Learn Brioche

What is Brioche ?  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.

So let's get experimenting!

Below are links to my favourite web sites that helped me get started or I have since produced.

 • One colour Brioche stitch , knitted flat and in the round 

• Two colour brioche worked flat 

• Brioche increases and decreases  - Sandra's video tutorials

  Try out my free pattern - 2 coloured Brioche cowl in the round - I found this the easiest way to learn brioche. When working 2 colours its easier to see exactly where you are. Working in the round you don't have to worry about the edge stitches (do you knit, purl or slip stitches, always a confusion!).  


Before you start, take a look at the above links and please don't be intimidated by the terminology. Nancy Marchant who hosts a beautiful web site all about Brioche, developed 2 basic Brioche stitches that once you get used to them, does open up the world of Brioche for you. 

That is the BRK and the BRP. For the basic brioche without any increases and decreases then all other abbreviations are the same as normal. 

brk (brioche knit – also known as a bark) = knit the stitch that was slipped in the previous row together with its yarn over.

brp (brioche purl – also known as a burp) = purl the stitch that was slipped in the previous row together with its yarn over.

  TIP (this is the bit that really confused me to start and is not really mentioned in patterns I found)When doing the Sl1yo, the action works differently for a bark row than for a burp row, but one manipulation remains standard–that the working yarn must always be in front before slipping the stitch. On a burp row the working yarn is in place before slipping the stitch but in a bark row you need to first bring the yarn to the front and then slip the stitch. This stitch, with its yarn-over shawl, is considered one stitch when worked.sl1yo following a k or brk st = bring the working yarn under the needle to the front of the work, slip the next stitch purlwise, then bring the yarn over the needle (and over the slipped stitch) to the back, in position to work the following stitch.sl1yo following a p or brp st = working yarn is already in front, slip the next stitch purlwise, then bring the yarn over the needle (and over the slipped stitch), then to the front under the needle, into position to work the following stitch.

5 minute video explaining the 2 coloured Brioche process. Janet Collins (Chairperson of the Knitting & Crochet Guild) is following the “Swivel Gloves” Brioche Knitting pattern. She explains how to perform 2 rows of the 2 coloured Brioche. This was a totally unscripted recording taken in the middle of one of Wild About Wools yarn markets, so excuse the background noise. I think she explains the process very well. Thanks Janet x

Heatwave Cowl

Now you have mastered the basics you are ready to move into a little bit of Brioche increasing and decreasing to make the lovely Heatwave Cowl.


Heatwave Cowl

This video shows all the decreases and increases performed in the heat wave cowl. The Right Slant decrease, then the 4 stitch increases and then the Left slant decrease. 

Happy knitting x