Opinions About Anna Zilboorg's Perfect Buttonhole Technique?

I’m searching for a technique to use to create the buttonholes for my first-ever adult cardigan. During my search I’ve run across several references to “Anna Zilboorg’s The Perfect Buttonhole”. From the pictures I’ve seen, the buttonhole that results from this technique is a thing of beauty. Looks solid (like it will hold up over several years of use without stretching out) and, from what I’ve read, one of the benefits of this technique is that it creates a self-facing buttonhole band, which helps prevent the sagging that seems to be a problem over time with unfaced button bands. I purchased from Interweave the video of Anna teaching the technique and it is quite a complicated, somewhat more finicky technique than I’ve ever seen before but I think the results might be worth the “finicky factor”.

Has anyone here used this technique? Is it as complicated as it seems at first viewing? Is it easy to learn? Is the result worth the effort involved? Is it do-able when you are picking up stitches for the neckline and button band at the same time as the buttonhole band? Are there any things to be aware of before deciding to use this technique? Do you recommend/prefer a different buttonhole technique? If so, why?

Please share your buttonhole technique wisdom!

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I’ve never heard of it. I’ll have to look it up.

I wouldn’t mind trying it but I haven’t yet. I tend to use the one row buttonhole.

It looks like a nice buttonhole. I’m not sure about spending $5 just for a buttonhole though. I may see if it’s in a book somewhere.

I think it’s also in her book Knitting for Anarchists. I agree about $5 for a buttonhole, especially sight-unseen, but since I usually learn better from videos than pictures & text, I purchased the downloadable video from the Interweave site and used the coupon code WEAVE25 to get 25% off.

This site has a tutorial with pics that might be helpful. I think that using the video and the text and pics from this site, I might be able to master the technique in maybe a few years (LOL) but I have some questions that I need answers to before I can be sure I want to even try to learn it (I can be a slow learner especially with techniques I won’t use frequently). Questions like:

  1. Can it be used when the pattern requires you to pick up stitches up the right side, around the v-neck, down the left and back again? How would this work when the technique seems to require twice as many rows on the buttonhole-side in order to create the facing? Also, do you have a faced buttonhole band but leave the opposite side (with the buttons) unfaced? Wouldn’t it look and feel a little odd to have one side have double thickness and the other side not?

  2. Can it be used on ribbed (or other patterned) bands or just on stockinette bands?

  3. The video and the tutorial both specify a specific number of stitches to use for the buttonhole. Can the size be adjusted if you want to make a bigger buttonhole…one for those really large buttons that kids and older folks seem to find easier to manipulate…or would trying to enlarge the size have a negative impact on the quality of the buttonhole?

If you decide to give it a try, please let me know.

FYI: I don’t know anything about grafting (Kitchener stitch?) and that it used in the buttonhole technique, which means there is something else I’d need to learn before I can learn the buttonhole technique.

Thanks for the info. I’ll check the website and check for the book tomorrow.

Since I haven’t done it I don’t really know the answer to your questions. Kitchener isn’t difficult. I’ve used it many times, but not often enough to remember the set up. I have to look it up every time. I have the KH app so I can use it for stuff like that when I’m out as long as I remember my phone. :smile:

OK, this is all a bit of a guess since I haven’t worked these button holes myself.
It could be used for a band where you pick up around the entire opening but you’d have to be sure to work mitered corners at the top of the fronts and decrease so that the neck doesn’t stand up straight. I’d probably wind up working the button bands separately and then adding the collar. I’d face both button and buttonhole bands.
Seems like you could use it for ribbed bands although it might be simpler to work just the button hole portion in stockinette for the grafting.
It seems like the number of sts in the button hole can be increased at least until you start to lose the neat definition of the opening, say up to 6sts or so depending on the yarn weight…
Why not email Anna Zilboorg with these good questions?

I thought about that but I don’t think she keeps an internet presence. Her Ravelry profile is minimal at best. Also, it says “She is a relic of a bygone age and hence computer challenged and invisible on line” so I don’t think messaging her on Ravelry will get a response.

I used a YouTube video by Cheryl Brunette on a vest and she seems knowledgeable. You might want to Google her and ask on her website and maybe also on a buttonholes video :slight_smile: https://www.youtube.com/user/CherylBrunetteTV/search?query=buttonholes

Try this channel for Kitchener alternative. I used method to repair a sweater vest that had a hole where I joined yarn. :frowning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTDyTQo7-bM