Grafting Two-Color Brioche Using the Two-Pass Method
Few stitch patterns are as “cushy” as brioche, with its two interlocking layers of stitches. The double-layer ribbed fabric that brioche stitch produces is thicker and provides better insulation from the cold than plain k1, p1 ribbing. Thus, brioche is the perfect stitch pattern for cold-weather accessories such as hats, scarves, cowls, and mittens, particularly when combined with a medium- to chunky-weight wool.
The downside of the interwoven structure of brioche is that it’s impossible to seam horizontally using Kitchener stitch or even a knit/purl graft without leaving a visible, uneven line. Traditional grafting works best with a single layer of stitches and isn’t suited to the double layer of stitches in a brioche fabric.
To solve this problem, I came up with a grafting method specifically designed for brioche that involves grafting each layer separately using a different strand of yarn. I call this the “two-pass” method. The method works with either one-color or two-color brioche. In this cowl pattern, I’ll show you how to graft the Unified Field Cowl using two colors.
You will find the pattern for the Unified Field Cowl (including step-by-step grafting instructions) at the end of this post.
(Note that this grafting method only works when the last row of stitches is grafted to a provisional cast-on row. If you’re grafting the tops of two sets of stitches together, there is no way to avoid a half-stitch jog in the pattern.)
In Illustration 1, the stitches are in position for grafting, with the stitches worked at the end of the cowl directly under the stitches worked at the beginning. The light-color knit ribs on each piece should be perfectly aligned. The grafted stitches will join the stitches from Rows 1A (light color) and 1B (dark color) on the lower piece to the provisional cast-on row (light color) and the set-up row (dark color) on the upper piece.
On the first pass, the purl stitches and yarnovers are grafted using the dark yarn from the set-up row (Illustration 2). (The illustration shows the tops of the purl stitches in front of the yarnovers from the cast-on row, but they will slip naturally into place under the yarnovers.)
On the second pass, the knit stitches and yarnovers will be grafted using the light color from the last Row 1A (Illustration 3).
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when grafting the cowl:
- The provisional cast-on stitches remain secured on the waste yarn chain until all the stitches have been grafted. Then, the chain is removed. The live stitches on the last row (Row 1A and 1B) are secured on a strand of waste yarn that will be removed as the second pass is worked.
- The two-color brioche pattern includes a slip-stitch selvedge worked with the light color on each side. These selvedge stitches must be maintained during grafting.
- Because there are yarnovers on every row of the brioche pattern, yarnovers must also be worked on the provisional cast-on row.
- The cowl pattern includes a practice swatch so you can familiarize yourself with the grafting process before trying it on your project.
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