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 sewing button bands on vs. picking up stiches

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Schleppenheimer Posted - 04/20/2009 : 09:15:54 AM
Which do you prefer to do?

Knitting button bands, then sewing them to the cardigan,


picking up stitches for the button band directly from the cardigan?

What are the benefits of either method?

20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Wen Posted - 05/02/2009 : 4:08:08 PM
It depends on the design - if I want a vertical band I sew on, if I want a horizontal band I pick up. Preference is for pick up simply because it is more difficult to get the band the exact length with sewn on. I generally knit 90% of it, sew it on then knit the last bit so it lines up. That can get fiddly.

The down side of picked up is the cast off, I hate casting off huge numbers of stitches and it has to be very loose especially if on a curve.

Wen FO 2009
Gibson Girl Posted - 04/29/2009 : 10:58:40 AM
I've never liked the look of heavier button bands on my sweaters so I usually just add a few stitches on to the fronts and knit them in seed, garter, etc. It seems I hardly ever button sweaters anyway. (I live in AZ and work mostly in cotton or very light weight wools.)When I knit for my grandchildren who live in colder climates I do make sturdier bands and prefer, like most of you, to pick up stitches.
cpknits Posted - 04/24/2009 : 5:40:08 PM
I knit on a band, both sides, from the bottom up for one of DH's Lopi sweater. After the initial bottom ribbing was done, six stitches, on both front pieces were left on yarn, hanging, to be picked up later. When the fronts were done, the six stitches were put on a needle and I knit in stockinette going up toward the collar. As I went, I would knit the first/last stitch (depending upon which front side I was working on) to the stitch on the left/right front by picking up the stitch on the body and knitting the two together. The pattern was written this way (best of lopi book) and I really liked the way it looked on the LYS model. I'm sure there is a better way of describing it. I think my buttonholes were also vertical, I'd have to pull the sweater out of wherever DH has stuffed it in his closet.

Carol, Wisconsin
CraftyGal Posted - 04/23/2009 : 12:24:08 PM
If I am working a cardigan from an older pattern, which has a separate button band, I will do one of two things, pick up stitches and knit the band on, this means vertical button holes, or I will look at how many rows there are in the band and cast on the corresponding stitches and have extra stitches done in garter or rib stitch. I hate sewing seams and will do just about anything to avoid seaming if at all possible.

If I am doing the method where I have casted on stitches, all decreases/increases are done on the stitche before the estrea stitches that I casted on. So the use of a stitch marker is a good idea.

Cora, in Canada
Collier Posted - 04/23/2009 : 11:19:51 AM
I,too, prefer to pick up and knit stitches for neck bands and button bands. To be honest I've never sewed on button bands, but along with other comments here on the forum, it seems a bit dicey to have to knit something else and worry about length and fit. Plus, I'm not a seamstress and have minimal (if any) sewing skills. I will say that Margret Fisher's book "7 Things that Make or Break a Sweater" (reviewed by Knitter's Review) is a very helpful book. I knit up the baby sweater pattern/tutorial from the book, just so I could practice picking up stitches for button band and collar bands, and it was a very worthwhile exercise. I have a lot more confidence now when I work on my adult-sized cardigan.
lucysandy Posted - 04/23/2009 : 08:56:03 AM
How do you knit in a band right into the fronts? Does this only work if you don't have a collar? Posted - 04/23/2009 : 08:47:57 AM
I don't much care for making button holes. This is my problem. Last cardi I made, I left them out completely on the knit in button bands that I included as I knit the fronts. When I finished, it was apparent that the sweater would not close over my ample figure anyway so I crocheted the button bands to add extra width.

Sew on or knit on just never looks finished properly for me. Next time, I plan to knit the band in with the fronts and include button holes. I think my problem is I can't ever remember which side they go on and I am too lazy to get up and look at a finished sweater to find out. Oh well. I guess that puts me in the category as a lazy knitter. After all, isn't knitting supposed to relax you?
dms-r1951 Posted - 04/23/2009 : 08:31:39 AM
I much prefer to pick up and knit! Finishing, honestly, is not my favorite part of knitting, but I know it's necessary. It's also more a part of the knitting to me if I pick them up. . . and I think the finished product looks better that way.

sockjoan Posted - 04/23/2009 : 05:00:49 AM
I prefer pick-up-&-knit. I seldom work bands along with body, as the bands require a smaller needle. And I don't like sewing them on, as it's difficult to get the sewing sufficiently elastic.
eldergirl Posted - 04/21/2009 : 4:44:32 PM
OK, going to get subtle here: (my dressmaker background):
Sewing introduces a tighter finish to the edge, and is less preferable to work the edge than picking up and knitting.
But it is all so "iffy".
I prefer to knit the edge on the garment in the first place, or plan my garment edges before I start, with the hope that I can crochet a button band/neck edge. It is much easier to experiment with tightness of stitch and length of band, and you only have to rip out a bit and try again before you get it right. Crochet is firmer and yet still giving enough for knitted garments, and I like the look. Button holes are a snap, and crochet is capable of pretty edges just like knitting.
But with regard to the original queston, I would rather pick up and knit rather than sew.
Good question!
cam90066 Posted - 04/21/2009 : 4:20:23 PM
Despite having no aversion to seaming (where I have matching side seams, etc) I don't much care for doing front bands as getting the tension right (and the look of the WS) never goes as well as I'd like. (I also don't like knitting up the small band.) MUCH prefer to PU and K (which I've done twice in just the last cardi, one vest). Something challenging, yet satisfying, about achieving just the right number of sts and watching the pattern (be it seed, rib, or ???) unfold.
2totangle Posted - 04/21/2009 : 10:21:26 AM
Pick up and knit. In all honesty, it's mostly a process issue for me. I don't like sewing knit pieces all that much, it's harder to get a neat look, and I feel like there's more guesswork involved in getting the band length and ease right if you sew on the bands. The downside is that picking up and knitting usually means vertical buttonholes, which some people don't like as much.


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Solaris Posted - 04/21/2009 : 09:43:26 AM
Pick up and knit - it looks more tidy and polished IMHO.

Lets be kind to one another.
My blog:
cpknits Posted - 04/21/2009 : 09:36:52 AM
I've done both. I like to "knit on" the band, it creates, I think, a dressier looking band. It's all personal preference.

Carol, Wisconsin
Kathleen-NYC Posted - 04/21/2009 : 07:53:40 AM
For me - it depends on the the design/style of the individual item. Sewn-on works for some items - pickup and knit looks better on others. I recently finished a jacket that was knit from cuff-to-cuff in a zig-zag stitch. The pickup and knit band works really well on that. A sewn on band would not have looked "right" to me.
lella Posted - 04/20/2009 : 11:30:55 PM
I like the look of the picked stitches around a small neck opening, like a v neck, a collar, or turtle neck, the finish looks much better. I'm NOT a fan of picking a bazzillion stitches for a band, though, and will do a lot to avoid it, like knit one and then sew it on.

My Blog @ Zippiknits
Knitting@ Flicker
Eleanor Posted - 04/20/2009 : 2:05:53 PM
I don't really like either one, but I'd rather pick up the sts for the bands.
GFTC Posted - 04/20/2009 : 1:10:45 PM
Pick up and knit. I like the look of the knitting on the band being perpendicular to the sweater and I don't like sewing knitted pieces.

my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
azblueskies Posted - 04/20/2009 : 12:03:47 PM
I prefer making them part as the front, too. Come to think of it, that's the only way I've made them.

So much to learn, so little time.
jtamsn Posted - 04/20/2009 : 11:06:47 AM
Given those choices, I'd rather pick up and knit, what I really prefer is to make the button band as part of the fronts (one piece). I just dont like sewing on button bands, just doesnt look right to me. I think it's really personal preference.

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