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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Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

7 thoughts on “Learn something new: The Brioche Stitch

  1. I was so excited to see this newsletter since I am currently part of a knitting study group studying methods of working with multiple colors in knitting. During our first month we are working with slip stitch techniques and in 3 days we meet to share our slip stitch samples. This gives me time to knit up a brioche sample to bring to the meeting.

    As an aside, each member is knitting samples that are 8″ squares that will put together for baby blankets and donated. Good timing, Knitting Daily.

  2. The neckwarmer! Where can I find the pattern for that neckwarmer?
    It seems like a perfect start for me on brioche knitting – not too big but warmer than the usual warmers. Please share!!
    Linda in Texas

  3. I found this beautiful pattern for a scarf knitted with the Brioche Stitch, and in watching the show this morning I got excited to learn you will be highlighting this next Saturday on RI PBS. I am NOT an experienced knitter and probably should not jump into this too readily but… that is how I have always done things. I end up picking patterns that are very involved or a little complicated for the novice. My grandmother was the experienced knitter and she made some really beautiful things. I can crochet like there is not tomorrow, taught myself to tat, but never took well to knitting. I am giving it another go, I WANT to do this, as your shoe really inspires me to want to learn. I am a very creative person who began sewing at the age of 8, I still have my tiny Singer hand crank sewing machine and the case it came in, that I made my Barbie outfits on. :0)