Beginner’s Brioche

Brioche 1

The word Brioche may get you craving the warm, fluffy, diet-crushing French bread, but today we’re referring to a considerably less guilty indulgence (which is also quite fluffy in it’s own way): the Brioche knit stitch. A textured stitch pattern that creates a voluminous fabric with a ribbed look, with just as much elasticity as a traditional 1×1 rib. Brioche may look intimidating, but it really is just a combination of stitches you likely already know well: a few yarn overs, slipped stitches, knit-two-together and you’re set! The perks of Brioche stitch? It’s reversible, it creates a thick, cushy fabric, and looks gorgeous when done with two colors, which can create beautiful color work that is almost 3D in its plushy texture.

This stitch is ideal for projects where you’ll want lots of stretchiness, such as hats or fitted garments with negative ease, or when you don’t want a “wrong side” to your project, such as in scarves or blankets. With its almost double-knit texture, this stitch also creates a dense fabric with lots of structure, which can be useful for something like the collar of a sweater. Within Brioche stitch there are also a dozen variations, including Waffle Brioche, Twisted Brioche, Moss Brioche, Honeycomb Brioche, Double Brioche and more. Most create a reversible fabric, and many can be worked with one or two colours, with some even incorporating a third colour.

Brioche 4

Fancy giving Brioche a try? After all, this kind is calorie free, what do you have to lose? Join us at the shop for a Beginner’s Brioche class on December 6th, from 3pm – 4:30pm where you’ll learn how to knit a pair of reversible fingerless mitts with two colours, just like the one’s worn by the lovely Jenny seen here! The sample was knit with the multicolour Noro Kureyon and Lamb’s Pride Worsted in a solid shade.

Brioche knitting is seeing a comeback these days, thanks in part to Stephen West, who released several patterns recently all of which feature Brioche. The stitch beautifully highlights both colour and texture in his gorgeous designs, as seen in the “Bundled in Brioche” scarf where colour blocking and vertical stripes create a vibrant, plush scarf showcasing a spectrum of colours. Great for eating up leftover yarn from other projects!

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An important tip to remember when knitting Brioche is to use a cast-on and bind-off method that will allow for the large range of elasticity you’ll get with this stitch. In this case it is often suggested to use the Italian cast-on, or Tubular cast-on, which create a very elastic, ribbed “invisible” edge where stitches seem to wrap around the hem.

So, have you worked up an appetite for Brioche yet? What is your favourite Brioche pattern or one you’ve been hungry to try?