Sweater Help

Ok, I found this great pattern for a sweater for my mom. I did change a few things though. The whole sweater is done in stockinette stitch. I did, however, add a cable along each side of the button band. 5 pearl rows, 10 cable rows, and 5 pearl rows. I am using a mattress stitch, but now can’t get the button band to lay flat. If it continues to hang the way it does, the buttons will be turned so you have to close the band to get to the buttons (or holes) I have not finished the band in case I need to unsew it. Any suggestion on a different stitch? or a way to get the band to lay flat with the rest of the sweater???

Another problem that I appear to be having is with the sleeves. I have decided to have the cable pattern on the center of the sleeve as well. I am working the sleeves on a circular needle so I don’t have a seam. The way the needles are set up is one needle has the pattern, the other has a stockinette stitch (can’t cable to well between needles) The stockinette side appears to be growing longer quicker than the cable side. I’ve only done about 20 rounds of knitting, and when trying it on it appears the back of the sleeve is longer than the front. Is this an illusion? Is this caused by the cable? Would it be easier to make the sleeves on a straight needle to prevent this? Or maybe this won’t be a problem in the long run?

I don’t really want to do too much more because I’m afraid I may have to tear it all out. Please help.

Was the buttonband done separately and seamed, or worked as part of the body?

When you say

5 pearl rows, 10 cable rows, and 5 pearl rows

do you mean 5 purl sts, 10 stitch cable (5/5) and 5 purl sts? (Rows are horizontal.) Thus, a vertical band of 5/5 cable with 5 purls on either side?


Ok the button band was knitted separately per instructions. They say to knit the ribbing along the bottom of the sweater, then hold 4 sts to make button band. Then for the “finishing” instructions I knit the band until it is the same length as the sweater and sew it to the front.

Sorry, must of typed wrong. Yes. the cable is 5 pearl sts, 10 cable sts, and 5 pearl sts. They are actually part of the front of the sweater and have nothing to do with the button band other than the fact I am sewing a pearl st to a knit st for the seam. It took a few tries, but it actually looks nice. Just can’t get it to lay flat.

I have had that problem with edgings, too, where they want to flip/fold over. Have you tried blocking it to see if it will lay flat?

Maybe sewing a ribbon backing that goes beyond where it folds would help? I’ve never done it, but have heard of it.

I’ve tried the grosgrain ribbon backing before…didn’t help much. Agree that blocking may help. Did you add a selvage st to the band and/or body for seaming? If not, it could be pulling. (Just speculating.) When knit separately and attached, usually the pattern will recommend the band be pulled slightly…vertically…which creates a bit of tension. Did you do that?

I designed a sweater for my father wherein I did a band of cables, etc on the front but it was wider and more intricate than yours…and I also did the detached button band… and I didn’t experience any pull so not sure what’s at play here. Could you post a pic?


It sounds like your sleeve cable (maybe also the front one, but not sure cause don’t understand the whole thing…) is pulling. Which is logical i guess seeing you’re twisting those stitches, and not the others.
I was told just the other day of a way to avoid this by making more rows of cable than background. Instead of simply putting on hold your cable stitches on the CN, you stitch them onto it. This way you make an extra row. But you can also knit another two or even four rows on it before making the actual cable (depending on how bulky your yarn is). And i presume you would do the same with the other set of cable stitches ie: 5x5. I haven’t actually tried this technique, apparently it’s something they do with machine knitting, but it should also work with hand knitting.
Good luck to you

This is a picture of the front of the sweater. I managed to get the button band to lay flat because it was sticking to the carpet.
I’m not sure I understand blocking. Would be willing to try it, but how do you do it?

To sew the button band on, I first laid it out flat and pinned it to the front, then I discovered that every few rows I would get a pucker on the sweater side, so instead of sewing every row on the sweater side, I would skip a row every once in a while. This prevented the pucker and made sure everything lined up nice and straight.

Here are the sleeves (inside out they just kind of knitted up that way) I am knitting both at the same time using 2 circular needles. Not sure I understand how I would add more stitches to the cable other than to knit across them one way, then back to the beg and one more time so you end up with 2 extra rows of cables. (turning work before and after cable) The yarn I’m using is worsted weight Simply Soft yarn.

No I did not have a salvage stitch, not in the instructions, so I didn’t think of it. This is the first sweater I’ve ever knitted. I’m a beginner and have only done scarves, hats, and socks up until now.

Could you be going too far back into the work when you pick up the yarn for seaming? That seems like it would pull tighter and make a bigger lump and cause the band to fold in.

As for the sleeves, I pull my cables waaaayyy tighter than the plain sts, so that could be effecting the size. (Of course I gave up on trying to cable again, it always looks like a big mess)

The front band looks good in the pic (little concerned over the ‘lifted’ area in that it might indicate too much slack…bands need to be slightly tensioned). Also, attaching buttons…esp if you use backers…means adding weight to a band that will want to sag under the weight (if button combos aren’t really light) so another reason to have that tension. Finding the ‘rhythm’ of attaching band with smaller stitches just takes practice given there are diff number of rows.

What is the yarn fiber? If natural (wool, silk, cotton…or blend) blocking may do the trick. Will the sweater be worn buttoned? I’d also make sure to button it when blocking to remind those front bands how to ‘behave.’ :wink:



Have you tried attaching the band to the sweater with a different stitch other that mattress stitch? It seems to me that mattress stitch would encorage the right sides to come together rather than lay flat. Unfortunately, I don’t know another seam stitch to suggest that would look nice. I think a whip stitch would be ugly.

I could take the seam out and try to tighten the band, though I thought it was tight, never having done this before I could easily be wrong. I think the lump in the picture is just the band wanting to curl back. Buttons will be small rose buttons that you can attach to the front, there are no holes over or through the rose.

The yarn is 100% Acrylic.

I would like to try a different stitch, however, I don’t know any either. A friend suggested picking up one stitch every row and knit the buttonband to the front of the sweater. Of course this means somewhere I would have to k2tog or end up with a whole bunch of stitches on the needle. I think I will go knit a sample and see if that will work.

As for the cable, the one I did on straight needles turned out rather nice. I may just take the sleeves off the circular needles and knit them on straight ones. Or do away with the cables. Haven’t decided which yet.

Your band might be tight…meaning snug to the body from your seaming…but the ‘tension’ factor means the actual length of the band should be shorter than the front so that, once attached, it pulls up just a bit. If both are exactly the same length before joining, the band will flare or sag.

Sounds like your buttons are on the small side but you may still need to do backers to make them secure. Sometimes hard to attach buttons to knit fabric and oft times they’ll pull on the band if not supported from behind.

100% acrylic means no help from any blocking effort. :frowning:

The Big Book of Knitting has some insights on seaming detached bands. I believe it also has instructions on how to pick up and knit bands. If working band on smaller needles you’d not be able to simply work a row of band for each of body. You’d need to incorporate short rows to account for the difference in row gauge.