Knitting: Learning a new stitch: Brioche

Why do you knit?

As I have talked about before it is very much a therapeutic past time for me and I sometimes feel a day is not complete unless I have knitted one row. Be that 10 stitches of 200 stitches.

But I also like trying new things. Be that new yarn or notions and tools or techniques. Since the beginning of my knitting journey I have been fascinated with cables and after my most recent two cabled jumpers Ondawa and Caradon Hill jumper I feel like I am a tad cabled out.

So what is there next to try? Well the shawl along at YAK to the rescue.It was the perfect opportunity to try brioche. I have had the book “Fresh Brioche” by Nancy Marchant for half a year (it was a Christmas present) but have been too intimidated to try it.

In the shawl along you have the attention of a teacher and the support of your fellow students so I felt like giving it a go. It was a rocky ride. Not only was there a standard brioche stitch but there was an Italian cast on and off, increases and decreases, remembering not to count yarn overs and some general what seemed like madness. But after 4 rows you start to see that things aren’t getting twisted but they are working out and growing into a squishy brioche fabric.


I can highly recommend Nancy’s book. She has pictures and instructions for all stitches you will encounter in the 13 patterns for english and continental style knitting. How awesome is that!?

Other things I learned were:

  1. Youtube is your friend for italian cast on. It is so simple but hard to tell at first.
  2. Don’t use slippery needles. I opted for bamboo chiaogoo ones. When you cannot read the knitting and stitches yet the yarn overs can be really fast to slide off, and the liklihood os so much higher using metal needles.
  3. Make a swatch using thicker yarn. I used DK and light worsted for my first swatch. I am also knitting my first project in DK but I see how fingering weight will be lovely.
  4. You may need to use a bigger needle size than you think. I found that the needle size I was drawn too made a really dense fabric instead of squishy.
  5. Don’t use something like mohair or other sticky yarn when you start as you will rip back and the sticky fibres may make this difficult.
  6. Do be patient. The patterns take a few rows to appear.
  7. Practice the pattern by making a swatch – I was so thankful for this and even restarted my shawl because I made silly mistakes early on.
  8. Rip back a stitch at a time.
  9. Have fun! Bright colours together, contrasts, one colour brioche. So many exciting options.





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