Is brioche knitting new to you? You’re in luck!
Just a few months ago, brioche was a deeply mysterious technique for both me and Ann. We knit a lot (understatement), so I think we had both brioched-in-passing on a pattern or two, without knowing that what we were doing was in fact a technique that is a realm of its own, and Nancy Marchant its benevolent monarch.
So when it came time to write a little bit about brioche to accompany Nancy’s designs for MDK Field Guide No. 21: Brioche, both of us had to start at the very beginning, and learn the basics of brioche. We both started with the same project: the Cushiest Cowl.
A Very Good Place to Start
The learning curve on this one is short and sweet, and the end result—so quickly achieved, especially if you knit the smaller of the two sizes—is a smart, classic accessory that people will want to take off your neck. Our advice: go ahead and knit multiples of the Cushiest Cowl, it’s the perfect zoom knitting AND the perfect gift for that holiday stack you’ve been meaning to start.
The yarn: MDK Atlas. This springy 100% Rambouillet wool was born to brioche.
Simply by following the Cushiest Cowl pattern, you will learn:
The two simple set-up rounds for working brioche in the round
A maneuver known as the slip-1 yarnover or Sl1yo
Brioche knit (abbreviation: BRK, which the cool brioche kids pronounce as “bark”)
Brioche purl (BRP, or “burp” in cool kids-ese)
How to count rows and stitches in brioche
A few handy tips and tricks, such as making sure to drop your yarn to the front of the work at the end of each round, before changing colors
While you’re knitting the supremely simple Cushiest Cowl, you may start to wonder: what else can I do with these barks and burps, to mix things up? Nancy has you covered. Even on your first Cushiest Cowl, you’ll soon be brioching with confidence, and ready to throw in some simple texture patterns, just for fun.
That’s where the Dotty Wrist Warmers come in. Nancy designed these little cuffs as small vehicles for learning how to mix garter stitch into a fabric of brioche verticals.
And here’s the cool thing: these three stitch patterns are also ready to pop into the Cushiest Cowl—no math required. You can add just one pattern, or stack all three of them, sampler-style. Show off! Have fun! You’ve got this, and Nancy’s got you.
The dotty texture patterns are both written out and charted, so you can work according to your preference. But do check out the elegant chart symbols, which were invented by Nancy as a way of visually presenting brioche patterns to modern knitters. They are simply brilliant.
Is it just me who’s seeing these cute li’l wrist warmers doing double duty as classy koozies for cold beverages? I hope not!