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Brioche Basics

I've created a tutorial video on the basics of 2-color brioche. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with brioche.

  • You will work each row twice: once with the main color and again with the contrasting color. To do this, you'll need to use a circular or double pointed needle as you'll be sliding the stitches down to the other end to work them again rather than turning every row.
  • Part of forming brioche is to create a little yarn over "shawl" that goes over every other stitch. When you do this, the yarn over is not a separate stitch but part of the stitch it passes over. These should be counted as one stitch and worked together.
  • I forgot to mention this in the video, but the abbreviations for the brioche knit and purl stitch are brk and brp, which most people pronounce as bark and burp. (I have to admit that I get a kick out of "burping" across the row.)
  • Brioche creates a fabric that is very easy to stretch, so patterns will often call for a needle size smaller than you might normally use for that yarn weight. If you're finding your fabric too open, you may want to go down a needle size or two, especially as blocking will often open the fabric even more (especially if you're using a superwash wool or other slippery fiber).
  • If you make a mistake and need to tink back or rip out, pay close attention to those yarn over "shawls" as it is really easy to lose them (ask me how I know!). Go slowly, especially when you are first learning the structure of brioche fabric. Stitch markers that open and close can be lifesavers in catching stitches that are falling down (this tip is not just for brioche).
  • If you want to learn more about brioche, I recommend looking up Nancy Marchant, who is one of the top experts in brioche. Her website has a lot of helpful information, and she also has a Craftsy class.

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