On the needles: more brioche!

After teaching my brioche increases and decreases class at Virtual Knitting Live last month, I started thinking that I wanted to design one more hat.


Specifically, it would be a teaching hat, one that uses both left and right leaning double decreases within the first few rounds. I love Heliotrope and Brioche Pastiche, but it takes quite a while before we get to the right leaning decreases.

I wanted a big stitch pattern to make a visual statement, and there it is! This is the staghorn motif from Nancy Marchant’s Knitting Fresh Brioche. I could use this motif twice, and not have a big enough hat, or three times, and the hat would be too big. Hmmm. I could use the motif once or twice, and make the rest of the hat in garter stitch, which has the same row gauge as brioche rib. But that could be confusing for students, as it knocks one out of the rhythm of brioche knitting.

Also, using this motif once or twice doesn’t guarantee that students will get to practice both increases more than a few times during class. A better alternative to garter stitch would be to use a smaller motif for size adjustability, and for practice with both decreases.

This stitch pattern is based on Nancy Marchant’s large gulls. I made it taller, to make it fit the row repeat of the staghorn motif. I like the way it echoes the shape of the staghorn motif. Perfect. I added a single rib on each side of the staghorn motif as an accent.

Sometimes designing is just this specific. I knew what I wanted to feature in the pattern, and then it was just a matter of putting several parts together. Like playing with Legos? Now I’m up to the crown shaping, and working out how to make that work for three sizes, which is just a bit of engineering.

It’s coming soon; I want to use it for classes this fall. That means it’s jumping to the top of my to-do list. Don’t worry, Sneaker Wave is still coming, too. By the end of the month, I think!

How do you decide which project to work on? Do you have many or few? What makes one jump to the top of the list? For me, there’s nothing like the power of a deadline.

Monday, when the sun was still visible through smoke

Side note: 2020 is an absolute dumpster fire. Pandemic, lockdown, a crashed economy, civil unrest to protest police brutality and racism…and now wildfires up and down the west coast. Entire towns have burned to the ground, and people are being evacuated for their safety. The fires aren’t close to my home right now, but smoke has blanketed most of western Oregon, and the air is unhealthy for breathing. The city of Portland declared a state of emergency as of last night.

I’m hoping and praying for change on so many levels.

Working on this little knitting project is giving my brain just enough to chew on, to keep the worry at bay. I’m grateful for home and safety, and grieving for those who have lost everything.

“Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.“ Elizabeth Zimmermann

5 responses to “On the needles: more brioche!

  1. My heart is breaking for our state. It has been such a tough summer, and to have these massive fires forcing evacuations and burning down homes- it’s just too much. I keep telling myself we’ll get back to something resembling sanity soon, but things just keep piling on.
    Thank you for listening.
    The hat is really beautiful. Will I be able to get the pattern even if I don’t take a class?
    Knitting is one thing I can count on.

    • Hi, Meredith:

      So glad for the rain today; I hope that it helps with the fires, but doesn’t cause mudslides! At least the air here is much more clear.

      Yes, the hat will be available to the general public, not just for classes! I’m just waiting for one more test knit and one more look-over from my tech editor, and then I can publish. Looking forward to it! I’ve packed it full of learning experiences…and it’s pretty!

      Cheers, michele

      > >

  2. Dear heart, I think of you there in “PDX” so often, and wonder how you and your family are doing and if everyone’s safe ..
    This is a goodbye Comment: I’m opting out of WordPress.
    Impossible to tell you how much I have enjoyed our virtual interactions, and how sorry I’ll be without my fairly frequent injections of Cleverness from a knitting powerhouse.
    You will continue to be in my mind, until all these terrible things have passed – as everything ust. And after.
    XO

  3. Stay safe and take care! I too am praying for improvements in all the situations sooner rather than later. And that is a lovely hat 🙂

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