I'm learning to knit brioche, and I'm absolutely loving it! It's just so thick and squishy, and it makes colour combinations really sing...
I've been wanting to learn to knit brioche stitch for a long time. I even have one of Nancy Marchant's books on brioche, but sometimes my design knitting deadlines don't leave much space for playing with new techniques and knitting other designer's patterns. I finally got the push I needed when I heard about Karen of Wool Gathering Australia's It's New To Me KAL. There are a few of us knitting our first two-colour brioche projects for the KAL this month, and sharing tips and encouragement.
If you're not familiar with brioche stitch, here are some examples of designs from my Ravelry favourites which I think really show off its strengths and possibilities:
- Really bold stripes and zigzags in two or more colours - Stephen West's Askews Me Shawl and Briochevron Wrap (which I plan to make one day as a sock yarn stash-buster)
- More subtle two-colour brioche, with garter stitch as a contrasting texture - Andrea Mowry's What the Fade!? shawl, Bristol Ivy's Jemison cowl from her forthcoming book Knitting Outside the Box, and Lesley Anne Robinson's Unda shawl (which has a very subtle colour pairing)
- Classic, cosy texture in a single colour - Jared Flood's Oshima sweater, and Olga Buraya-Kefelian's Gren mitts
- More complex texture in a single colour - Bristol Ivy's Lisse shawl and Burke cardigan, and Norah Gaughan's modular Counterpane sweater.
The pattern I've chosen to knit for the KAL is Katrin Schubert's beezee hat. I chose a hat because it's a manageable-sized project (I was tempted to try for a large shawl or wrap, but I have other projects to finish!), and I chose this design because I liked the boldness of the stitch pattern. It's my current weekend project, which I've been chipping away at when I'm hanging out on the couch.
I dug through the DK yarn in my stash and chose a speckled main colour, 'Koi' on Walk Collection Cozy Vintage, and a calm grey background colour, 'Eastern Reef Egret' on Circus Tonic Handmade DK:
I'm knitting the biggest size, and I can tell it's going to be a long, slouchy kind of hat. I've just reached the start of the crown decreases, so there's not much more to go.
If you're keen to try knitting some brioche, I recommend just diving in! Here are a couple of resources I used when I got stuck (for example, the first time I had to work a decrease):
- Nancy Marchant's Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns- a comprehensive book including photos of the basic moves (which helped me a lot), a stitch dictionary with charts, and several scarf and shawl patterns
- Susanne Sommer's YouTube videos, which I found really clear, especially her Knitting tutorial: basics of two-colour brioche.