A Brioche Crochet Cable? It Can Be Done!

Juliette Bezold is a wizard in crochet and she has developed a new technique for making cables. This technique resembles brioche knitting, BUT it’s crochet. This article originally appeared in Interweave Crochet Fall 2016. For more techniques on crochet cables check out Interweave Crochet Fall 2017.

Brioche-Inspired Cables, Featuring the Obion Scarf

Intrigued by the positive/negative patterns of brioche knitting, I sought out a way to create this fascinating texture using crochet stitches. My version of this method is accomplished using only single crochet, both foundation single crochet and back bar single crochet, which are combined in unusual ways. This technique is featured in the Obion Scarf, a two-color reversible cable-look scarf.

When working this technique, it can be challenging to locate the right place to place your hook. Let’s explore this technique in detail using some up-close photographs.

Foundation single crochet (fsc) instructions can be found in the Glossary; back bar single crochet (bbsc) are explained below. To work into the back bar, I recommend using a hook with a sharp, pointed head. While working, keep your tension fairly loose.

The scarf begins with a row of fsc, in multiples of 10 + 4. To practice the pattern, I suggest seven repeats (74 fsc). If you work this “swatch,” you will then have an ear-warmer to coordinate with your scarf.

The first row of bbsc is worked into the fsc. The back bar on fsc looks a bit different from the back bar on a standard sc; on the fsc it lies more diagonally and to the right under the top loop. Photo 1 shows fsc, with the front (RS) at the bottom of the image, and the reverse side (WS) on top. The red stylus is pointing to the back bar.

In the scarf, the colors change every row. The resulting ends will be incorporated into the fringe. In addition, to create clean edges, the first stitch of every row is worked as a “standing stitch” in which you form the first stitch of the row without a slip knot join and chain at the base of the stitch. To do this, hold the yarn end against the hook, and then yarn over in midair. Insert the hook into the back bar on the first stitch and complete the stitch as usual (a tutorial for standing stitches can be found in Interweave Crochet Fall 2013, p. 13). Photo 2 shows the first row of bbsc being worked into the fsc row, including the standing stitch at the beginning.

brioche crochet cable

Complete the current bbsc row, turn your work.
*Join next color with standing stitch in back bar of first stitch. Work bbsc across.

Fasten off and turn at the end of the row. Repeat from* two more times.

Start the left twist cable. The horizontal cables are worked in two sections: the first section creates a series of arches, making large holes in the work; the second section is worked through these arches. The first cable row begins with three bbsc, but then you will work fsc in the middle of the row. To begin the fsc, insert your hook into the same loop as the bbsc you just finished (indicated in Photo 3 with the red stylus).

brioche crochet cable

Then finish the fsc as usual (Photo 4). Work nine more fsc, then skip six stitches before working four bbsc; an arch of fsc is formed (Photo 5).

brioche crochet cableWhen working the next row of bbsc, you will work into both bbsc and fsc. At the transition from bbsc to fsc, be sure to catch the back bar of the first fsc—indicated in Photo 6 by the red stylus. At the end of this row, check your stitch counts; you should have a multiple of 14 + 4. Work two more rows of bbsc, and the first cable section is complete (Photo 7).

brioche crochet cable

For the second cable section (Rows 5-8), you will work bbsc and fsc in combination as at the start of the first section, but you will work them through the arches you created. As you do this, your working yarn will pass through the arches and seem to be trapped, but when the yarn is cut at the row’s end, it can be pulled free.
Begin by working three bbsc, followed by three fsc. Then hold these fsc in front of the work and work the next bbsc in the six stitches skipped in the first row of the first section (indicated by the red stylus in Photo 8).

brioche crochet cable

Work another three fsc, and remove your hook from the work; hold the active loop (or insert a locking stitch marker) so your work doesn’t ravel.
Carefully push the three fsc through the hole to the back of the work, ensuring that the working yarn passes to the right of the fsc (Photo 9). (If it gets caught to the left of your fsc, you can still work, but it is more difficult to pull your working yarn through as the row progresses.)

Reinsert your hook into the active stitch, skip the next twelve stitches across the peak of cable row 4, and bbsc in the next two stitches. As you repeat this across, your working yarn will loop around and through the holes, following the path of the cable (Photo 10).

Follow the same procedure for the next three bbsc rows, removing your hook from the work at the bottom of each arch, pushing the active stitch through, and continuing up behind the work (Photo 11).

The left twist horizontal cable rows are now complete. You then work across the tops of the peaks from cable rows 4 and 8.
Begin by working four bbsc in cable row 8 (Photo 12).

Next, look behind the work to cable row 4, and count the three stitches to skip. Bbsc across the top of the peak of row 4 (Photo 13).

Next, look back to row 8 and count ten stitches to skip, beginning where you left off after the first four bbsc, counting through the arch to the peak of row 8—the red stylus in Photo 14 indicates the next stitch to be worked. Continue across, working in the alternating peaks of rows 4 and 8.

The following rows are easier; work plain rows of bbsc according to the pattern. To finish off the last row to match the first fsc row, slip stitch in the back bar of each stitch across. If you wish to turn your sample into an ear-warmer, weave in all the ends, and sew the short ends together.

Now you are ready to put your new skills to work on the Obion Scarf! When you reach the right twist cable, the method is almost the same as for the left twist: cable rows 1–4 are identical. At cable row 5 you hold the first three fsc behind the work when working in the skipped stitches, then push the working yarn from back to front through the arch; the next rows follow this path, also pushing through the arch from back to front.

Part of the fun of making the scarf is choosing your colors. The color runs of Reggae Ombre are just the right length to weave in and out of the cables, creating almost an optical illusion as they play against the solid coordinate. The felted nature of this yarn makes it quite smooth, which helps when working the bbsc. If you want more of a classic brioche look, two solids are also quite striking. Remember if you use a long-color-change or gradient yarn, cut your extra fringe strands as you work to maintain the color sequence, as outlined in the pattern.

Juliette Bezold’s crochet design focus is on wearables with a technical interest.

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