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The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging.

-Molly Ivins

I've always liked the look of crocheted trim and buttons on a sweater - traditional in a very charming sort of way, so it seemed like a pretty way to finish off my Kelmscott sweater.
Crocheted edges also add some firmness to an edge and help keep it from stretching out.

Still, I'm no expert when it comes to crochet, but that doesn't keep me from adding a little, bacause it's not all that difficult. For the rest of you non-crocheters, here's a little tutorial.

For a slip stitch (sl st) edge, start with a slip knot and place on hook.
Insert hook into a knitted stitch at the bottom of the right front edge.

I'm not sure if it's standard to insert into a whole stitch or into just the outside leg of a stitch, but I get the nicest looking edge by going into just one leg. One row will have a long easy leg, the next, a short bundled - and not so easy - leg.

As with knitting, a crochet stitch can be made by throwing or picking. Picking may be more efficient, but I'm a thrower. Wrap the yarn in front of the hook, pull the loop down through the knitted stitch then through the stitch on the hook.

For this sweater, I used a hook that's small for this weight of yarn, which makes it slow going, but does tighten up the edge nicely.

At the buttonhole marker, end the stretch of slip stitches with a short leg - it's firmer;
make a chain as follows: yo, hook the yarn, drawing it through the loop, repeat 7 times.

Reinsert into the next short leg, and resume slip stitch.

For button covers, start with a slip knot again; this counts as the first chain. Keep it loose - it'll need to be. Chain 3 more.
Connect the circle by slip stitching into that first chain.

Expand the circle by slip-stitching 3 more times into the same chain. Slip stitch 2 into each of the next 3 chains, slip stitch 2 into the next stitch. Continue increasing according to pattern instructions until there are 16 sts.
The crocheted disc should be nice and flat.

After slip stitching a full round and doing a few decreases ((skip 1 slip stitch 1) five times), insert button into cap. I used a flat button with holes big enough for my tapestry needle.

Once the button is inside, it's easier to hook the stitch from its top than its bottom.

Keep decreasing until there are 5 stitches left in the round. Cut yarn, pull through, and sew the button on, sewing it far enough from the edge to avoid gaping. Allow for a 3/4" to 1" overlap.

As you've come this far, the only thing left is to wear and enjoy!

sweater photograph by Caroline Bergeron, tutorial photographs by Robert Sunday