Once my electricity was restored, I could go back to nightly knitting, and I finished the front buttonbands:
This took two tries. Although I altered the gauge for the entrelac, I decided to select needles that would give me the seed-stitch gauge in the pattern. Here I had to use US 3 and US 1 instead of 8 and 5! I really would like to see someone get 5 stitches per inch on US 5s using this yarn.
On the first try, I used some of the yellow and bright red for the band, and to get the same number of stitches in the pattern I had to knit 8 stitches into the bottom band. The buttonband looked so striking with those bright colors that it detracted from the entrelac fabric. Also the 8 stitches at the bottom caused it to flare out a little.
I then tried the second band (with the buttonholes) using the brighter red as the dominant color and reducing the number of stitches picked up along the front. The pattern also calls for binding off 3 stitches for the buttonhole. This didn’t work out either. The band was too small, pulling the front. The buttonholes were too big. They’d require 1-inch buttons, and those would extend beyond the band. They were also spaced too far apart to really keep the sweater closed without gapping.
So I made these changes. I selected some of the more subtle hues in the yarn (the dull red, dark green, and brown) for both bands. I picked up the same number of stitches, but I distributed them more evenly so the bands wouldn’t buckle. And I made 9 buttonholes that have only 2 bound-off stitches.
I am really pleased with this result because there is enough uniformity in the front buttonbands so that both sides look similar, they do not pull, and the colors don’t cause your eye to go from the entrelac to the front closure.
I’m still not completely happy with the buttonholes, though. I might try to do a buttonhole stitch around them to make them secure and stable. I signed up for a class at Stitches East that is about buttonholes, and I may postpone this bit of finishing until I have learned all there is to know about button closures. I think it is going to be too warm to wear this sweater for a while (we’re flirting with 80° weather this week, and I think it will start to stay), so it seems ok to do that.
I’ll be leaving for my day in NYC shortly, and I will go to Tender Buttons. I want very subtle buttons that blend in with the bands. Tune in tomorrow for my choice.
[A note about the colors. In the photo, the reds appear true, but the bright green is far too vibrant. I've photographed this varying the light and settings, and I can never get the green to look true. I'd welcome any hints from more experienced digital photographers.]