My relentlessly fiddly pursuit of the sexiest cardigan placket EVER had me researching buttonholes yesterday. I needed a small, but not-too-small one that looks tidy and holds firm. Montse Stanley to the rescue. And lest you think that I don't have any other knitting reference books, let me assure you that I do; I just usually start with this one, and it rarely lets me down. The buttonhole I found here is, in a word, Perfect. I can't believe I never bothered looking it up before, and I'm so excited about it I just had to show it to you.
Our beloved Montse has the eccentricity of speaking English, which, as we knitters sometimes discover, is not the same thing as speaking American. Case in point: On page 195 of my dog-eared copy, she entreats us to "K-b2tog". Which abbreviation eluded translation for me completely. I looked everywhere I could think for some explanation of that move, with no success (If you know what it means, please post a comment so I can sleep tonight). My best guess is that she's telling us to knit two together through the back loops, but I wouldn't bet my cashmere on it. I pressed on anyway, realizing that the working together of two stitches (through back loops or otherwise) wasn't really the salient point of the operation. Assuming that we're supposed to somehow turn two stitches into one, I followed the rest of the instructions, and Presto! Magnifico. With my apologies to Montse and all other speakers of English, Here are my translated instructions for the "Large Eyelet Buttonhole":
In this sample, I'm working in 1 x 1 rib, but this hole can be made in knitting of any pattern. The operation happens over the course of three rows, but don't let that make you nervous; it's supremely easy.
Step 1 (On the Right Side) is to work up to the place you'd like to make a buttonhole, and work two stitches together. In this case I worked an SSK, which caused a knit stitch to discretely cover its purl neighbor. Next you make a DOUBLE YO, which amounts to simply wrapping the working yarn around the right needle twice. Then you just finish the row as if nothing special were happening at all. Remember: you can work any sort of decrease you like the look of (or remember how to do), and you can make the double YO on either side of it. What matters is that you work two stitches together, and that the YO be doubled.
Step 2 happens on the Wrong Side. You just work in pattern right up to the double YO and do to it whatever you would have done if it were a normal stitch. In this case, it's a knit, so that's all I have to do. Even though there are two wraps around the needle, it's still only one stitch, as you'll discover as soon as you work it - the extra wrap just falls off the needle, making a larger-than-usual stitch:
Step 3 is done on the Right Side, and this is where all the magic happens. You know I'm a slave to sexy party tricks, and this one is a PIP!
You just work in pattern right up to that big ol' sloppy stitch (can't miss it: it's the ugly one that's making your gums bleed). Then you stick your needle through the hole and make the same stitch you would have if this were a normal row of knitting. In my case, a purl. Now take a deep breath and DROP the next stitch right off the needle. Continue on in pattern to the end of the row. The stitch you dropped is held in place by the one you worked THROUGH the hole. I know. I didn't believe it either, until I did it. Nine Times:
All that's left after those three steps is to finish the placket, or whatever, and congratulate yourself on your immaculate buttonhole execution. Neat as a pin, and twice as sharp. And you even stuck the landing.
Now go tell your friends. This one's too good not to share.