Brioche Besottedness: Dotty Wrist Warmers

July 25, 2022

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  • Thanks for another detailed article. It opens up so many possibilities and reminded me your shawl pattern is in my Ravelry library just waiting…

  • Kate, I wonder if you have ever done a close comparison of single-color brioche and fisherman’s rib? To me the result seems identical and I find the Fisherman’s rib much less fiddly.
    I would be so interested in your take!

    • I have! The end result is actually the same, it’s just the process that’s different. The Fisherman’s rib method doesn’t work (quite as well) with two colours, or if you’re doing increases or decreases.

    • Yep. They are the same. Funny, no one ever thought fisherman’s rib was hard.

      • You raise a good point, Marilyn! Brioche is perceived to be more difficult than fisherman’s rib, and more challenging to learn. There’s actually a a couple of really good reasons: it’s to do with the number of different “movements” involved in the brioche version, and the terminology. With the fisherman rib variant, there’s only one new “movement”, working into the stitch below, and it’s pretty easy to explain. (To be fair, sometimes there’s two, with a purl into stitch below, too.) With the brioche variant there’s four new stitches/movements, the sl1yo between knits, the sl1yo between purls and then brk and brp. And the challenge with these stitches and movements is that they use names of things we already know – slip and yo – to mean different things. And then we use new names to mean things we basically already know how to do – brk isn’t really all that different than a k2tog. To see all the new terms can be pretty off-putting! I’ll also defend that working a sl1yo is *weirder* than working a knit-into-stitch-below, and easier to mess up. I’ve taught both many times, and I’m confident in saying that the learning curve is steeper for brioche than fisherman’s rib. There’s more movements to learn, and the instructions are pretty off-putting. Once you’ve got the hang of them, they don’t feel difficult anymore, of course! But it’s all about the learning. Does that make sense?

  • I am fascinated with all this, as I have been knitting plain one color brioche for years and love it. Kay and Ann are wrong in their intro to the field guide: one color brioche flat is the easiest stitch ever. It’s a one row repeat! As for fisherman’s rib, I have found some people who confuse that with brioche. Following Barbara G. Walker’s instructions, brioche is less fiddly than fisherman’s rib. Anyway, I have found it so.

    • I agree, single-colour brioche worked flat is super-easy!

  • Great tips, so helpful thanks Kate! I’m definitely going to try the one color brioche.

  • Try it folks! My initial foray into brioche knitting was a freebie online pattern for a scarf, which I knit flat. The gal in the photo accompanying the pattern had used a gradient yarn & it looked bit off to me, so I opted for a single color: black baby alpaca with a few subtle silver sparkles. (This proved my only regret, since finding & fixing errors in black yarn was Really Hard & I do not recommend it for a first time single color brioche projeck). It wasn’t too hard to learn brioche stitches, but I do agree with Kate that it’s all about how we learn. I was ill at the time & this scarf took me several years to complete. Slowing down was the only level I had available!
    I knew most brioche was knit in two colors, but the pattern I had was evidence that Other Ways Exist, so I went for it. The cushiness of the fabric was kinda mind-blowing. Those mitts above in Seaglass may get me to ditch my pandemic penury & buy a skein of Atlas!

  • Thank you for your insight, as this brioche challenge has been both a head scratcher and frogging extravaganza. Once more into the fray!

  • Slowing down is good advice for many activities in life. I constantly have to remind myself that haste makes waste. This is especially true in learning brioche knitting!