This buttonhole is setup and then completed afterwards. It is a variation on the one where you use waste yarn to save some open stitches or cut the yarn to release the stitches and then pick them up and cast them off in a continuous circle. What I don't like about these methods is you end up with an awkward last loop and nowhere to go with it but to sew it down or messy ends at a point that is going to be subject to a lot of wear.
With this method will still need to cut the yarn, but the tails end up at the edge of the work.
You will need some waste yarn in a contrasting colour and a blunt sewing up needle.
- Knit up to where you want your buttonhole to be ending with a right side row.
- Knit in pattern to where the buttonhole starts. In my sample I had 16 stitches and my buttonhole is across the centre 6 stitches, and it has a 4 stitch seed stitch border, so I knitted in pattern for 5 stitches.
- Complete the row with the waste yarn.
- Cut the main yarn leaving a tail long enough to complete the row - about 4 times the distance you have to knit, plus a bit.
- Rejoin yarn and continue knitting over the waste yarn.
- Repeat steps 1-5 for each buttonhole.
- Carefully pick up just the stitches that will be part of the buttonhole from above and below the waste yarn onto needles in the directions shown in the next picture. For my 6 stitch example I have 6 stitches on the bottom and 7 on the top (to account for the half stitch offset you get when picking up stitches from the bottom)
- Remove the waste yarn just from those stitches.
- Starting with the stitches on the bottom needle, using another needle cast off the stitches by slipping the first 2 onto the other needle as if to purl and then passing the first over the second.
- With the sewing up needle (or a crochet hook if you have one handy) pull a loop of the long tail through the last of the bottom stitches and place it on the needle.
- With the long tail knit the first of the top stitches and pass the loop made in step 4 over it.
- Continue knitting and casting off the top stitches until one stitch remains.
- Pull the remaining long tail yarn through the last stitch from the bottom
- Thread the long tail onto the sewing up needle and pass it from front to back under the first stitch you cast off
- Then pass it back from top to bottom through the last stitch. Pull the tail right through and adjust both the loop through the first stitch and the last stitch so they match the gauge of the other stitches.
- With the long tail still on the sewing up needle from the back of the work exactly follow the path of the remaining waste yarn back to the edge of the row, being careful not to split any stitches, or the waste yarn.
- Finally remove the waste yarn.
- The ends of the long tail and the rejoin are hidden in the seam and can be sewn in in the usual way.
So there we are - a buttonhole with no awkward loops or messy ends to deal with!