Tag Archives: Brioche knitting

Tinking Brioche Decreases tutorial

A student asked me how to tink brioche decreases. I made a little video so I can share it with all of you, too.

Also, my Petite Brioche class through Twisted on September 26 is full!

So we added another class on October 17. Link to register is here.

There’s still room in my Syncopation class on October 3, link here.

Let’s knit!

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

Petite Brioche Zoom class May 2

Petite Brioche: It’s my gateway project into brioche knitting. Brioche rib has such a simple, soothing rhythm to it; it’s a perfect technique to learn during this pandemic lockdown. The Petite Brioche pattern is free here on my blog, but sometimes you want a little more guidance, right?

Blue brioche headband

I’m offering a virtual class via Zoom on Saturday, May 2, 1 to 3 pm PDT. I’ll help you get started with your 2 color brioche rib headband. Price is $25. Class size is limited, as we figure out the ins and outs of this new way of teaching and learning. Come knit with me!

Leave a comment if you’re interested. Hoping to introduce you to the joys of brioche!

Did you ever wonder, brioche selvedges edition

I was wondering about the different ways knitters deal with the edges of flat brioche knitting. Two color, because that’s what I dream about, always.

When I first learned to knit brioche flat, I learned it with a garter stitch selvedge edge. I didn’t like it, because it made horizontal stripes next to the vertically oriented brioche.

Then I went to Nancy Marchant’s book Knitting Brioche, and there was an option for a one stitch selvedge edge, and this is how I’ve been doing it, mostly. There’s a little dance of yarn at the stitch before the first and after the last CC stitch on the CC color rows, after/before slipping the MC stitch at each end.

I took another class, and the teacher said to just leave that next to last stitch yarn where it was, no dancing yarn. It seemed to work fine, too.

So why the dance? I have some time on my hands (#socialdistancing), so I decided to find out.

Can you see a difference between the stitches in the red circle (yes dance) and the stitches in the blue circle (no dance)?

Here’s a video so you can see it all in action.

Still teaching, even though I’ve canceled all my classes for the time being! Just doing it from a distance.

Have fun!

A Tale of Two Decreases

I just made a video tutorial for an alternate version of a left leaning brioche decrease.

The center decrease shown is a right leaning decrease. The one on the right is a left leaning decrease, and it’s fine for most purposes. But it shows a lot of the dark colored wrap of the stitch that is passed over. Most of the time, this doesn’t bother me.

But sometimes, like in my Aspen Leaf scarf, I want the left and right leaning decreases to mirror each other more closely.

The Brioche Unwrapped Decrease moves that wrap out of the way before passing the slipped stitch over. Very tidy! Thanks to Xandy Peters for dreaming this up. I’ve made my own video tutorial, because I want to make sure it will always be available when I link to it in a pattern.

Brioche Unwrapped Decrease tutorial link

Here you go! If you don’t like the unwrapped decrease, you can always use the other left leaning decrease. You’re the boss of your knitting!

And the winner is…

Sorry for the delay; I’ve been to St. Louis, New York City (VKLive) and New Orleans since I posted the Yarn Over: Brioche Knits ebook offer at the beginning of this month, and I’m having a little travel whiplash!

The winner of the ebook is Lisa Adcock. Lisa, I’m emailing you to let you know how to claim your book. It’s a big file, so it will be a download for you.

I’m slowly catching up on life at home, I’ll tell you all about VKLive soon!

For now, here’s a bit of knitting, and my lovely souvenir swatch necklace from Porterness Studio at VKLive…

Both Sides Now, backstory

I started designing Both Sides Now last winter, even before the Knit Picks call for submissions for a brioche collection.

This was from January 2019. I knew I wanted brioche, and a half-pi shawl.

February 2019: I played around with some stitch patterns. The little round leaf pattern didn’t thrill me, and I cogitated for days on how to make that twig pattern bend to my will. Once I figured it out, I contacted Knit Picks to see if they had more of these colors. Nope, discontinued. But they sent me some glorious blues to play with.

I was playing with this at Crafty Moms weekend in March last year.

There was definitely some trial and error and learning curve involved. And then there was a call for submissions for a brioche collection. Perfect! I was halfway there already!

When I blocked and photographed the shawl, I discovered that there really was no wrong side. Both sides looked great. Voilà, Both Sides Now.

I found it fascinating that the twigs on RS and WS faced opposite directions, down and up. And when you look at it closely, the lower sections look like light veined leaves between dark outlines on the RS (left half), but they don’t look that way on the upper section of the WS. Clearly, it’s not an exact reversal of color and texture.

Usually KnitPicks writes their patterns for MC and CC, but I requested that we use DC and LC designations (dark color and light color) because I wanted to make sure those lower veined leaves were reproducible. They’re especially nice if the yarn colors are very tonally contrasty.

After I finished the blue shawl, I went back and finished the purple version as a shawlette to see how far the yarn would go. I used almost every last bit of yarn, one skein of each color.

The leaves show up really well here, too. Instructions for both sizes, shawlette and shawl, are in the pattern.

Here’s the Knit Picks sample, same side as the purple above. In the top section, the light colored twigs point downwards. With less tonal contrast in the greens, the leaf veins in the lower section don’t pop as much as they do in the blue and purple versions. Still very pretty, just different.

This was a lot of knitting that I couldn’t show you last year! Now all has been revealed.

For a chance to win the YO: Brioche Knits ebook, visit the first Both Sides Now blog post and leave a comment there. I’m drawing a name at the end of the weekend. Good luck!

Aspen Leaf scarf in progress

I finished my syncopated brioche Aspen Leaf scarf. It was perfect vacation knitting; the leaf pattern repeats over 10 leaves, and once you understand how the leaves widen and narrow, it’s pretty easy to memorize. This sample is in Huckleberry Knits’ DK Blue Faced Leicester; the gradient is Practical Tactical Brilliance, and the speckle is When You Said Hi I Forgot My Dang Name.

I’ve just finished the pattern and sent it to my tech editor. I’m looking for a few test knitters; let me know if you would like to test knit. Testers should already have experience with syncopated brioche knitting.

I’m also knitting another one in worsted weight, but I haven’t decided if it’s going to be in Knit Picks Chroma Worsted (single ply) or Malabrigo Rios (plied). Swatching now, and the Chroma may be winning…

Knit on!

New class: Syncopation

I’ve been having a lot of fun with my 2 color in-the-round brioche classes, Petite Brioche (free pattern) and Brioche Pastiche. Petite Brioche is plain 2 color brioche rib; Brioche Pastiche introduces increases and decreases.

Now I want to teach a class that tackles 2 color brioche knit flat, and adds in syncopation (switching MC and CC color) mid-row.

I taught syncopated brioche with my Hopscotch pattern last month at Twisted, but I really want to use my Syncopation shawl/scarf for the next class. It’s a little more ambitious, because it also includes increasing/decreasing. If you’ve knit brioche rib in the round, it’s a do-able next step. The new class debuts at Twisted on February 22.

Planning a new class is fun; it requires organization like a general! Or someone hosting Thanksgiving guests for an entire weekend. (Menu planning, I won!) How can I best lead you down the garden path to a positive outcome?

Here’s how I plan to structure the class:

Brioche knitting is the current “it knit” and there are so many ways to play with it, once you understand the basic brioche rib stitch. We’ll review basic brioche rib, then practice syncopating (swapping main color with background color in the same row), and finally learn an increase and 2 decreases. Voilà, it’s a gauge swatch, and then we can cast on for the real deal!

3 hours, intermediate. You should already be familiar with knitting brioche rib; this is not a beginning brioche class.

Sound enticing? February 22 at Twisted, be there or be square!

Introducing Syncopation shawl and scarf!

Syncopation adds so much to music, and to brioche knitting, too!

My Syncopation is a brioche asymmetric triangle shawl or scarf, knit from narrow end to wide end. The interplay between the dark rib and light edging is enhanced by the playful dance of the leafy border. It’s knit in fingering weight yarn in 2 coordinating colors, one skein of each.

I designed the shawl first. It’s a deep triangle, slightly off center due to its asymmetry. Gravity makes it feel like it’s knit on the bias, with that lovely bias swing.

After I finished the shawl, I wanted to design a scarf with the same yardage, so it could be longer to easily wrap twice around my neck. Making it longer means it’s also narrower/shallower because it doesn’t grow in width (depth) as quickly.

I wasn’t sure how it would wrap until it was off the needles and blocked; it’s so long and skinny for much of it. But it does exactly what I wanted. I love it when that happens.

I’m really happy with both pieces!

Size is easily adjustable, simply by using more or less yardage. I used Hazel Knits Entice MCN for both shawl and scarf.

Options are given for plain or fancy endings; I love the syncopated rib ending with the single leaf point at the corner. Knitter’s choice!

Syncopation is a great way to take a next step in brioche knitting. This pattern is available through Ravelry, link here. It’s 10% off through October 3, no coupon code needed.

Thanks to tech editor Meaghan Schmaltz, and test knitters Ann Berg, Tami Hawes, Jacqueline Lydston, Eden Scheans, and Jardee Worcester.