Button bands, button bands....

It can be scary to cut open the large front cardigan opening steek. When you cut it, your knitting loses stability, and those front edges seem to stretch! Not to worry.

Use a much smaller needle to do your front bands -- I knit the body on 3.25mm needles, and got 8 sts to the inch. The cardigan button bands I'm using a 2.5mm needle.

Knit up a stitch for every row. By knit up I mean -- designate the space between your steek edge stitch (which is in the background shade always which makes it a definite row that you can see) and the first stitch of the body -- you need to go down between these two stitches, wrap your yarn around the needle and pull a stitch up through your knitting.

You do this for each and every row.

I picked up 182 stitches on my front button bands -- I also count how many I did on each edge of existing ribbing (the bottom rib and the neckline rib) to make sure that I picked up the same amount on both sides -- the rest of the stitches being picked up on the body rows.

Because this is corrugated ribbing, being done on a smaller needle, it will pull in a bit on it's own -- but will easily block out. You actually want your front rib to look a little short -- because with blocking, it will be perfect and not "droop" when worn.

Here's a photo of the Alcea body -- the button side band is knit and I've picked up for the button hole band.
You can see that the side with the band on it is slightly shorter, and the side where I've picked up the stitches isn't.

Here's a closeup.

You can see how close the knitted up stitches are -- if you miss a row, it is obvious!

I've got the perfect buttons, so I'll sew them on, press Alcea to make it look really pretty, cut open my armhole steeks, and measure for the sleeves!

Happy Knitting!


  1. Anne- What does Meg Swansen call it? "Dreaded Frontal Droop".
    Sounds like a medical condition, doesn't it?

    I like the way the colors in the ribbing correspond to the sweater pattern.
    Fair Isle is pure magic.

  2. Hi Anne - Oh, those colours look gorgeous! I've added an Alcea yarn pack to my Christmas wish list already. By the way, I pick up the front band stitches on a cardigan before I cut that great long steek - much easier for me, as there is no danger of fraying whatsoever (either of knitting or of nerves). Can't wait to see the whole thing finished. I'm on the second sleeve of Erin...

  3. Anne - I had so much trouble when I did my PW sweater front bands. Even on smaller needles - they still pulled out at the ends. I ended up tacking them down and I crocheted around the edge. My sister suggested not picking up every stitch. I think - next time I will use a much smaller needle. Right off I don't recall how far I went down.

    Your sweater is fab!

  4. I agree with Lorraine - I love Fair Isle... *sigh*

    And I love Alcea, although I think I will stick to the pullover!

  5. Thank you so much for all the information, tips and pictures!
    Alcea as a cardigan is wonderful!

  6. It's really lovely Anne - you make it look so easy!

  7. The colours in Alcea are so pretty, I love the bits of rose and periwinkle, it makes it look so delicate and light.


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