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Easy Steps and Knitting Tricks for Brioche Stitch

Brioche is a general term used for a variety of stitch patterns worked in similar ways with any knitting needle and yarn. Brioche knitting is believed to have originated in the Middle East however, the name "brioche" seems to have derived from French slang for "mistake". It is believed to be a reference to the roll formed of two pieces, one stacked atop the other. In the popular book "Treasury of Knitting Patterns" Barbara G. Walker writes, “Brioche patterns elements are: (1) a slipped stitch, and (2) a yarn-over; these are knitted together on the return row." The stitch pattern is worked as two rows, but technically it’s a one-row repeat, with the first row only being worked at the beginning of the pattern. The stitch pattern intimidates knitters, but it's beautiful and pretty easy too. In this blog, we’ll take you through the steps of knitting Brioche. We’ll also cover some helpful tricks that help you work with the stitch pattern.

Make sure to have your favorite knitting needle need you own. Given the requirement of yarn over and smooth flow of slipping stitches, many knitters prefer stainless steel knitting needles for Brioche.

Knitting Abbreviations for the Brioche Stitch 

Brioche has its own set of rules and abbreviations. It is important to forget some previously learned knitting know-how to create the gorgeous brioche texture. Like all stitch patterns in knitting, you have a knit and purl stitch worked differently though. You must understand yarn over (YO) and slipped stitch (Sl). Slip stitch in knitting is simply moving one stitch from one knitting needle tip to the other.

Yf = Yarn Forward. This knitting abbreviation refers to bringing the working yarn under the right needle to the front of the work.

Sl1YO = Slip 1 and yarn over. This step is different from lace knitting. So make sure to remember that. This term in brioche means to slip the next stitch purlwise.  Always that is one Stitch even though it may look like two on your knitting needle. Take care to not miscount.

BRK = Brioche Knit. This term instructs to knit the stitch together with its corresponding yarn over that was created on the previous row.

BRP = Brioche Purl. This means that you’ll be purl stitch together with its corresponding yarn over that was created on the previous row.

How to Knit the Brioche Stitch? 

The best way to learn brioche stitch and for that matter all knitting techniques is to knit a swatch. You can focus on mastering the new techniques without managing a pattern at the same time.

Brioche Knitting

Step 1: Cast on 

Cast on an even number of stitches. Brioche knitting creates a very elastic fabric so it’s recommended to start with a stretchy cast-on method, such as a long tail cast-on, tubular cast-on, etc. You can also cast stitches with two knitting needles (same size or even different sizes) for loose and stretchable stitches.

Step 2: Knitting 

Brioche works in two rows. You have a setup row and another row of repeat stitches.

Setup Row: Sl1, *Yf-Sl1-YO, k1* to 1 stitch before end, k1. Since brioche knit fabric is highly elastic, you need a selvedge (the first and last stitch of each row, also called selvage by many knitters). You can refer to our guide on how to create neat edges.

Then proceed with Row 1:

Row 1: Sl1, *Yf-Sl1-YO, BRK1* to 1 stitch before end, k1.

Repeat Row 1 until you reach your desired length.

Bind off loosely in k1, p1 rib, working all slipped stitches together with their YO’s.

That’s how you knit a Brioche stitch pattern. After practicing on a swatch, you can proceed with any knitting project. To help you get started, first take a look at these tricks.

Tricks to Get Started with Brioche 

Brioche stitch patterns have their own set of special stitches, unique charts, and working methods (each row is worked twice).  It is important to forget some previously learned knitting know-how to create the gorgeous brioche texture. A rebel of the knitting world that gives knitters freedom of expression, it is easy to handle with a few tricks.

1. Choose a Small Needle Size and Heavy Yarn Weight 

Use a knitting needle size smaller than mentioned in the knitting pattern on the yarn label. You can go one or three sizes down, depending on your knitting tension. Before you begin knitting your project, it is important to knit a gauge swatch.

2. Choose Yarn that retains its shape 

Brioche knitting has a stretchy effect so it’s better to stay away from slippery yarns. Try to find a wool blend or non-superwash wool for your project. It’s recommended to knit with yarns that retain their shape.

Also, another point to keep in mind is Brioche stitch patterns use twice as much yarn as a standard knitting project. So, make sure you have plenty of skeins on hand to not run out halfway through. As mentioned above it is recommended to always start with a gauge swatch. You will get an idea of how the yarn behaves and also the amount required for the stitch pattern.

4. Use a Loose Cast-On and Bind-Off 

The stretchy fabric resulting from Brioche stitches requires the same stretchiness in the cast-on and bind-off methods. Go for a needle one size larger than the needle you’re using for the project itself.

After binding off carefully weave in the yarn ends with a darning needle. Block your project with precision tools. You can refer to our guide on how to block knitted projects.

If you want to try your hand at knitting Brioche Stitch, start with a swatch. Move on to a basic pattern such as a scarf or a hat. You can even try a hand at two-color Brioche. In fact, working with two colors actually makes it easier to read your knitting and enjoy knitting.

Brioche or any other knitting pattern, the Mindful knitting collection has everything you need to assist with a smooth experience. The stainless steel knitting needles are available in options of double-pointed, fixed circulars, and interchangeable and specially designed knitting needles sets. With teal colors, mindful imagery and a unique inspirational word imprinted on its tip, the knitting collection is a prized possession for knitters.

mindful knitting