Learn something new: The Brioche Stitch

Brioche Hat, included in Brioche Knitting Basics with Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, a Knitting Daily DVD Workshop

The world of knitting never ceases to amaze me with its wealth of options—the yarn choices, needle choices, stitch choices, and pattern choices are endless!

Brioche stitch is one of those choices, and it's a great technique, too, producing a lofty, warm fabric that's really cozy. Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark is a brioche stitch expert and she's filmed a Knitting Daily DVD Workshop called Brioche Knitting Basics. Her hat design is pictured at left; super cute, right?

Several years ago I took a day-long workshop in brioche stitch. We started the day with coffee and brioche, naturally!

Brioche stitch hat and neckwarmer

We worked on two projects, a hat and a neckwarmer, pictured at right.

What I learned was that although the brioche stitch looks like ribbing, it's a stitch pattern that's really a knit stitch paired with a slip stitch/yarnover combo. Once you get the hang of it, brioche is a lot of fun!

Here's how the brioche stitch works:

Sl 1 yo: Bring working yarn to front under the needle, slip 1 stitch, bring working yarn over top of needle to the back (Figure 1). This produces a yarnover that crosses over the slipped stitch. This combined slipped stitch/yarnover is counted as a single stitch. (Some books will describe this as a two-step process: "yo, sl 1" or "sl 1, yo.") Remember: When you are working (sl 1 yo), the yarn must begin in front of the work.

Brk1: Knit the stitch that was slipped in the previous row together with its yarnover (Figure 2). Because the yarnover wasn't counted as a separate stitch on the previous row, no real decrease is made.

To begin, loosely cast on an uneven number of stitches. The instructions here include a selvedge stitch at each edge, which gives the piece a finished look and greatly facilitates seaming.

Set-up row: Sl 1 knitwise with yarn in back (wyb; selvedge st), *sl 1 yo, k1; rep from * (last st is a selvedge st).
Row 1: Sl 1 knitwise wyb, *brk1 (slipped st and yo of previous row), sl 1 yo; rep from * to last 2 sts, brk1, k1.
Row 2: Sl 1 knitwise wyb, *sl 1 yo, brk1; rep from * to last 2 sts, sl 1 yo, k1.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for pattern.

The key to brioche stitch is the slipped stitch-yarnover unit. On one row, the yarn is brought to the front of the work as a stitch is slipped to the right needle, called "sl 1 yo" (Figure 1). On the following row, the slipped stitch is worked together with the yarnover, called "brk1" (Figure 2). (Instructions by Nancy Marchant, from Knitting Brioche)

I really, really loved knitting two-color brioche, as shown in my brioche hat; the colors work together in such a unique way. Here's what Mercedes has to say about two-color brioche stitch:

"Two-color brioche rib creates the look of knit and purl columns, but the structure of the fabric is actually quite different from k1, p1 rib. The one way in which the two ribs are similar, however, is the way the "knit" columns project and the "purl" columns recede. Working with two colors, one for the knits and one for the purls, makes one color recede and one stand out, becoming the dominant color in the garment. However, if you look at the wrong side of the knitting, you'll see the opposite is true—the contrast "purl" color becomes dominant. Understanding this relationship, you can choose a solid as the main color for a subtle look or a variegated yarn for a much more vibrant one."

That's my favorite part—choosing colors! If you're knitting a hat or scarf, you can choose one color that matches your coat and another that contrasts and brings a pop of color. The eggplant in the hat matches my coat and the green just makes me happy.

Here's Mercedes to tell you more about her DVD workshop, which includes two-color brioche!

I encourage you to try brioche stitch with Mercedes. Order your copy of Knitting Daily Workshop: Brioche Knitting Basics with Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark now, or if you just can't wait, download the workshop instantly!


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