Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Design Your Own Aran, Part Twelve: Borders and Buttonholes

Front and neck borders are easier than most knitters think. Plus, if you do them at this stage of the knitting, not only will you get them over with, but you will also have the advantage that your cardigan will hang properly when you get to trying it on to assess the fit of the sleeves. Pretty much everything of a technical nature you need to know about picking up the borders can be found in my earlier tutorial here. There are a few extra points worth adding.

1. To get nice corners without those little "ears" where the yarn is cut and pulled through at the end of the row, work the last 2 stitches together. So simple, so tidy!

2. Be prepared to fuss a little to get a good arrangement of knits and purls in the ribbing. You will want to have a knit stitch at the outer edges of the neck ribbing (which will be worked first) to act as a selvedge for picking up the front borders. With the latter, manipulate your stitch numbers if necessary, by some judicious decreasing, so that you end up with 2 knit stitches at either end. Do the same sort of gentle manipulation to line up the cable ribs with the collar ribs, within reason. Here's the back neck of my cardigan showing a couple of the body ribs carrying forward into the collar.

You can see why I didn't cast off the back neck stitches. Indeed, in the "pickup" round, I purled some of the stitches instead of knitting them to keep them in pattern as they transitioned into the neck ribbing.

3. Knit the button border before the buttonhole border. Then mark, in purled sections, where you want the buttons to go. Finally, knit the buttonhole border to match. 

4. I use a buttonhole of my own invention for this task. On a sample of 6 stitches, here's how to work it:

Row 1: k2, p2, k2.

Row 2: p2, k2, p2. 

Row 3 (buttonhole row #1): k1, SSK, YO, k2tog, k1. Yes, that's right, now there are only 5 sts.

Row 4: (buttonhole row #2): p2, (k1, p1 into the YO), p2.

Row 5: k2, p2, k2. 

Note: I use this buttonhole in k2, p2 ribbing in WORSTED OR ARAN WEIGHT yarn because it accomodates a 7/8" or 1" button. In chunky yarn I generally just use a standard eyelet (YO) buttonhole. See my Willingdon cardigan as an example. 

In my last post, I neglected to show a photo of how the shoulders came together after the 3-needle BO. Here's how that looks. See how the columns of twisted knit stitches come together perfectly?

 Unfortunately, the gull stitch cables didn't fare as well. Apparently I mis-cabled (is that a word?) on the front side. Ah well, to err is human as they say!

And here's the cardigan with the borders completed. I have the buttons all ready to sew on whenever I'm in the mood.

The cardigan does not flare out at the lower edge as this photo suggests; that's just the angle of the camera creating that illusion. 

Next time -- sleeves.

P.S. I chose the lighter coloured buttons and buckles for the Ophelia Overalls. It's true that even though the base colour is navy, the yarn dyed effect results in a pale grey. All done!

Part 13 is here.