Stitch Lab is a series on new techniques and stitches for knitters of all skill levels. Each week, we’ll cover a new topic and introduce helpful tips, tutorials, and information on how to create effects with knitted stitches! Each time, our Stitch Lab will occur both on the blog and in person (on the Knit Night following the Stitch Lab Blog post!) Keep an eye out for our newsletter to see pattern suggestions featuring these techniques, too!
We wanted to cover the basics of simple, single-color brioche here on the blog, so that those of you planning on attending the Stitch Lab on April 9th can get a head start (in case you have questions or run into an issue), and those of you reading and participating long-distance don’t miss out on this fun and interesting technique for creating squishy knits!
For basic brioche stitch, the first step is to cast on an even number of stitches. Many brioche patterns include selvedge stitches that will flank the actual brioche pattern (and provide an easy place to seam if you’re making a garment) — in the case of this swatch, we are not including selvedge stitches. Make sure you take note of what your pattern says on the matter!
The next step is to do the first row, which is incidentally a set up row — it gets all of your stitches ready and in the right places. You’ll start by slipping the first stitch purlwise, with the yarn in front. In brioche, your yarn placement is very important — in a moment, you’ll see why.
Remember, the yarn is coming around the front of your needle. The next step is a knit — basically, you’ll be forming a yarn over that will cross the knitted stitch, creating what is referred to as a ‘bark’ stitch (abbreviated brk in many brioche patterns).
As you can see, the working yarn is coming from the front, around the needle and around the back to form the knitted stitch. This forms a yarn over/cross and knits the stitch in one single step. Don’t worry about how jumbled it looks! We promise it’s right!
See how you’ve created a stitch that is essentially crossed over? This is that ‘bark’ we talked about. The next step is to slip another stitch as if purling, with the yarn in back. Then, you’ll bring the yarn back around the front to create the next bark (crossed) stitch. You’ll continue this pattern across this set up row until you reach the end. If the last stitch is a knit, you will still bring the yarn over to place it in front — this is essential if you do not have selvedge stitches (more details on this in a moment.)
Now it’s time to begin the next row — the first real row of brioche. If your first stitch is a crossed stitch (a bark in the set up row) you will need to k2tog. If it was a slipped stitch, you will slip it with the yarn in front.
The first stitch you come to that is crossed (you will be able to tell because it looks like two stitches close together), you k2tog :
Suddenly, this stitch is alone, and the next one is a slipped stitch. You’re going to partner this stitch up with the other type of crossed stitch — what is referred to as a burp, or brp, stitch in brioche. It is formed in much the same way as the knitted crossed stitch, the bark (brk).
Just slip the purl stitch with the yarn in front and move the yarn over the needle and to the back for the next k2tog. As you can see, this ‘partners’ the purl stitch with a cross over, and changes the doubled stitch from the previous round into a single stitch.
On the next round, you’ll be doing bark stitches instead of burps — as you come to the partnered/crossed stitches, you’ll k2tog, and you’ll bring the yarn to the front, slip a stitch, cross the yarn over the needle to the back, and k2tog again. You’ll repeat this across the row.
Now, remember that we mentioned earlier about selvedge stitches? In a pattern that doesn’t have selvedge edges, you will run into a crossed stitch at the end (and the beginning) of your next row. Here’s how to work that stitch correctly in pattern. You have just ended on a k2tog, and the last stitch would be a slip. Your yarn is positioned in the front, you slip the stitch, and turn the work. Keep the yarn in the back! Do not bring it around the side.
On this row, that stitch is considered a crossed or partnered stitch — treat it as such by inserting your needle, wrapping the yarn around and knitting it! As you can see — having a selvedge stitch here would be much easier.
But once you’ve passed the edge stitch, it’s all the same the rest of the way down — k2tog the partnered stitches, bring the yarn to the front, slip the next stitch, cross the yarn over the needle and k2tog! You’ll start to see the pattern form after a few rows:
If you try this on your own and are having issues, here are some videos that we found helpful. These videos also cover two-color brioche rib, when you’re ready.
Did you make a mistake? Here’s how to fix it:
And, last but not least, if you’re feeling ambitious, here are some other brioche stitches to try:
We hope you love learning Brioche and stay tuned for each of our weekly Stitch Labs for April! We’ll be covering the material both on the blog and in person at the store — the session on Brioche will happen during our weekly Knit Night time on April 9!