Oh good lord it was a brioche binge this weekend. I mean: head-down, burrow-in, get-down, two-color brioche.
I am loving it. Whatever happens, I’m going to have one fluffy wrap to wear down in my bunker.
Bristol Ivy’s Nesting Wrap is a pattern that has been tempting me ever since I wound the yarn a few weeks ago.
One of the reasons I wanted MDK to offer a brioche pattern is because I wanted to learn how to knit brioche. No better way than with a straightforward rectangle with some shifty bits to keep it interesting.
This yarn is Jade Sapphire Cashmere 4-ply. I can easily imagine this pattern worked in all sorts of yarns—anything buttery and fluffy. That said, I am a total goner for this particular cashmere stuff.
These two shades, Stonehenge and Pebble Beach, violate a popular belief that two-color brioche should have a lot of contrast in the colors. It’s true: these colors do not even remotely contrast with each other. At certain times of the day, this looks like a project knit with one color of yarn. Hell, they may BE the same color.
At 10:34 am, in Nashville, it looks two-color brioche. Or almost-two-color brioche. I guess it’s a secret-handshake sort of two-color brioche.
ANYWAY. Here are tips I’ve written down so far. They make sense once you’ve begun knitting this project.
Tips for Two-color Brioche Success
- Enjoy the gray area. The first 44 rows will take a while—think of them as the training wheels part of the Nesting Wrap. You’re knitting each row two times, once with each color. There is sliding of stitches back to the other end of the needle. There are four different kinds of rows to work. You are throwing yarnovers all the time. This is not a garter-stitch blanket, y’all. Don’t get frustrated if it seems like your brain is working a little more than usual. You’re making something very cool. It’s worth it. If you do exactly what the pattern tells you to do, it works. Amazing! And Bristol’s pattern includes helpful tips for figuring out what row to knit next if by chance you forget where you are.
- Pay attention to the beginning and end of rows. Row 1 starts with a knit stitch, Row 2 with a slipped stitch. Etc. Once you learn the rhythm of the four-row brioche stitch pattern, it gets easier, fast. Rows 1 and 3 use Color A; Rows 2 and 4 use Color B.
- It grows fast. Size 10 1/2 needles. 57 stitches per row. Half the stitches on each row are slipped. See? That’s a recipe for cranking a lot of knitting.
- Spread out your stitches. The weird thing in brioche is that you’re constantly working a yarnover plus a knit stitch together as one stitch. That’s what creates the woven-looking part between the columns of knit stitches. This starts to feel normal quickly. But at first you’re all: which stitch does that yarnover belong to? Spreading out your stitches lets you see the lay of the land.
- Mind your markers. The yarnovers sometimes jump over a marker. This is to be expected! These yarnovers must be disciplined most severely and returned to their proper place.
- Use beautiful yarn. Because you’re spending time with this project, you might as well enjoy the materials.
A Good First Project
For everyone wanting to try out a little brioche, our free Never Fail Muffler by Alice Beltran is a quick starter project for getting the rhythm of brioche stitch. It’s so low-dose a pattern that the word brioche doesn’t even appear in there.
We’re going to be launching a new batch of very pretty yarn that works with Alice’s pattern, so watch for that in next Saturday’s Snippets newsletter. (If you have somehow not signed up for Snippets, there’s a signup box on this page. We’re cooking up Snippets surprises and fun. If you’re into that sort of thing.)