Alcea Buttons

Do you have trouble deciding on buttons for a particular sweater? I do. One day while down in Burlington, I visited a quilting store and they had a great selection of buttons. I saw these buttons that I thought would be perfect for Alcea. Not having the sweater with me, it was just a guess, but I was so sure that I bought 4 cards of them -- that's 12 buttons! (You have to have enough right?)

Well, sure enough, when I got home and put them on the body of my Alcea, they were perfect (in my eyes).

One thing I hadn't thought of.....they had 4 holes to sew them on with -- they didn't have a shank. Usually with the corrugated rib I like a shank button so that it sits up and through the corrugated ribbing, not disturbing the ribbing much.

As these PERFECT buttons didn't have a shank, I recalled something that my Mom once showed me to do -- off to get some toothpicks!

Yes, toothpicks.

I use a strand of Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift in my needle to sew on buttons -- you've marked your button placement already ok? -- so where you want a button up through the rib, through the button hole, down the opposite hole and right through the band. Leave a good tail on your yarn. Before you go any farther, slide a toothpick under the button -- push it through so that the larger end is near the button holes. Leave it there and continue to sew on your buttons.

As these buttons have 4 holes -- I go up and down through each "pair" twice -- now you have both the start and end of your sewing yarn at the back of the rib -- tie a knot! Trim the ends, leaving about 1/2 inch tails. Remove your toothpick.

Continue for all of your buttons.

I placed the buttons on the Alcea band in relation to the centre of the pattern repeats - I learned this from Lorraine -- she did it on her Saga Rose and although sometimes it means that you may have a slightly different spacing for the top button, and the buttons on your rib -- sometimes it works out quite well. Because of the large overall repeats of Alcea, and the neckline placement and the deep bottom rib -- it worked out well and I really like it.

Last trick for your buttons -- on the back -- treat your knots with fraycheck -- you buy it in a fabric store -- it does just what it's called -- it checks fabric from fraying -- so I put a drop of it on the knot -- it hold the yarns from loosening, and secures your button.

So I've finished off the small neckline steeks, and I'm going to do my front button band steeks too -- with a little finishing on the band itself -- then I'm going to cut the armhole steeks, measure how long my sleeves need to be and figure out where to start!

Happy Knitting!


  1. Hi Anne -- How do you make neat buttonholes in corrugated rib, without floats of yarn getting in the way? Could you do a mini-blog-tutorial like you did for the buttons? (Great idea, by the way; I have flat buttons for Erin so I will use your toothpick method to sew them on!).

  2. Anne - what a great idea to use the pattern repeats to center the buttons. It's such a pain to calculate the space between them.


  3. Do you have excellent advice for how not to make your buttons/sweater 'gape'? If you have it already on your blog, where might I find your suggestions? Alcea is awesone!

  4. Anne- You see, you should always listen to your mother!
    Looks great Anne, and the buttons are perfect. It's getting to be more of a challenge finding the right buttons.

    Are you doing the "Happy Dance"?

  5. I told you I'd comment next time you posted I am!

    I will have to remember this post next time I knit something with buttons. I know I put them too close to the fabric on my Needful competiton sweater.

  6. Oh, they are perfect! Thanks for the tip, btw...

  7. perfect buttons make the sweater :-)

  8. ALCEA is simply stunning! Love the buttons and thanks for all the tips.

  9. Your Alcea is absolutely drool worthy! And, my grandmother did that trick. Didn't remember it until you demonstrated - and very thoroughly I might add. Yay You!

    Now, when do I get my Alcea - I do get one, right?

  10. Dear Anne:

    Alcea is beautiful. Great job of knitting. The buttons are simply perfect. I need buttons for Beadwork, but so seldom do buttons on any thing, preferring clasps, I don't know where to look.

    I haven't been by for a bit, but always thinking of my redheaded friend. (I have a ton of freckles, I hope I am not alone). The red hair is fading and I perk it up with a little rinse. Works for awhile.

    Anne, have you ever looked at Turoe and thought about Jamieson 2 ply for it?

    I love that sweater.

  11. Beautiful sweater, Anne! And thanks so much for the tips both on button placement, and the toothpick - whodathunkit?


Post a Comment

Got something to add? I love it when you join the conversation!

Popular Posts