I cannot believe it's done!
So here's the synopsis of what I did to lay this project to rest.
Originally, I had wanted to knit an attached i-cord up each steeked side, or crochet on a button band. I was concerned about how I would hide the steeked edge, because I wanted it enclosed in something, as well as accommodate the width of my clasps. I didn't want to end up with a super-fat i-cord, but with something flat instead. All that to say, I knew what I wanted, I just wasn't sure how to go about doing it.
In a stroke of genius, I found inspiration in one of my favorite knitting reference books, the Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss. I crocheted a slip-stitch chain up the front of each steek, between 2 rows, picking up one chain for each row of knitting. I ended up with 127 stitches on each side, which is important, because the bands need to meet up at the top and the bottom for symmetry, right? It helps if you pay close attention to where you start and finish. Just sayin'.
The purpose of the crocheted slip-stitch chain was to give me a nice, straight edge from which to pick up the stitches to knit the button band. My sweater was knit with a 5mm needle, but I knit the button band with a 4mm needle, which gave me perfect tension. (Individual results may vary, well, because that's what individual results do).
My first attempt was knit with a 5 mm needle, reasoning that's what I knit the sweater with, but the button band ended up a bit floppy, so I frogged it and started over with a smaller needle. When I went down to a 4mm needle size, the result was right - not too tight, and not too big.
But back to the crocheted slip-stitch chain, where I picked up one knit stitch per crocheted slip-stitch:
I tailored the width of the button band to the metal clasps I found at Fabricville. They had a huge selection, and I had a hard time choosing the perfect clasp, but I think I got it right:
Once the button band was cast-off, I tucked the edge over, and whip-stitched it to the reverse of my crocheted chain using blue sock yarn. Sewing up items with Lopi isn't recommended; the more you pull Lopi through a seam, the weaker it gets. I used sock wool and it blended in nicely. Just remember to line everything up perfectly so there isn't any puckering. For the retentive among you, you might even want to baste with waste thread for added ease. For the reverse of every crocheted chain, I had a matching cast-off stitch I sewed in to.
My orange crocheted racing stripe was for looks only; it serves no purpose but to make me and the cat happy.
Next time, I'm putting BobCat in charge.