Welcome the New Season With Up to 70% Off Yarn. Shop & Save Now!


  • What is Brioche Stitch?


    If you're looking to make something extremely warm and cozy while also learning a new technique, brioche stitch is a great choice. The stitch is made by working yarn overs and slipped stitches, and knitting (or purling) them together to create what looks like an extremely puffy one-by-one rib. Confused? That's OK, it makes more sense when you try it.

    Brioche is a little complicated and confusing when you first set out to try it, but starts to make more sense when you get into it. If you try to read a brioche pattern without working it, your eyes will probably glaze over and cross, but I promise -- it's not so bad once you learn the terminology and get a feel for the stitches. In fact, it's addictive -- you'll be cranking out lofty, toasty pieces in one color and two color brioche, worked flat and in the round, and so on.

    You have to start with a set-up row, and you have to know what the terms are. Yes, it has its own terms -- and its own website, which is where the following terms came from:

    BRK -- brioche knit, or "bark" -- knit the slipped stitch from the previous row together with the YO next to it

    BRP -- brioche purl, or "burp" -- purl the slipped stitch from the previous row together with the YO next to it

    sl1yo -- this is where the brioche stitch gets its puff, and it's done differently depending on whether you're working a "bark" or "burp" row. When it follows a knit or BRK stitch, it goes as follows: bring the yarn UNDER the needle to the front, slip the next stitch, then move the yarn OVER the needle to the back. When it follows a purl or BRP, you slip the stitch THEN move the yarn over the needle to the back, around the slipped stitch, and back to the front.

    If you're working a flat piece, you only need two rows: the set-up row and the BRK row. To do that, you'll cast on an even number of stitches. Then work the set-up row as follows: *sl1yo, k1* across. Every row after that will be: *sl1yo, BRK* across.

    You'll need the BRP row if you decide to work brioche in the round (which you should -- a brioche cowl is just about the most luxurious thing to wear when it's bitterly cold out). You'll cast on an even number of stitches again, and, working in the round, do the same set-up row: *sl1yo, k1* around. Then you will alternate between two rows. Row 1 is * sl1yo, brk1* around. Row 2 is *brp1, sl1yo* around.

    You can also work brioche with two colors, which gives a garment a beautiful depth. You can read about that here, but wait until you've got the hang of single color first. As you can see below in the Triple Ruff pattern, two-color brioche looks fantastic and rich.

    Don't be scared to try brioche stitch! It looks complicated, but you'll get the hang of it really fast, and then you'll have a pretty new technique in your repertoire. The best way to learn it is to just do it. Work the stitches as you read about them, so you can see and feel what they are.

    Tagged In: Read More
  • Swatch This!

    A Quick Lesson in How to Make a Swatch

    Now that I've convinced you about the importance of swatching, let's talk about how to properly make a swatch. If you want your swatch to be accurate and relevant to your project, there are two factors that must not be overlooked: stitch pattern, and size.

    The project pattern should tell you what stitch pattern to work your swatch in [e.g., GAUGE: 9 sts = 4" (10 cm) in St st]. Many times this will be stockinette stitch, but do be sure to use the stitch pattern called for if it differs. Lace and cable patterns will often have a quite different gauge than stockinette worked with the same yarn and needles. And remember, you're not just making a swatch for gauge: you want to see if the beautiful lace pattern you’ve chosen shows up when you work it with that deep purple yarn you fell in love with. Better to find out now than after you’ve completed an entire sweater back!

    The size of your swatch is also very important. The standard these days is for pattern writers to tell you how many stitches and rows should equal a 4" (or 10 cm) square. This does not mean that you should cast on that many stitches and work that many rows and end up with a 4" square! Edge stitches and cast on/off edges will affect the size of your swatch. You should plan for a few rows and stitches of garter stitch border –- I usually cast on an extra 3-5 stitches total (3 for a larger gauge, 5 for a finer gauge) and work 4 rows of garter stitch at the top and bottom. (You will want to do this even if your swatch is in garter stitch, to allow for the edge stitches.)

    Finally, you absolutely must remove your knitting from the needles before measuring your gauge. Don't stretch your work when measuring (even if it’s ribbing), and be sure to count fractional stitches. A quarter of a stitch doesn’t seem like much, but over several inches it’s going to add up.

    Now that you've properly swatched, measured, and seen and felt how your finished fabric is going to look, you're ready to cast on your project. Good luck, and enjoy knowing that you've taken steps to ensure that your project is going to be a success!

    Related link:

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

    Tagged In: Read More