Category Archives: pattern design

Upcoming Brioche Pastiche update

Brioche Pastiche

This is the original Brioche Pastiche (Ravelry link); I designed it to be a quick start introduction to brioche in the round for a 3 hour class back in 2018. It begins with a bit of 2 color brioche rib to learn and get comfortable with the technique. Increases and decreases happen next, to form the leafy pattern.

Alternate crown

Last year I added a different crown shaping to the pattern, just for fun.

And now I’m planning to add a cowl to the pattern. This one is pretty short; I’m hedging my bets to make sure that two 100g skeins of worsted weight yarn can make a cowl and hat set. I’m keeping careful track with my handy yarn scale! (Some would call it a kitchen scale, but I know better.)

So I’m re-knitting the hat with the alternate crown, too. I want the pattern to look more cohesive, so I want new pictures for hat and cowl in the same color set, with the same yarn as the original (Malabrigo Worsted). Three color sets and two yarns is too jangly in one pattern.

While I’m at it, I’m making the pattern “choose your own adventure” style. I like offering both hat and cowl in a class, because not everyone wears hats, and not everyone wears cowls, either. Also, in class, a student can choose to complete a project in plain brioche rib, if they’re not ready to tackle increases and decreases. Lots of options! Those options are also good for knitting at home.

That’s a lot of updating! So I’m going to make these all these changes to the pattern, and make it stand alone. It will no longer be part of the Brioche Hat Trick (Ravelry link) collection when the updated pattern is released. If you already purchased Brioche Pastiche (Ravelry link), or the Brioche Hat Trick collection, you’ll get this updated pattern for no additional charge. If you want the updated Brioche Pastiche pattern, buy it now at the current price (pattern or collection), and you’ll get the update without paying the new price.

This pattern will be my teaching pattern on the Vogue Knitting Cruise to Alaska in September. That’s what’s driving this update! We had thought about using Whale Watch Cap and Cowl, but we have some repeat cruisers and wanted to do a different brioche project. We’ll pretend that those leaves are sea kelp, and stay on theme. I’m really looking forward to this cruise; I haven’t been to Alaska since working at a salmon cannery to pay for college.

No salmon roe packing for me this time!

Introducing Starfall

Starfall is a fingering weight bandana cowl featuring a cascade of assigned pooling stars on a stockinette stitch background. Knitting begins in the round at the neck with a reverse stockinette rolled edge. Simple shaping at the center front creates the look of a triangle shawl, and Old Shale Lace adds a beautiful, scalloped edging.

Choose a yarn that is dyed for assigned pooling, with an accent color run of about 8 – 10” long. Hand-dyed yarns vary, and the pooling color length can vary from skein to skein! You may have a longer pooling color run, which you can address by having color streaming on each side of your stars. Suggestions are given in the pattern for managing your color.

Blocking is magic! You’ll want to wet block this piece to make it the star of your dreams. Pattern includes a blocking tutorial.

The pattern is now available from Ravelry, link here.

And also from Payhip, link here.

Use coupon code METEOR for 15% off through May 15. If you’re taking my Zoom class through For Yarn’s Sake on June 4, the pattern is already included in your class fee; don’t buy it twice!

Thanks to tech editor Jen Lucas, test knitters Carmen Adkins, Peggy Baker, Ann Berg, Shelly Dinh, Angela Gronewold, Desta Packan, Jamie Waclawik, and model Sharon Hsu. It takes a village and we had fun!

On and off the needles

Knitting goes a lot faster if you’re not second guessing with every stitch whether you should rip it out. After deciding to make my mini skein color changes at the garter ridges, this was a breeze of a multitasking project. Three bands of the first two colors, two bands of the next three colors, and one band of the last color for the lacy edging. I spent a couple afternoons finishing my Ebb and Flow while reading in the sunny backyard. (Spring has finally sprung!) I’ll be blocking it today.

I’m also playing with this yarn combo. It’s Dream in Color Smooshy in Tip Top Tangerine and Sonoran Magic. Yes, a little more assigned pooling!

Getting the yarn to cooperate for assigned pooling is tricky when you don’t have many stitches on the needles yet. I ripped it out and started again after cutting off about 18” of yarn at the beginning of the orange. Much better. The orange and hot pink are pretty fun together. We’ll see if it fulfills my vision for this piece. Wish me luck!

I’m not obsolete…yet

DH asked Bing’s AI (artificial intelligence) tool to write a brioche pattern for a hat, and wanted to know if it was any good. Calvin and I have gone through it, with our notes in red.

“Here’s a brioche knitting pattern for a hat.


  • 2 skeins of worsted weight yarn Should these be 2 different colors?
  • US 6 (4mm) circular needles How long should these be?
  • US 8 (5mm) circular needles I think these would make a fabric that’s too loose; tell me about gauge
  • Stitch marker


  1. Using US 6 (4mm) circular needles, cast on 80 stitches. Is this a 2 color pattern? Which color should I use?
  2. Place stitchmarker and join in the round.
  3. Work *k1, sl1yo* around. Good through here, although it would be nice to know what sl1yo means.
  4. Switch to US8 (5mm) circular needles and work in two-color brioche stitch until hat measures 8 inches from cast on edge. Well now I know I’m using 2 colors. Ummmm, how do you work 2 color brioche stitch? Do tell!
  5. Decrease as follows:

Round 1: *k2tog, sl1yo* around. What happened to the brioche stitches? What do I do with all those yos? And this isn’t going to work out past the first 3 stitches, you’d end up making a sl1yo over the sl1yo from the previous round. Which means everything from here forward isn’t going to work. Especiall Rnds 4 and 6: *sl1yo* around. What?!

 Round 2: *k1, sl1yo* around.
 Round 3: *k2tog, sl1yo* around.
 Round 4: *sl1yo* around.
 Round 5: *k2tog* around.
 Round 6: *sl1yo* around.
 Round 7: *k2tog* around.
6. Cut yarn and weave in ends.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.”

Oh, I have questions. Luckily, it lists all of its sources, and you might be able to use one of those patterns to knit your hat. Or at least get an idea of how to knit one.

As I said, I’m not obsolete yet! I guess I could use the chatbot to get a pattern started, and then edit like crazy to get it to make sense. But it’s easier to just write the pattern from scratch.

If you’d really like to learn how to knit 2 color brioche rib in the round, I highly recommend my Petite Brioche headband pattern, which is free here on this site. This is the pattern I use in my beginning brioche classes; I’ve taught hundreds of new brioche knitters. I have lots of brioche hat patterns when you’re ready for those, too.

Have you used an AI chatbot? What did you think of the results?

Coming soon: Starfall Cowl

Still on the assigned pooling bandwagon! I just blocked this, and I love it. It’s a fingering weight bandana cowl with a cascade of assigned pooling stars, and an Old Shale lace edging. This is one of my favorite looks to wear; it looks like a shawl but it stays on without a fuss.

I just finished writing the pattern and video tutorial, and it will be tech edited this week. I’m looking for a few test knitters; you’d need one skein of fingering weight yarn that’s dyed for assigned pooling, with a color pop of about 8” long. I used Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere.

Let me know if you’re interested!

Saving yarn labels

I’m making a paper chain with the yarn labels from this year’s projects; it’s a tidy and visual way to remember what I’ve done. Ten projects by the first week of April feels pretty good.

So far, from the top: Fierce Fibers and Moss Fibers (for Ebb and Flow), Knit Picks Chroma (Aspen Leaf scarf and Athena Cowl), Yarn Snob (Pooling is a Cinch and Firefly Trails), Anzula Luxury Yarn (Aspen Leaf Coasters), Dream in Color Classy (Fanfare Cowl/Hat (2 of them) and the current project which isn’t named yet).

Also pictured: Yarn chicken mug by JaMPDX, and our ancient Darth Vader bank, which still works when you put coins in. Some heavy breathing, light saber waving, and a message: “Impressive. Most impressive. But you are not a Jedi yet!”

Do you save your yarn labels? If yes, how? I used to just throw them in a basket, but the chain is much more fun.

Introducing Firefly Trails

Firefly Trails is a loop cowl, designed to be knit with one skein of worsted weight yarn that has been dyed for assigned color pooling. When I finished my Pooling is a Cinch cowl/hat, I couldn’t resist playing with one more skein of this fun yarn to design something else. Firefly Trails is the result.

I pulled more of the color pop into the gathered stitches for Firefly Trails; Pooling is a Cinch uses just the center of the color pop. This yarn is Yarn Snob’s A Wondrous Worsted in the Times Square colorway. I love that the color pop is more than just one color.

The pattern is available on Ravelry and Payhip. Use coupon code GLOW for 15% off through March 21.

Have you tried assigned pooling? I like it so much more than planned pooling, where I have to watch my gauge. In assigned pooling, you just have to use the fancy stitch when the color pop shows up. That makes the knitting much more relaxing!

Do you repeat knits?

Sometimes I knit an item more than once while I’m designing; that helps me figuring out sizing and fine tuning directions.

Sometimes I knit things more than once, just because I love them. (Love Note, Stopover)

And sometimes I re-knit things because I want to see them in another yarn. This is my Aspen Leaf scarf, which I designed in 2020. I loved this in its original yarn, which was Huckleberry Knits’ American Dream DK (above).

I re-knit it in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted, because I want to sell it through the Knit Picks IDP program. Chroma Worsted is a little bit heavier and fluffier than American Dream DK, so the dimensions are different. There are 8 leaves in this version, and 10 in the original. This new version will be available through Knit Picks next month, I think. I enjoyed working with this yarn.

While I was re-knitting it, I realized that a slimmed down version would make a great coaster, and it would be perfect as a teaching vehicle for brioche increases and decreases. That was a happy inspiration! I’m teaching the Zoom coaster class next Sunday, March 19, via For Yarn’s Sake. Come knit with me!

Introducing Fanfare

Let’s have an introductory fanfare for Fanfare!

Fanfare is a convertible cowl/hat knit with worsted weight yarn, designed for my assigned pooling class at For Yarn’s Sake next month. It can be worn as a cowl

or as a hat. It’s knit with yarn that is dyed especially for assigned color pooling, with a color pop of 10 to 16 inches. This yarn is Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere, in the Violet Fields colorway. It feels so plush!

The yarn comes in 12 pooling colorways. I knit a second version to confirm my instructions (and avoid yarn chicken this time), using Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere in the Storm Berry colorway.

The color pop was longer in this skein of yarn, so I adapted my fan stitch to accommodate the difference. Instructions for the fan stitch are given in a video tutorial and in written instructions, too. There are also instructions on adapting the size of the fan stitch to suit your yarn.

The pattern is available through Ravelry and Payhip. It’s 15% off through March 14 with coupon code FAFF. If you’re signing up for my online class through For Yarn’s Sake, the pattern is already included in your class fee. Don’t buy it twice! The class is on April 2.

I have one or two more pooling patterns in the works. It’s kind of addictive!

Introducing Pooling is a Cinch!

Pooling is a Cinch is a convertible piece that will please both hat and cowl lovers. The stockinette stitch body is a perfect canvas for playing with assigned pooling. Worsted weight yarn knits up quickly for a fun introduction to this technique. Choose a yarn that is meant to pool; you’ll want 6 to 8 inch (15-20 cm) runs of your pooling color.

Knitting begins and ends with a reverse stockinette rolled edge. A knit cord is threaded through a round of eyelets near the top. The cord is tied in a decorative knot on the cowl. The cord can also be cinched to convert the cowl to a hat.

The pattern is now available through Ravelry here, and through Payhip here. It’s 15% off through February 14, no coupon code needed. If you’re in my Pooling class at Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat, the yarn and pattern is included in your class packet. (I think there are 2 spots left; come knit with me!)

I used Yarn Snob’s A Wondrous Worsted in the Times Square colorway, and it pooled beautifully. Calvin approves!