We’ll be covering the four steps of Brioche knitting in this step-by-step approach to Brioche. Practice on the included basic scarf and hat patterns.
What Is Brioche Knitting?
Brioche knitting is a way of using knits, purls, slipped stitches, and yarnovers to create a stretchy, ribbing-like fabric. The columns are pronounced and, if using two colors, the project is reversible. Each side shows one of the colors more dominantly.
Brioche knitting can be used to create any kind of project or garment, including hats, scarves, shawls, and sweaters. You can increase, decrease, and make cable-like designs with color curves and swirls.
What Are Some of the Challenges Involved in Learning Brioche?
Brioche knitting uses new abbreviations, invented by Nancy Marchant, along with standard abbreviations, to denote how to create the Brioche stitch. While you can learn to read your work and know what to do on the different rows without having to follow the abbreviations, you’ll still need to understand how to read them in order to follow patterns.
The abbreviations include brk (pronounced “bark”), which I re-write as “br-k” (think “Brioche-knit”) and brp (pronouned “burp”), which I re-write as “br-p” (think “Brioche purl”). Brioche knitting also includes the standard abbreviations sl1wyib (slip one with yarn in back) and sl1wyif (slip one with yarn in front), as well as using the k2tog (knit two together) and p2tog (purl two together) movements to create the Brioche knit and purl stitches.
But don’t let this scare you off! Brioche knitting is easier than you think. Below I’ll outline a four-step method that you can use to easily learn and get comfortable with Brioche knitting.
How Will I Learn to Knit Brioche in this Course?
We break Brioche knitting down into four simple steps that build on each other, so that you can learn Brioche without a struggle. Using practice yarn and needles, you’ll follow the videos in each of the four sections to create a swatch for each of the four techniques.
1) First, using straight needles and scrap yarn, you’ll learn to create a simple one-color Brioche fabric on a flat swatch. This involves learning to read the abbreviations and create Brioche knit and purl stitches, each on the correct side of your swatch. I’ll give you tips and pointers so you can start understanding how to read your work and know what you’ve done. You’ll also learn a stretchy yarnover bind-off to bind off your swatch, since Brioche stitch is quite stretchy.
You’ll also learn how to create what’s called one-color “selvedge-stitch” Brioche, which means creating a flat Brioche swatch with an extra border stitch on either side to keep the project looking neat. This is what you would use to create an actual scarf or finished project in flat Brioche. With this exercise you’ll learn a special (Italian) cast-on and bind-off which match perfectly with the stretchy Brioche (or any ribbed) fabric.
2) Next, you’ll learn one-color Brioche in the round. Unlike most round knitting, this technique involves alternating rounds of knit and purl Brioche stitches, so I’ll teach you how to know exactly when to do what. I’ll teach you how to do this on Magic Loop using one long circular needle, but you can use any method of round knitting that you choose.
3) Third, you’ll learn two-color Brioche in the round. Incorporating two colors into your existing Brioche knowledge is actually easier than you think, since one color does all the knits and the other color does all the purls. You’ll also only be using one color at a time, unlike stranded knitting where you would be knitting with multiple colors in the same row. You’ll also learn the Brioche decrease SSK that is worked over three rounds, plus tips for reading your work.
4) Lastly, you’ll learn how to create two-color flat Brioche. Using two double-pointed needles (or, in a pinch, two circular needles) and working alternately from either end of the needles, you’ll use one color on each row to create a two-color, vertically striped, reversible Brioche swatch that you can translate into any scarf project made with any yarn.
Will I Learn Magic Loop in this Course?
Since we will be knitting several swatches in the round, I will show you how to do Brioche in the round using my favorite method, which is using Magic Loop (one long circular needle).
Even if you’ve never knit in the round before or never tried Magic Loop, you can follow along with my simple directions to learn not only the Brioche stitch but also how to knit in the round on Magic Loop in this complete video class.
What Materials Will I Need to Follow Along with this Course?
For the one-color flat swatches, you’ll use straight needles and 20-30 yards of medium-weight scrap yarn. I’d recommend a medium-weight yarn such as worsted-weight.
Brioche knitting uses smaller needles than you would normally use for the yarn selected, although for the practice swatches the exact yarn/needle-size combination is not critical. You could use anywhere from US size 4 to size 8 needles for your practice swatches.
Brioche knitting also benefits from using larger needles for the cast-on and bind-off, as this helps the edge stretch more. If you have needles a couple sizes larger than what you will be using to practice, you can use them for the cast-ons and bind-offs of all the swatches.
To learn Brioche in the round, you’ll need one 40-47-inch-long circular needle, again in a size slightly smaller than the one recommended on the yarn label. If you are buying needles just for this class, I’d recommend the 47-inch length, which gives you more flexibility to use on other Magic Loop projects in the future.
To work two-color flat Brioche, you’ll need two double-pointed needles OR two circular needles. This is because you’ll actually work from both ends of the needles, pushing your work from one end to the other on alternate rows. For your scarf project I’d recommend Signature double-pointed needles
as you can purchase them individually and they make knitting much more meditative and pleasurable than when using inexpensive needles.
What Projects Will I Knit in this Course?
After learning two-color Brioche in the round (Chapter 3), you’ll be able to knit our Surfer’s Delight Brioche Hat
, which is made with worsted or aran-weight yarn and is a fitted, soft, and reversible cap.
After learning two-color flat Brioche (Chapter 4), you’ll be able to knit our Featherweight Two-Color Brioche Scarf
, a lighter-than-air meditative knit made using two strands of laceweight yarn held double. Elegant, reversible, great for a man… this scarf is a luxurious but inexpensive project.
What Projects Will I Be Able to Knit After Finishing This Course?
This course will set you up to be able to knit any beginner or intermediate Brioche project with ease. This includes Brioche shawls and blankets, Brioche cowls in the round, and Brioche hats.
Sample projects: Brioche Blanket
, Cabito Hat
, Newsprint Cowl
You’ll also be able to use your understanding of how to read and follow Brioche abbreviations to take on variations on the Brioche stitch like Fantasy stitch and Honeycomb Brioche, as well as more complex Brioche increases and decreases.
Sample projects: My Sister Loves Soft Brioche
, Wheat and Chaff Cowl
For more complex Brioche projects that would require extending your knowledge and learning new abbrevations from the patterns themselves, get inspired by Katrin Schubert Designs
What Techniques Will I Learn in This Course?
You’ll learn how to:
- Work the knit and purl Brioche stitches
- Understand and knit the abbreviations “brk,” “brp,” “sl1wyif,” and “sl1wyib.”
- Work in flat one-color Brioche
- Count stitches and rows in Brioche
- Do the easy and stretchy Yarnover Bind-Off
- Weave in ends on Brioche
- Knit the Italian Cast-On
- Work in one-color selvedge Brioche
- Bind off with the Italian Bind-Off
- Work one-color Brioche in the round on Magic Loop
- Work two-color Brioche in the round on Magic Loop
- Read your work on two-color Brioche in the round
- Do the 3-row Brioche decrease SSK
- Work in two-color flat selvedge Brioche
- Read your work and fix mistakes, including dropped stitches, on Brioche
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. Knitting expert and video teacher Liat Gat will answer your questions about Brioche knitting. You can even send in a photo of your knitting if you aren’t sure how to explain what’s happened.
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