Fifth time’s the charm?

I have finished my lovely Sparkling cardigan, except for weaving in the ends and sewing on the buttons.  I don’t have any modelled photos for you today, but I can tell you that it fits perfectly and is so comfortable.  I just love this one.


I had to re-do the front edging four (!) times, as follows:

1st attempt – picked up 307 stitches, US2 needle, buttonholes on row 5
2nd attempt – ripped back to row 2, buttonholes on row 3
3rd attempt – ripped back to row 1, changed to US3
4th attempt – ripped all the way back, picked up 371 stitches, US2

On the first attempt, I put the buttonholes on row 5 of the ribbing and this made the ribbed edge too wide; I wanted it narrow to match the ribbing at the sleeves.  Thus, the second attempt which merely ripped back to the beginning of Row 3 so that I could make the buttonholes on the correct row.  However, as I mentioned in a previous post, the edging was “bunched”, so I decided to rip back to the first row of edging and then change to a larger needle size (only because I was too lazy to pick up the stitches again).  This was a fail.  Thus, attempt 4, in which I ripped all the way back and re-picked up the stitches at a different rate, ending up with 64 more stitches on the needle, and then knitted the rib as intended with the smaller needle (US2).  So far, so good, one might think.

Imagine my surprise at discovering that I had knitted the buttonholes on the wrong side!  (I even knitted them on the wrong side FOUR TIMES)!  I spent a few days cogitating on this debacle and trying to convince myself that I didn’t care what side the buttons were on.

I finally decided to mention the problem to Doug, knowing that he would tell me how silly this was and that I should just sew on the buttons and wear the thing! But Doug said: “Oh no!  You put the buttonholes on the wrong side? How did you manage that?”  Epic fail.  If Doug thinks I should rip, when he is always in favor of not ripping, this is bad.

At just that point in the conversation, Emma calls, and I tell her that I have put the buttonholes on the wrong side.  And Emma says: “Do you mean to tell me that you care about some antiquated prescriptive clothing rules?  Do you mean to perpetuate non-essential gendering of clothing?”  Uh-oh.  EMMA, the queen of “rip it all out Mom” is telling me to let it be, while DOUG, “Mr. let it ride” is telling me to fix it.  Not only that, but I have strayed into political hot water.

We then have the following conversation:

Emma: “Historically, women’s shirts have the buttons on the wrong side, because it was assumed that women would not be dressing themselves.  And that doesn’t mean a man, but rather that a maid would be un-dressing her. It was a class thing.”

Kelly (doggedly sticking to her dilemma): “So, does that mean that you think I should re-do it?”

Doug: “No, that means that you should get a maid.”

Argh!  I’m left-handed anyway!  If things made sense, the buttons would alternate sides depending on handedness and not gender.

What do you think?  Fifth’s time the charm?


28 thoughts on “Fifth time’s the charm?

  1. At least if you do rip back you’re only going to have to go back to row 2, you’ve got the right number picked up now, right?

  2. Unless it’s harder for a left handed person to button this way, I would leave it. And if it’s easier for you to button, then you just customized it for your ease.

  3. I would ask you this. Will it forever annoy you to have the buttons on the “wrong” side? Because politics, tradition, and just being done with it don’t matter in the long run. You being comfortable in your beautiful new sweater is all that matters.

  4. Voting to keep the buttons ‘as is’. How often will you button every button and even if you do, how could it matter what side the buttons are on? The sweater fits perfectly and is beautiful so go ahead, enjoy and wear it and move onto the next lovely project! IMHO!

    • Hi Karen, thanks for commenting. The truth is that I will likely wear it unbuttoned most of the time. I think it just bothered my inner perfectionist. Which maybe is a good thing. If only I could get my inner perfectionist to care about housework.

  5. Wait–what is all this about women being dressed by maids? Who dresses the maids? I thought it was that men/boys were usually dressed by their wives/mothers, and fastening was easier if the buttons were on the left side of the shirt (eg the right hand side for the wife/mother). I guess this means wives and mothers are maids….it’s so confusing! I want to be sure I understand the cultural and historical significance of button placement!

    Regarding the sweater–it is lovely, and I concur that is does not matter which side the buttonholes are on. You have only yourself to please, so do whatever is best and most convenient for you (if it were my sweater, what was best and most convenient would just happen to coincide with the way it is right now.)

  6. My dear, this is entirely up to you! You’ve redone this four times already, you deserve the medal of endurance for this project. If you still have the stamina to redo your buttonholes and want to, go for it. If not, just imagine you knit a lovely man’s cardigan that you decided to wear. And it is really lovely.

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