What is Brioche Knitting? Brioche knitting is a distinctive knitted ribbing technique that is recognisable by its heightened, doughy texture. The fabric is achieved by alternating columns of slipped stitches with yarnovers (SL1YO's) and knit stitches (BRK's) (or purl stitches, but we’ll get to that later).
Apparently the earliest Brioche patterns were written in the mid-1800s England for cushions and footstools that very much resembled the puffs of brioche pastry most of us are familiar with. The cushions used the brioche stitch that we still use today; however, throughout time we’ve experimented with our knitting to be able to make more than just pillows and cushions with the stitch.
I believe the best way to learn Brioche stitch (and all knitting techniques!) is to knit a swatch before diving in with a pattern. I certainly wish I had done that. It took me a week of constantly ripping out my work before I could complete my 1st Broche scarf (It did include increases and decreases though). So here's the swatch.
Cast on 16 stitches (or any number of stitches as long as its an even number) with your preferred method.
To establish the pattern, first complete a Setup Row:
Setup Row: *SL1YO, K1 ; repeat from * to end (SL1YO is explained below)
Note: The first and last stitch of each row is a selvedge stitch. Since brioche knit fabric is highly elastic, this selvedge will help stabilise your swatch and create neat edges.
Then proceed with Row 1:
Row 1: *SL1YO, BRK1; repeat from * to end (BRK is explained below)
Repeat Row 1 until your swatch reaches your desired length. Cast off loosely in K1, P1 rib, working all slipped stitches together with their YO’s.
Happy and ready to start making something useful? start with the Simple Brioche Headband free pattern by clicking on the button below. You'll need to familarise yourself with 2 new knitting abbreviations SL1YO and BRK before you start , (ie work the swatch above) Once you've mastered the headband, why not knit a matching scarf.