Breezy Beginner Brioche Knit Along Day 1

 Breezy Scarf - A Beginner Brioche Knit Along

Breezy Scarf - A Beginner Brioche Knit Along

Welcome to the "Breezy" Scarf Knit Along.  I'm KnitDocDonna and I'll be your knitting coach and guide as we explore the basic brioche knitting technique and create "Breezy" together.  

The Stitch Pattern

The stitch pattern we'll be using is the Twisted Brioche which focuses on the Brioche Knit stitch only.  That means you will learn one of the fundamental stitches and learn it well so you'll be poised to confidently dive into other brioche projects if you choose!   It knits up quickly, and (trust me on this) is so easy it's addictive.  Just 3 rows to repeat makes Breezy a great no-think, anywhere knitting project.  The stitches are easy ones too!

Here's what else we'll learn today:

  • Overview of  brioche knitting and what makes it different than traditional knitting.
  • Cast-on over 2 needles
  • Working the Brioche Knit stitch aka BRK (bark) stitch
  • Working the pattern rows
  • Lifelines
  • Cast-off over 2 needles
  • Blocking brioche

So without further ado, let's find that comfortable knitting spot, gather our tools and materials .... I'm supplying the pattern, so let's go!

DOWNLOAD FREE PATTERN: Breezy Brioche Scarf Free Knitting Pattern

 Twisted Brioche Stitch - My WIP (work in progress)

Twisted Brioche Stitch - My WIP (work in progress)

What is Brioche Knitting?

Think about  a loaf of freshly baked Brioche bread. . . . . . . .   Are you thinking delicate, light and airy , but maybe dense and springy too? Uh huh, you're on the right track.

I happen to think that's  pretty descriptive of Brioche knitting too.  Unlike traditional knitting projects, the Brioche process will yield a fabric that is light and fluffy, dense and springy as well as having a 3 dimensional look. Pretty special? It certainly is and we're going to look at the process and give it a try.

How Brioche is Different

  • Takes 2x the amount of yarn than a traditional project.
  • A whole different knitting animal . . . a knit stitch is not just a plain knit stitch . . . it's 2 stitches thought of as one. Yarn overs are knitted together along with a slipped stitch from the previous row and are treated as 1 stitch.
  • Typically brioche projects take a little longer to create.
  • Takes 2 rows (or 4 rows depending on the design) of Brioche knitting to equal 1 row of a traditional knit.
  • Produces a very stretchy fabric that will need to be corralled by selvedge edgings.
  • The same stitch can be worked several ways.
  • Special elastic cast-on and off are required.
Brioche knitting encompasses many stitch techniques, stitch patterns and the ability to do reversible colorwork. The best way to successfully learn is with a one-color, simple stitch project and then build your techniques from there.
— Knitting Doctor Tip

I'll bet you're wondering if all this is worth the trouble.  Well, sure it is!  Like anything else, it looks complicated until you know how it's done and I'm going to walk you through Breezy's steps with lots of descriptive text, tips and images.  The possibilities, once you learn, are just amazing - let's get started! 

Let's Cast On

  1. We'll start by slipping our point protectors onto the tips of 2 of our double pointed needles and turn them into a set of straights needles (image above, left).
  2. Measure out 21" (more if widening project) and make a slipknot (image above, center left).
  3. Cast-on the specified number over both needles.  Use the standard long-tailed cast-on method (image above, center right).
  4. After all stitches are cast-on, gently slide out one of the double points and we're ready to knit Row 1 (image above, right).

The appearance is very much like a coil and looks a little odd, but wait until you see how well it works.  After blocking, this cast-on is going to result in a very well defined knife edge.

Brioche lace is extremely stretchy and we’ll want our cast-on to stretch along with the project if desired, but also have enough firmness that Breezy will not stretch out of shape (i.e. 2 needles allows for vertical stretch, long-tail for horizontal stretch and firmness) .
— Knitting Doctor Tip

This cast-on can also be executed using a single needle 3 sizes larger than the project needle.  Not as interesting I think, but still an option.  

Working the Pattern Rows
We're going to talk about each row and discuss how they are worked differently in Brioche than in regular knitting.

Beginning with Row 1
Take a look at the stitches below, but don't work them yet!
Row 1:  sl1, k1, *sl1yo, k2tog, rep from * to last 2 sts, k2. Now let's take a moment to talk about how this row is worked.

The Selvedges
The 2 beginning and 2 ending stitches are worked normally. Note: Having selvedge stitches at the beginning and end of the pattern stitches will contain the yarn overs and brioche knit stitches making the project easier to work.  

Body Stitches ( stitches after * that are repeated)

Are you reading this as slip 1, followed by a yarn over?  Nope, that's not it! In brioche it means this: 

sl1yo = yarn forward, slip 1 purl wise, knit 2 together

The yarn forward at the beginning of this process will automatically lay over the slip stitch as you knit 2 together.  This creates the yarn over.

You may also see the sl1yo shown in a pattern as yf, sl1yo. They both mean the same thing. . . . in the case of the sl1yo abbreviation, the yf (yarn forward) is implied.

Often you will see what you are “expecting” to see. Get into the habit of actively looking at a pattern row. If you notice in Row 1, the sl1yo is not separated by a comma and is a totally different process than slipping one then working a yarn over.
— Knitting Doctor Tip
 Completed Row 1 - the sl1yo appears as crossover stitches or little v's or x's.

Completed Row 1 - the sl1yo appears as crossover stitches or little v's or x's.

Row 2 Explained
Here is where we will be introduced to the Brioche Knit Stitch.

Brioche Knit Stitch = BRK  (bark)

Row 2 is coming right up.  Like Row 1, read through the row and the stitch descriptions first, then work the stitches.

 Here is what Row 2 should look like.

Here is what Row 2 should look like.

Row 2:  sl1, k1, *sl1yo, brk1, rep from * to last 2 sts, k2.

Selvedges are worked normally as in Row 1
Body Stitches (stitches after * that are repeated). Again, it is yarn forward, slip 1 purlwise, knit 2 together

This time the 2 stitches you are knitting together are the yarn over from Row 1 and the stitch you slipped on Row 1. This counts as 1 stitch and = a BRK1 or brioche knit stitch. Now you're set . . .  go ahead and work the row!

Knitting Doctor Tip:  Each time you see a BRK1 in a pattern you know you will see a slanted stitch and a straight stitch that you will work together.  One of the best ways I've seen this explained is *" a stitch with a shawl over it's shoulder".  That's pretty easy to spot and a good way to remember.

*Quote source:  Knitting Brioche - The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch - book by Nancy Marchant.

Ok, have you noticed the images of the completed Rows 1 & 2 are identical?  You're right!  So, how will you tell them apart?  We'll do Row 3 and then I'll give you a tip for figuring out what row you are on.
Now, moving on...last pattern row.

Row 3 Explained
This is the last row of the stitch pattern repeat and also where our "twist" happens.  Let's take a look at how this works.
Row 3:  sl1, k1, *k1, skip st under yo, k the yo (leave it on the left hand needle), then k the skipped st, slide both sts from needle; rep from * end with k2.

Take a look at the images above.  The yarn over actually stretches across the gap between the two needles.  You can't miss it.   If you need to move it down a little to really see it, use your finger to slide it downward a bit, moving it away from it's partnered stitch.  It will move easily!  

Go ahead and give it a try!    

Knitting Doctor Tip:  Count your stitches at the end of Row 3 to make sure you have not added any stitches.  This can happen if both strands are not slipped off the needle.

Here is what Row 3 looks like when completed (above, right). Notice no slanted stitches. All the stitches are knits and stand straight up.

Ok, now we know what all of the pattern rows look like after they are completed, but how can we tell whether we are on Row 1 or Row 2 . . .  they look identical. To see my solution, take a look marking our rows.

Marking our rows
As you continue to work the pattern row repeats, you begin to see that Breezy is totally reversible, so how do we tell what row we are on?

Try a moveable stitch marker (split ring or locking).  Here's how I place mine (image above, left).

  1. Row 1  Place marker towards the top of the needle facing your body as you begin Row 1 (image above, center).
  2. Row 2  the marker disappears, or if visible will be toward the bottom.
  3. Row 3  the marker is again at the top and you see those v shapes from the previous row (image above, right).
  4. Repeat step 1.

Congratulations!  You've now learned and worked the Brioche Knit stitch and the Twisted Brioche stitch pattern!
As you build confidence working this technique, you will pick up speed. Until then, how about a safety net or lifeline?

I use these a lot when working an openwork piece.  They are very simple to add and prevent dropped stitches if you must rip back.  You can add them anywhere,  I like adding them on the last row of a stitch pattern repeat and generally  slide them in every 4 repeats or so. 

Just thread a finishing needle and draw the lifeline fiber through the stitches on the needle and leave the scrap yarn hang out on both sides. Add as many as you like!

Use a smooth yarn for the lifeline scrap yarn. Fuzzy fibers will stick to the project fiber making it hard to remove.
— Knitting Doctor Tip
 Continue working the pattern rows, ending on Row 3, until you have this much yarn.

Continue working the pattern rows, ending on Row 3, until you have this much yarn.

Now we're ready to prepare to bind-off.  

Binding-Off Brioche Style
We're almost there and in order to have Breezy look the same from beginning to end we are going to work just 1 row as follows.

Knit 1 Row with 2 Double Points Held Together

Picking up 1 more double pointed needle we will knit one row with 2 of these held together.   Adding this knit row (when blocked) will actually mimic open look of the initial rows (images above, left and center).

Now work the traditional bind-off, again with the two double points again held together (image above, right).
Well Done! Now it's time to block!

Blocking Brioche
The Blocking Method
We've come full circle.  At the beginning of our Knit Along we took special care to make sure our very stretchy Brioche did not stretch out of place by adding selvedge stitches.  Now we're going to ensure that Breezy does not stretch in all the wrong places by using the right blocking technique to end our project.

Because we want a bit more control over how saturated our piece  will be, lets use the modified wet blocking technique.  We just need a spray bottle filled with tepid water and a little wool wash.

The Blocking Layout
Our layout will be easy.

  1. Center one end of the scarf on the blocking surface, spray until moist enough to mould but not waterlogged (images above, left).
  2. Gently press out with your hands (as shown above) to the desired width and pin (image above, center left).
  3. Moving down the piece, continue pressing, pinning, and widening until you reach the end (image above, center right).
  4. For additional length smooth lengthwise.
  5. Finish by spraying and securing the end (image above, right).
  6. Double check the width measurements at a couple of different spots and adjust where needed.

Allow to dry thoroughly - 24 hours is about right - and here it is!

Thank you one and all for being part of the beginners brioche journey and knitting along with me! I hope you've had as much fun as I did and that your finished Breezy is everything you hoped for!

Happy Knitting!
- KnitDocDonna

How Do I Follow Along

All of the posts will be on the here on the NobleKnits Blog. Add a bookmark! Join the KAL group on Ravelry. Be sure to follow nobleknits on InstagramTwitterTumblr, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #BreezyKAL to follow the knit along or post pictures of your progress.

Donna Pelzar

Donna (aka the Knitting Doctor) is the face behind The New Street Knitter patterns. She teaches knitting instruction for all skill levels in her studio and loves to focus on techniques and interesting stitch patterns. She recently expanded into pattern design and we are thrilled to be able to offer her patterns at NobleKnits. Donna also hosts all of our Knit Alongs.