Saturday, November 16, 2013

Knitting an Enclosed Button Band

Since I could not find any online tutorials on how to knit an Enclosed Button Band (or a button band that has its own facing), I decided to take photos of my knitting process and to post them here.

While I was searching for information on how to knit such a button band, I found tutorials on how to sew on a knitted button band facing, but I wanted to do this seamlessly. I also found a steeking related blog tutorial by Katie Davies that showed a similar process to what I wanted to do, but "my" button band was not steeking related and my band has ribbing and is 2" wide. 

I am currently knitting a poncho that I am designing. I am calling it the "Thirty-one Flavors Poncho" since I sketched out the idea for this poncho on a Baskin Robins paper bag (that is all what I had handy at that moment:
You have to use what is handy when inspiration comes! 
The shawl collar is knit first and then the button bands are added. When the collar folds over, the wrong side of the collar is on the public side. One of the things that I wanted to avoid was to have the seam of the wrong side showing where the stitches for the button band had been picked up. I think that I succeeded:
You see the "rolled" looking seam? 
If I had simply just picked up stitches at the collar and knit the button band ribbing, it would show the seam. I quite like the outcome. It almost looks like a knitted welt or an i-cord, wouldn't you agree?

Let me explain the knitting process:

1. With a long circular needle that was the same size as I was planning on knitting the button band with, I picked up & knitted the button band stitches as I normally do. The only difference was that I ran a bright colored yarn around the yarn that I was using to pick up the stitches, almost like running a life-line. 

2. This way, I was able to see the yarn that I had used to pick up & knit the stitches at the back. (Later I will run a second thin knitting needle through the loops in the back in order to cover the "seam" that was created by picking up the stitches.)

I think you can see it better here.
3. After I finished picking up all the necessary button band stitches, I worked 3 rows in stockinette stitch:
Row 1 (wrong side): purl all stitches.
Row 2 (right side): knit all stitches.
Row 3 (wrong side): purl all stitches.  
At that point, I stopped working that part of the button band, don't cut the yarn, leave it attached.
After 3 rows of stockinette, shown from the wrong side of fabric. 

4. Next, I used a very fine long circular needle to pick up the loops from the wrong side of the fabric:

5. Once I had picked up all the loops from the wrong side of the fabric, I pulled out the pink yarn ("life line") and worked 2 rows of stockinette stitch, using a long circular needle that was one size smaller than the needle size of the button band needle and the yarn that I had used for the other side of the button band. 
Row 1 (wrong side): purl all stitches.
Row 2 (right side): knit all stitches.
I have to admit, especially the first row was a little fiddly to purl and I had to really watch it that the stitches on the other needle did not slip off. 

6. Next, I worked the two rows as if in the round, for one round. (This means that I now had finished 4 rows for the outside band and 3 rows for the inside band. I used the respective needles for each side, but I "swung" the yarn around the ends to work the bands in the round, so that there is no opening/gap at each end of the button band.)

7. Now it was time to connect the two sides into one. I simply did this by either knitting-2-together (k2tog) or by purling-2-together (p2tog), the parallel stitch from the front and the back needle (similar as to when one knits a three-needle-bind-off without binding off) based on the ribbing pattern that I wanted for the button band (namely: K3, P3). 

View from the right side of the fabric. 

What the finished row looked like from the right side of the fabric. 

What the finished row looked like from the wrong side of the fabric.
8. Then I continued working the button band in the ribbing pattern to its desired width. The "seam" is covered by stockinette stitch fabric.

Finished button band from the wrong side of the fabric. 

Finished button band from the right side of the fabric. 

I really like the outcome! 


  1. Eine wirklich sehr saubere Lösung :)

    Danke fürs Zeigen und liebe Grüße