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Brioche? Don't mind if I do!

Mar 5, 2014

Brioche stitch is one of those knitting stitches that seems so complicated that knitters don't attempt it. But it's really not so hard! Brioche simply pairs slipped stitches with yarnovers to create a lofty, warm fabric.

    
Brioche du Jour ribbed scarf
by Nancy Marchant, from Cozy Knits

I've knitted just two or three brioche projects, but I took a class from brioche master Nancy Marchant and I got really inspired. She showed swatch after swatch of beautiful brioche patterns, using different colors and increases and decreases to make swirls, zig zags, and more. It's simply fantastic how this stitch can be used to create amazingly textural knits.

The Brioche du Jour ribbed scarf at left, from the book Cozy Knits, is knit from two high-contrast colors that really pop. To add even more interest to the scarf, Nancy uses a technique called syncopated brioche.

Syncopated brioche creates a motif by switching a knit column to a purled column and a purled column to a knit column. Because the knit columns protrude to the front and the purled columns recede, when syncopating using two colors, the light color will recede where it used to protrude and the dark color will protrude where it used to recede. This switch occurs every 20 rows until every stitch has been reversed.

Brioche du Jour is a classic. Knit it in your school colors to make it really personal! Here are some tips from Nancy, to help you knit brioche stitch successfully.

Brioche Knitting Tips

Brioche knitting creates a cushy, reversible ribbed fabric by working one stitch and slipping the next. Instead of carrying the working yarn in the front or in back of the slipped stitch, bring the yarn over the stitch in the same way as working a yarnover; the yarnover will sit over the slipped stitch, The yarnover and the stitch it sits over are counted as one stitch, and both will be either knit or purled together with the stitch that it sits over on the following row.

By using two different colors and working in plain two-color brioche stitch, you will have straight vertical knitted columns of one color and purled columns of the second color. When the work is turned, the colors are reversed, and the knitted columns are in the second color and purled columns in the first.

Two rows are worked for each row that appears on the face of the fabric. Row 1A (light side, light color) is followed by Row 1B (light side, dark color). Both rows are considered Row 1. Row 2 consists of 2A (dark side, light color) and 2B (dark side, dark color).

In brioche color knitting, the yarnover of the row just worked is the last color that is used. So if you have to set down your knitting and are unsure which color you used last, look at the yarnovers.

    
A Good Ribbing brioche pullover
by Debbie O'Neill, from Cozy Knits

The slip 1, yarnover (sl1yo) is always worked with the yarn in the front of the work before slipping the stitch. On a knit row, bring the yarn between the needles to the front before slipping the stitch, then over the slipped stitch to the back of the work after slipping the stitch to have the yarn in place to knit the next stitch. On a purl row, the yarn is already at the front of the work, so slip the next stitch, then bring the yarn over the slipped stitch to the back of the work, then between the needles to the front again to purl the next stitch.

If you need to rip out some of your work, remove the needle and ravel to the point where you need to make the correction. Pick up the stitches with a smaller circular needle; this makes the stitches easier to pick up, then use the original needle to begin working again.

—Nancy Marchant, from Cozy Knits

There's another pretty brioche project in Cozy Knits—A Good Ribbing brioche pullover by Debbie O'Neill. This brioche-ribbed pullover is a lovely blend of texture and coziness. The sleeve cuffs are worked vertically and then rotated with stitches picked up to work the sleeves.

One thing to note when knitting a brioche garment is that the fabric is extremely elastic and can be stretched to a wide range of widths or lengths. When choosing which size to knit, err on the smaller side.

I hope you'll try one of these brioche knitting projects. The stitch is addictive to knit, and to wear!

Get your copy of Cozy Knits today and cast on!

Cheers,

P.S. What's your favorite stitch pattern? I think mine is moss stitch. Leave a comment and share your stitch!


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Comments

kelpiefolly wrote
on Mar 23, 2014 12:04 AM

I have her beautiful book and have tried a couple of patterns, did you know that  working in the round means yiu don't  have to work two colours/yarns but just keep working in the round great fot socks and there is a book of patterns just for socks

About double knitting I have designed a series of beaded purses and pouches knitting the lining as you go along Mardi

ddipsy wrote
on Mar 10, 2014 2:00 PM

I am a winter baby, and enjoy designing various snowflakes to incorporate into a project.    HOWEVER, my favorite pattern stitch has to do with leaves of any kind.  Fall is my allergy season, but nonetheless I like to come up with falling leaves of various stages in the fall season  The colors aren't muted, and add  an eye catching motif.  I try to add depth to some leaves by embroidering around the ouside of the leaf, or add the "veins" inside.  The leaves, as if on the ground, are crinkled at the edges, and have bolder yet darker colors.  I get many compliments when it comes to a leaf / leaves project.  These reactions are what makes knitting 'not boring.'

ddipsy wrote
on Mar 10, 2014 1:58 PM

I am a winter baby, and enjoy designing various snowflakes to incorporate into a project.    HOWEVER, my favorite pattern stitch has to do with leaves of any kind.  Fall is my allergy season, but nonetheless I like to come up with falling leaves of various stages in the fall season  The colors aren't muted, and add  an eye catching motif.  I try to add depth to some leaves by embroidering around the ouside of the leaf, or add the "veins" inside.  The leaves, as if on the ground, are crinkled at the edges, and have bolder yet darker colors.  I get many compliments when it comes to a leaf / leaves project.  These reactions are what makes knitting 'not boring.'

Ilehlia wrote
on Mar 9, 2014 2:19 PM

I also really like moss stitch.  It makes a great background for cables.  I haven't tried brioche yet, but I have done fisherman's rib, and they aren't quite the same.  Fisherman's rib doesn't have the yarnovers, at least not in the version I learned.  I like the cushy look of that brioche pullover above, so I think I'm going to have to give this stitch a try.  Thanks for the explanation.  I've seen the abbreviation "sl1yo" in stitch libraries, but had no idea how to do it.

on Mar 9, 2014 12:23 PM

what is a brioche stitch, how is it done?

jsvans wrote
on Mar 7, 2014 6:08 PM

Mine is definitely moss stitch as well, I love how it looks, and it's texture. However since teaching myself how to knit the honeycomb brioche stitch in the round, I am a little in love with it too. I love learning new stitches, but moss stitch is my go to for so many items.

JeanG@13 wrote
on Mar 6, 2014 3:22 PM

My favorite stitch is Close Stitch.  It's so versatile -- simple, but not boring.  Different effects can be had by using different yarn weights and needle sizes.

on Mar 5, 2014 4:50 PM

Wow, Tina! Thanks so much. And congrats on getting through chemo. Fight on, knitter!

XO, Kathleen

quiltnanny wrote
on Mar 5, 2014 4:01 PM

I am pretty sure that what you are calling brioche is what I learned as fishermans rib stitch.

on Mar 5, 2014 2:02 PM

I   love double knitting and seem to be obsessed with double knit projects currently.  Brioche has been on  my mind for a while.  Maybe now is the time to try.

on Mar 5, 2014 11:54 AM

Ever since I found NM first book 'Knitting Brioche' I fell in love with the intriicacy of the stitches.  A puzzle I had to figure out.  I just finished a sweater in brioche,; winter is still here in WI so I am sure I have a chance to wear it before our warm weather comes.  

Linda M.

on Mar 5, 2014 11:33 AM

I've only done a scarf in brioche but quickly learned that ripping out something in a brioche stitch can be a HUGE headache!  So, I use a lifeline that I move every few rows and rip back to that.  I may have to reknit an extra couple of rows, but it's actually much easier and faster than trying to pick up the stitches, only to discover a couple of rows later that I missed a YO or two.

HoffTina wrote
on Mar 5, 2014 10:37 AM

Oh, wow, this makes me feel like I haven't been very adventurous - I think I need to challenge myself more!

I have to tell you, though, how much I enjoy reading your columns.  You got me through chemo!

Tina Hoffman