Tag Archives: Brioche knitting

At loose ends seeking new project, and a book winner

First of all: Drumroll! The winner of the Japanese Shetland Lace Knitting book is…carrotmusic, aka Karen. Congratulations!

I just bound off my last (for now) brioche project. It’s the cowl I started before I took the deep dive into the brioche hats. (Hats are currently being test knit, and the pictures coming in are lovely.)

I’m looking forward to wearing this cowl. Although Biscuit thinks that it belongs to her.

There *is* precedent for cats and cowls! (Mookie in my Sakura cowl, 2016.)

My needles are currently empty, and I’m not sure what to knit next. I need to get back to my beaded 2 color version of my Nymphaea shawl (shown here in a lovely purple gradient from June Pryce Fiber Arts, available from Bead Biz.)

I’m knitting it in green and blue, the same colors as in my Tumbling Leaves, but with Atlantic as the main color and Hellebore as the contrast color. Yes, I loved these colors in Bumblebirch’s Heartwood so much that I’m using them again! But I don’t need this shawl until Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September when the pattern returns to me, so it’s not urgent.

I was hoping to do a Snowy Woods Log Cabin blanket for the #fringeandfriendslogalong, but that was derailed by my brioche obsession. It’s late in the logalong game, but I’m tempted to knit a pair of Karen Templer’s Log Cabin Mitts (free pattern, just published on her Fringe Association site). After knitting the log cabin blocks, there’s a mitered square thumb, which looks cool. I haven’t done a log cabin block with a mitered square in it yet, so that would be exciting. I just looked in my stash, and this may be do-able. Either 3 shades of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, or a single color shifting skein of Noro Taiyo (which isn’t very soft…).

Or should I be restrained and just knit some log cabin washcloths from the Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide #4? They’ve elaborated on their pick up method a little bit since the blankets in their original book, which is where I learned to log cabin. I need to see if I like the new way better. Only one way to find out!

What’s on your needles? Inspire me!

Re-introducing Athena

I’m teaching my Athena Entrelac Cowl at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in February. I love entrelac; it makes a knitter feel ever so clever! It’s even easier when you have a slow color changing yarn to make the color choices for you. And the work just kind of pulls you along; you want to knit just one more square, and then another, and another.

The original Athena is all in the round. I’ve taught this class a lot, and it’s easier to teach entrelac in the round. But learning to knit entrelac flat is good, too. It just requires two more units, the left and right edge triangles. Too much at the beginning of a class, but it’s not hard.

So I’ve just updated my Athena pattern with an optional split ending; there’s just a little smidge of those left and right edge triangles to try after getting comfortable with the left and right leaning rectangles.

If you’ve already purchased Athena through Ravelry, you can download the update there. If Athena is new to you, I’d like to entice you to try entrelac with a 10% discount on the pattern through February 5. No coupon code needed.

If you’re a newsletter subscriber, there will be a 20% discount code in your next newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

In other news, the brioche hat patterns have gone out to test knitters; I’m looking forward to feedback on those. I did re-work the top of the plain ribbed hat. Twice. It wasn’t pretty enough the first two times. Now I’m in LOVE.

I’m teaching a beginning brioche class at Twisted on Thursday, February 22. I’m using my free Petite Brioche pattern as the basis. If you’re local and want a kick start to your brioche knitting, come join us!

What’s on your knitting bucket list? Entrelac? Brioche? Steeks? Do tell!

Two steps forward at the coast, one step back at home

I finished this hat on Saturday evening, but changed my mind about the crown shaping. About to start that again.

In other news, happy birthday to DH! I decided to get cases for his autographed baseballs. They’ve been rolling around in a drawer for 30 years, so it’s about time we did something with them. Top to bottom: 1984 Portland Beavers (AAA farm team for the Phillies back then, and DH’s first job in baseball); 1986 World Champion NY Mets (DH’s first year working in Major League Baseball); 1968 St. Louis Cardinals (boyhood home team).

My Saturday stranded colorwork class was full, and my Sunday class was cancelled, so I ran away to the coast overnight.

Sasquatch lives! The ocean was rough, and the wind was intense, but the coast always clears my mind and brings me joy.

What’s bringing you joy this winter? I’ll have more joy when these hats are done!

The beat goes on: More brioche, more entrelac!

First, if you’re looking for the Shetland Lace book giveaway post, click here. *After* you read this post, of course!

I’m almost done knitting the third of my three brioche hats. Silly me, I started with the most complicated stitch pattern of the three, and now I’m doing the simplest. It’s plain two color brioche rib, and will be deep enough to turn up the bottom edge. You, dear knitter, can choose how deep to make yours; you don’t have to cuff the bottom if you don’t want to, or if you don’t want to knit endless brioche rib! I’m getting close…I think. I’ll be looking for a few test knitters for these lovelies; leave a comment if you’d like to knit one!

I’m also prepping an update of my Athena entrelac cowl pattern. I’ve added an option for a split ending (Athena has split ends!), which introduces a bit of flat entrelac. I’m updating the yarns used (the original is discontinued), giving more gauge options, and including this video tutorial on purling back without turning your work. It’s great for entrelac and for lace edgings, too. If you’ve already purchased Athena, you’ll be notified of an update which will include both options, soon.

Why the update? I’m teaching Athena for an entrelac class at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, and the split end option gives you a chance to try a little flat entrelac after you have some experience with entrelac in the round. It’s not hard, but it’s too much to learn at the beginning of a 3 hour class, so now the option will be there at the end. Are you going to Madrona? There is still room in some of the regular classes, and the mini class schedule is up now, too. I’m teaching two minis, blocking and novelty stitches. Hope to see you there! It’s such a great event; the market is fabulous and there is always a lot going on besides the classes.

And! Do you know that Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival has added a spring event? It’s the Knot Another Fiber Festival at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton, Oregon, April 27-29. Check out the link here. I’m taking an all day class with Andrea Mowry on my favorite new technique, BRIOCHE! Always lots more to learn, right?

Knit on…and on. Have a great weekend!

Fiendishly simple? And aloha!

A hat is a fiendishly simple thing. It’s a tube, closed at the top. Easy peasy, right?

I’ve been playing with this hat project all week. It’s been a Goldilocks experience. Too tall? Too short? Just right? The top of this pink hat has been reworked a couple times, but I can’t complain about the view.

The pink version is snug and a little (but not too) short; it’s a cute beanie.

The blue version has 12 more stitches than the pink one, and at the same height it doesn’t feel quite secure on my head. I’m re-working it to be a little taller so it can come further down over the ears, or folded up at the bottom.

I’ll be knitting one more for a size in-between. Who said hats were simple? There’s a lot of planning going on here!

Oddly enough, it’s been very comfortable knitting with this wooly yarn in Hawaii! I brought a fingering weight shawl project, too, but I’ve been so smitten by this brioche I can’t stop playing with it.

We’ve had a great week. We came over on December 26, and now it’s time to go home. But here are some pretty pix from the week.

Beautiful He’eia Bay is just around the corner from our condo.

Lots of honu (green sea turtles) at Ai’opio Beach, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park.

More turtles at Kiholo Bay, and we saw this petroglyph at the water’s edge.

When Hualalai erupted, these shells were caught in the lava. They’re being revealed through erosion. They look like frosting!

Kiholo Bay

We went night snorkeling with the mantas! (Picture from the Eka Canoe Website; I highly recommend this.) There were at least five of these magnificent creatures swimming with us, somersaulting and backflipping, close enough to touch (but you’re not supposed to. One brushed by DH; he said it felt like a shoe.

My favorite bird, the yellow-billed cardinal.

And favorite guy, on our morning walk.

Moonset in the morning (January 2)…

Sunsets in the evening…bliss.


Plus de brioche

The brioche knitting continues. I’m smitten!

I knit this cowl for my sister. She’s a big University of Oregon Ducks fan, and the swirling circles made perfect O’s. After the perfect mirror symmetry of plain brioche rib, I was startled to see how different the front and back sides of patterned brioche are. Cool!

I ripped down this beginning of a brioche cowl; it wasn’t wide enough, and I wanted the leaves to be taller. But it all got sidetracked anyway…

because I wanted a hat. With those taller leaves.

I’m currently playing yarn chicken while trying to decide how to close the top. This is yarn left over after 3 Petite Brioche headbands. We’ll see if there’s enough to finish this hat. I hope so!

Is brioche knitting on your bucket list? Am I getting to you? Take a dip in the brioche pool with my free Petite Brioche headband/earwarmer pattern! It’s a gateway…

Free Pattern: Petite Brioche

This is Petite Brioche, a little headband/earband to keep the chill away. It’s also a great introduction to two color brioche rib in the round. It’s a quick little project, and you can still whip one out for a wee Christmas gift! Or save it for learning a new technique in 2018.

You can download the Petite Brioche pattern pdf here Petite Brioche.

I used Malabrigo Merino Worsted for the purple version. Mmmmm, Malabrigo!

Happy new year!

2017 Year of Brioche?

It started in January, with a scarf.

This is the Never Fail Scarf, a free pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Really fast, and a great learning tool for single color brioche knit flat.

Of course I had to figure out how to make that work in the round, for a timely pink-ish hat.

Then in February I took a brioche knitting class with JC Briar at Madrona. We worked flat samples, with selvages.

I forgot all about it, until this past week. After birthing my Cannon Beach Cowl & Mitts by knitting 3 cowls and 2 sets of mitts, I needed something fairly mindless to knit. Two color brioche in the round fit the bill.

And like Cannon Beach, it’s still only one color worked per round! I found this to be much simpler than two color brioche knit flat. No selvage stitches, and no way to choose the wrong working yarn. It was quick. So quick I had to get yarn to knit one for a friend.

And there you go. Do you want to try it? I’m writing up some instructions that make sense to me, link coming soon.

And because mental vacation is over…I’m playing with patterning. More on that later.

Do you brioche? Do you wanna? So zen!

Organizing via project bags, Crafty Moms weekend 14.0

Last weekend was the 14th annual Crafty Moms weekend at the coast. It was pretty laid back, with some crafting, and some not! But great to get together with this group that met because our kids were in elementary school together, a long time ago.

I brought several projects to work on, because knitting is both work and play for me. Design projects, books for review, mindless knitting…and I shared some quick lessons in crochet, magic loop, and magic knot.

Lately I’ve been using Binkwaffle bags, one for each project, and then piling the collection into a larger bag or basket for transport around the house or out for travel. I like the smaller Dumpling bags for one or 2 skein projects, but last week I bought one larger Dumpling bag for a 3 skein bulky project (done and ready for secret pattern writing!). It’s too big for most days, but it came in handy this weekend.

These fabric bags are squishable but still have enough body to stand up by themselves while I’m working out of them, and the loop handle is great if you want to walk and knit at the same time. The large grommet for the handle to loop through means no yarn snagging. And the reversible fabrics are fun.

Guess which one Biscuit likes best?

I brought a couple mindless projects, which are great for social knitting. I finished a Kilter hat and started my replacement red Zephyr shawlette; I gave the original red Zephyr to my sister for her birthday. It was better than having her wait for me to knit the eventual replacement; this will be done…someday.

I spent some time reacquainting myself with the brioche stitch that I learned from JC Briar at Madrona. I had planned to knit only a couple repeats of this scarf pattern from the class handout, just to learn how to work the increases and decreases, but it’s really pretty and kind of addictive. I’ll just keep knitting as long as it’s engaging.

Dark side of brioche knitting

I can now tell where I am in the pattern, and don’t have to think so hard about the selvedge edges any more. I know that the increases and decreases only happen on the light side of the fabric, with the light yarn. But I’m operating a lot on instinct rather than reading the pattern, and can’t explain why it works. So I’ll keep going for a while!

My selvedges were wonky for the first few rows, and there’s one dark strand of yarn crossing where it shouldn’t, but otherwise things are looking pretty good. Onward!

The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places on earth. Watching the waves clears my mind, and walking on the beach makes me look at everything with a different eye. I’ll close with some pretty pictures, so you can feel like you were there, too.

This dog wandered into my picture and made it infinitely better. Serendipity!

A gift from the sea.

Transportation for sea life!

These pelagic gooseneck barnacles caught a ride on this tree. They’re a little dried out, not as spectacular as the ones I saw a couple years ago.

It was stormy when we arrived, so the next few days saw the beach littered with these pyrosomes, pelagic colonial tunicates. Weirdly pretty, but apparently no longer alive.

Wouldn’t this make a great gradient yarn?

Spectacular sunset this evening. #craftymomsweekend

A post shared by Michele Lee Bernstein (@pdxknitterati) on

And here’s your nine seconds of Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. Looking forward to the 15th annual Crafty Moms Weekend next year!

January: Resolutions or Goals? Classes!

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, because I know I won’t keep them. Why set myself up for failure? But I do like to set knitting goals for the year. This year, I plan to learn brioche knitting. I bought a book last year, and never even opened it. So I signed up for a class with JC Briar at Madrona next month. Gonna get it done!

But along came a Knitstrip project from Mason Dixon Knitting, a quick little one color brioche scarf, knit flat.

Brioche Scarf

That was easy! I loved the squishy Malabrigo Rasta so much, I decided I needed a cowl. In the round. Wait for class?

Brioche in the round

Nah. It was slightly more confusing with the purl stitch, but I worked it out. But I didn’t like the dimensions of this particular one skein cowl. It was too chunky at the back of my neck as a small circumference cowl, so I’m knitting an earband or hat (we’ll see!) directly off it from the bind off. Biscuit is helping.

I’m looking forward to learning to work with colors, increases, and decreases in brioche knitting at Madrona. And I’m looking forward to *teaching* at Madrona, too! I’m teaching Elongated Novelty Stitches on Saturday, February 18.

Elongated Stitches class

I love how these add pizazz to a simple stockinette project. I’m also teaching a blocking mini-class on Thursday morning, and a mini-class with just a couple novelty stitches (Tridacna Cowl) on Saturday morning. The whole Madrona schedule is here.

The other knitting that I’ve been doing a lot, from the teaching end, is stranded colorwork. In the past couple weeks, I’ve taught Braided Wristlets (stranded colorwork and Latvian braids)

Braided Wristlets Class

Bucket List Coffee Accessories (stranded colorwork and crocheted steeks)

Bucket List steeks

And Kerfuffle Cowl (stranded colorwork).

Leann's kerfuffle

Leann was so happy about class, she stayed up late that night and finished her cowl. She did a great job. (Thanks for sharing your picture with me, Leann!)

Stranded colorwork is nice and warm, because it has two layers of yarn on every row. Just right for the snowy weeks we’ve had. Ready to thaw out now!


Do you have knitting goals for this year? What do you want to learn?