Lion Brand Notebook

Custom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along, Week 5: Working the Front Bands

Home/CommunityCustom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along, Week 5: Working the Front Bands

Custom Raglan Cardi Knit-Along, Week 5: Working the Front Bands

Knit-Along badgeToday I’m going to be talking about adding the front bands to your cardi and optional closures. The cardigan in the pattern is designed to be slightly open at the front, but I decided I’d like to have a closed front, which gives me an excuse to spend hours choosing just the right buttons! There are other ways as well to close your cardi — you could use a shawl pin, or if you have some basic sewing skills, sew in a zipper.

First of all, you’ll need to pick up the stitches down the edge of your left front. I decided to do the left front first, as the right front is where the buttonholes traditionally are on women’s garments. To pick up stitches for the left front, start at the neck of the garment and work down towards the hem. When you come to pick up stitches for the right front, you will start at the hem and work to the neck. With the right side facing, put your needle between the first two stitches at the edge of your cardi, so your needle goes through the fabric from front to back. Wind your yarn around the needle, the same way you would to knit a stitch. Now you can pull the loop that you just wound around the needle back through the fabric to the front. If you find it difficult to hook the loop through with a knitting needle, try using a crochet hook. Carry on in this manner until you have the required number of stitches on the needle.

Picking up stitches for button bands

If you made no changes to the length of the cardi, you can just pick up the amount of stitches specified in the pattern. But if like me, you made your sweater longer, you will need to calculate how many more stitches you will need. To work this out, I just did some very simple math. You’ll want to divide the total number of pick-up stitches for your size by the length of the garment in the pattern. For the smallest size, the pattern tells me to pick up 70 stitches, and I can see by looking at the schematic that the length of the front from the neck down to the hem is 13.5 inches.

70 stitches ÷ 13.5 inches = 5.1851 stitches per inch

So I round this down to 5 stitches per inch (alternately, you can do all your rounding at the end).

Now to find the total number of stitches I need to pick up, I need to multiply this stitches per inch measurement by my sweater’s actual length. I measure the actual length of my own sweater, which is 23 inches.

23 inches × 5 stitches per inch = 115 stitches

Because you’re working the bands in a pattern, keep in mind that you may need to adjust this number slightly. Since I’m doing the ribbed bands as in the pattern, I need to pick up a number that is a multiple of 4 plus 2. The closest number to this is 114, so that’s how many stitches I will pick up down both fronts of my sweater.

When the left band is completed, I like to use safety pins to mark where I will sew my buttons. This will help me place the buttonholes on the right band. The easiest way to make a buttonhole is to do a yarn over, which leaves a little hole in your fabric. It also increases a stitch, so you will need to follow your YO with a decrease to keep the correct number of stitches. To make my buttonholes, every time I come opposite one of my safety-pin markers, I will do a YO followed by a knit 2 together decrease.

Finished button bands

Next week, I’ll be talking about blocking your sweater, and the ways you can add embellishments to your design, even after the knitting is complete! See you then!

Related links:

Share this post


  • how many yarnovers do you need to make a buttonhole?  Does it depend on the size of the button you are going to use?

    •  Hi Luvali, the single-yarnover buttonhole will only work for a smallish-button (one that can get through that single yarnover. To make a larger buttonhole for a larger button, you will actually need to bind-off one or more stitches in that row (to leave the hole) and then work the stitches on the other side. Then in the next row, you would knit to the bound-off area, cast-on the same number of stitches as you bound-off in the previous row, and then continue to knit across the fabric. For more information about this, click here for an article from Hope that helps!

  • The RSS feed to this blog still is not working.

    •  Hi Patty, yes, we’re working hard to fix it, but it’s proving a little tricky. Sorry for the inconvenience!

      • Yea! It’s finally working today!

  • I would likje to do this sweater again for a person with VERY sensitive skin.  Can anyone tell me if the cotton/hemp yarn the pattern suggests is as soft as pure cotton?

    •  Hi Joyce, the Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp is soft and will soften significantly with washing, but if you’re looking for another extremely gentle option, consider our Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, which is the same weight and can be substituted into this pattern. Click on the link at the bottom of this blog post for the “Welcome…” blog post from our first week working on this pattern for more tips on substitution. Hope that helps!

  • I cannot get this lesson to print any help?

  •  Hi Reta, try highlight the text/photos you want to print (click with your mouse at the beginning and “drag” it across the article until you get to the end), then click on your file menu to bring up your print menu and select the option that says something like “only print selection.” Then click on the “okay” or enter button and see if that allows you to print it out. Hope that helps!

  •   Hi Reta, try highlight the text/photos you want to print (click with your mouse at the beginning and “drag” it across the article until you get to the end), then click on your file menu to bring up your print menu and select the option that says something like “only print selection.” Then click on the “okay” or enter button and see if that allows you to print it out. Hope that helps!

  • Hello!  I have been following the knit-a-long while completing the Weekend Cardi from Recycled Cotton-the tips are very helpful to me.  Today when I studied the front band photo, it looks like she picked up her stitches and then added one more row of vertical stitching, before starting the rib.  But I cannot tell for sure. I like the look and wondered if that was the procedure?  Thank you very much!

    •  Marijan, no she didn’t add a vertical row after picking up stitches horizontally.  That would be kinda impossible.

    •  Hi Marijan, Lauren’s not adding another vertical row–she is picking up her horizontal stitches one vertical row inwards (this is pretty standard when picking up stitches, as it gives you a neater edge than picking up right at the edge of the fabric). Hope that helps!

  • I’m just starting the cardi – how long will this knit along project be going?

    •  Hi Michelle, this Thursday’s blog post will be Lauren’s last one for this project, but as with all of our knit-alongs, the blog posts stay up, so that you can work at your own pace and refer back to them. Plus if you need more help as you’re working beyond the end of the knit-along, you can always email with pattern questions. Hope that helps!

    • Michelle dont worry about just starting. I have followed this since day one and I am still not done with my yoke. things just keep poping up !!! 

  • Lauren or Zontee,
    I would like to add buttons all the way down on my cardi.  I am not sure if I need to make the front bands wider (more than just the 8 rows that it calls for in pattern) to accomodate the the difference is my bust, waist, hip size.  Are you adding buttons all the way down?  Also, I tried to look up older posts (just in case someone else asked the question) and I am not able to.  Is there something wrong with the sight or just the user (me)?  Thanks.

    •  Hi mowelborn, I just saw Lauren’s cardi yesterday (you’ll see it in tomorrow’s post!) and she’s got buttons all the way down. She hasn’t made her bands wider (if you look at the above photos, you can see that there’s the pick up row, 8 worked rows, and then the bind-off), but you can choose to make them 10 rows instead of 8 if you want just a little bit more space because of the size of your buttons.

      In general, there shouldn’t be a need to make the button bands wider based on the sizing changes–but again, that’s the beauty of this type of sweater that you can keep trying on. Just in case, put your sweater on and see how wide the bands will need to be (keep in mind that with buttons, the bands will overlap, so if you see that you’ll need 2 inches of coverage, each band will need to be 2 inches). Hope that helps!

  • Hello, all!  I have just finished knitting the center bands, and  just love the way my cardi turned out! I added cables front and back, waist shaping, extended the length of the body, and made the sleeves elbow length. I so wish I were more computer savvy so I could show you a picture.  Just wanted to share that I tried putting an alternate edging for the bottom band, the feather and fan edging from the pattern library, but ended up ripping it out as even after blocking it twice it kept rolling up.  I now have just the standard rib edging, and am tickled with how the whole project turned out. Thanks, Laureen and Zontee!

    •  Thanks so much for sharing, Kathy!

      Here are two quick tips, if you want to add your photos:
      1. When you click in the box to comment here on the blog, you’ll see a “+ Image” button appear at the bottom of the box. You can click on it to browse your computer to find it and then click “open” to upload it to our blog.
      2. If you’ve already uploaded the picture to somewhere online (your Ravelry/Flickr/Facebook account or blog), right-click the image on that site (hold Ctrl and click on Macs) and choose the option that says “copy image location”. Then when you leave a comment for us, just right-click (or Ctrl+click) again and click on the “paste” option to share the location of the photo with us, so that we can see it. Hope that helps!

  • I’m usually a size medium,  but realized after trying the sweater on once I got to the armpit area, that the sweater was too small so I had to take the whole sweater out and reknit it in a large and it’s still a little tight.  I think the pattern ran small.  I’ll have to stretch it a bit when I block it.

  • Leave A Comment