loop method, cast on 2 stitches (or, if you are working a 3-stitch buttonhole cast on 3 stitches, for a 4-stitch buttonhole cast on 4 stitches etc.)
Voila! You have a buttonhole in a single row. Some variation you may want to try include cast on stitches in a different manor. We used the backwards loop cast on but you could turn your work (so the wrong side is facing), cast on stitches using a knitted cast on, then turn your work back (so the right side is facing).
If you are unsure of what size of buttonhole you need, try one, work a few sts more, then see if you can get the button through. It should be a bit of a tight squeeze, knitting is stretchy and you don’t want your cardigan popping open!
Buttoned cardigans from TCK: