Racing Stripes 2-Color Brioche Scarf Knitalong Day 1

Racing Stripes 2-Color Brioche Scarf KnitAlong

Racing Stripes 2-Color Brioche Scarf KnitAlong

Hello NobleKnitters!  It's Donna, the Knitting Doctor at NobleKnits, here today to knit along with you as we create our "Racing Stripes Scarf," a beauty of a brioche knit.  

We'll be building our scarf with colored ribbing quite unlike anything you have knitted before. Ridges will be more pronounced and furrows will appear much deeper making the most of our contrasting colors. Our finished project will have lots of spring and be totally reversible too. You'll want to keep squeezing this as you go, I promise. And it will be easy to navigate brioche territories, once you know the way and I'm about to show you. After a few inches you won't even need to look at the pattern.

What You'll Learn Today

  • 2-Color Cable Cast-On
  • Brioche Knit Stitch (BRK)
  • Brioche Purl Stitch (BRP)
  • Basic Brioche Selvedge Edging
  • Working Brioche With 2 Colors
  • Lifelines
  • Joining New Yarn

What You'll Need:

  • 2 skeins each of 2 colors Ewe So Sporty Yarn (4 skeins total)
  • Size 4 circular 16" needle or size 4 double pointed needles 
  • Size 6 circular or double pointed needles (for cast-on only)
  • 18" length of waste yarn (smooth texture and similar weight or less) - Optional for lifelines
  • Finishing needle 

Now that we have our tools, lets start with some Brioche Basics!

The Fundamentals

One of the most important aspects of brioche to learn is that every completed row is comprised of 2 rows of knitting. This is important!  In other words, there will be 2 rows for the right side row (RS) and 2 rows for the wrong side (WS). Totally different than traditional knitting.

And because we will be working with  2 colors the first row of each 2 row pairing will be worked with the main color and the second row of the pairing in the contrasting color. 

Choosing Sides

Before we start we'll need to make a choice. We'll need to choose our main color. Picked your main color? Good. From here on out we'll refer to it as Color A and the contrast color will be Color B.

Here's my pick:

  • A = Charcoal
  • B = Lavender

Knitters Tip:  There are a couple of ways that brioche patterns list color A & B.  You could also see them referred to as:

  • MC = Main Color, CC = Contrast color
  • LC= Light Color, DC = Dark Color
  • LS = Light Side, DS = Dark Side

The main color we selected as our color A will also be the 1st color used in our 2-color cast-on coming up next.

Casting-On

One of the hallmarks of brioche is the need to start with a "very" loose cast-on. Because brioche knitting tends to create a fabric with lots of horizontal as well as vertical stretch, we'll want a cast-on that can accommodate that give but still be simple enough to work with 2 colors and provide a firm foundation.   

How To Keep It Loose - Up That Needle Size

To get enough enough slack in our cast-on we are going to go up 2 needle sizes from the project needle. I like this method best for a ribbed brioche fabric. Our cast-on will be loose enough, and the stitch size fairly consistent.

Knitters Tip:  An alternative method is to use the project needle, but work the cast-on over both tips held together. This 2 tip method works best on lace or brioche pattern stitches that are fairly open and with a 1 color cast-on. The downside is the 2 point method takes a little practice to produce uniformly loose stitches.

Let's Cast On - How To Work The 2-Color Cast-On

1.  Leaving approximately 5" tails and a needle 2 sizes bigger, make a slipknot with both strands of yarn. Keep the main color (Color A) at the bottom and the contrast color (Color B) closer to the needle tip. 

Note: My main color is Charcoal and my contrast color is Lavender.

IMPORTANT:  We're going to drop those 1st 2 stitches after we work across the 1st row , so don't count them in your cast-on number!

2.  Now, insert the tip of the right needle between those 1st 2 stitches, wrap the main color yarn and draw thru a loop.

3.  Give that loop a half-twist and place it back on the left hand needle.
4.  Repeat the process again, this time using the contrast color.

5.  To ensure that the braided edge is worked in the correct alternating color sequence, make sure when changing colors the new color is brought forward and under the previous strand. Can you see it in the image above?  Yes, the next stitch is going to be Lavender and there it is right in the front ready to wrap. 

Now we're ready to actually cast-on. Alternate the colors, and use the larger needle. Take a look at the pattern and cast-on the number of stitches indicated.  Remember that we are going to drop the 2 slipknot stitches, so make sure to cast-on enough!

We'll start and end with our Color A  

As we continue to build our Cast-on row, this is what our work should look like.

As we continue to build our Cast-on row, this is what our work should look like.

Pretty close?  Great, then let's continue. Cast-on that final stitch, check the stitch count and color sequence.

Knitters Tip:  “When casting-on with 2 colors, occasionally check the bottom braid to make sure the braided strands are uniform. If too loose, gently pull on the working yarn of the loose stitch to take up any obvious slack.”

Now we're ready for the real work.

How To Begin:

Selvedge Stitches  

We built a firm foundation with our cast-on and now we'll want to add a selvedge stitch at each end to further support the stitches. After working a few inches you'll start to see the vertical and horizontal give and we'll be glad to have those little garter fenceposts.

In addition to containing the stitches, adding selvedge stitches to a brioche project not only keeps the edges tidy, but helps make working the initial yarnovers much easier. You'll see what I mean as we go along.

We are going to treat these selvedges as stand alone stitches, not part of the brioche row. That's important to know because as we walk through the rows you'll see we position our yarn to be ready for the 1st brioche stitch and treat our last yarn forward differently before that end selvedge. No worries though. I'm going to spell it all out. So, let's begin . . . 

What's Next? In this section we are going to learn: 

  • How to understand and work the set up row
  • Brioche abbreviations for knitting and purling:

Working the Setup

Our setup row for this project is going to be a WS row. Change to the project needle (Size 4) and now we're ready to work the setup with our color B as follows:

Pattern Says:  

Setup Row (WS) With B (contrast color), k1, *yfslyo, k1: rep from * across

Walking Through The Row Stitch By Stitch

What This Means:  

  1. Knit 1 (the selvedge stitch) Then

       2. Yf (yarn forward between the needles)

       3. Slip the next stitch purlwise

       4.  Knit 1

Steps 2 thru 4 are the stitch repeats that will be worked across the row.  

You'll work these to the last 3 stitches.  Work the last knit 1 then drop the 2 slipknot stitches.

We've now increased our sittch count with our yarn forwards. Take a moment to do a quick stitch cound. We should be at 58 stitches.

We've now increased our sittch count with our yarn forwards. Take a moment to do a quick stitch cound. We should be at 58 stitches.

Knitters Tip:  For the setup row notice that every stitch that is slipped is a main color or color A stitch.  As you work across this row, if you find you are slipping a contrast or color B stitch you have gotten off-track.

Bringing the yarn forward between the needles will automatically lay over the left hand needle and create a yarn over as you knit the next stitch.

Tuck that little snippet of info away.  It will be key to understanding how  brioche works and we'll see that in a bit.

Pattern Rows

Now we are ready to begin the repeatable rows and where  Row A (Color A) and Row B (Color B) come into play.  

Look at the image above (Image 1). We've just worked across the setup or wrong side row with our Color B and you'll see the yarn tails and the working yarn of our contrast color are all at the bottom end. At the top is the main color.  

*We are going to clip that main color end leaving enough tail to weave in later (Image 2).

Now both of our colors (plus the slipknot ends) are at the starting line and this is going to be our first right side row and we're beginning with Color A our main color.

Starting The First Row - Row 1A (Right Side) Main Color

1.  Turn the work just as in standard straight knitting.

2.  Re-attach the main color.

Note that both colors (plus the slipknot ends) are all at our starting line and the beginning of the right side row.

Note that both colors (plus the slipknot ends) are all at our starting line and the beginning of the right side row.

Next up, starting the actual pattern row and the fun begins...we're on to the 1st brioche stitch abbreviation.

Brioche Abbreviation

BRK:  Brioche Knit stitch.  The BRK (pronounced brick or bark) is nothing more than knitting the stitch that was slipped on the previous row and it's adjacent yarnover.  I.E. the yarnforward hangs out over the slipped stitch.  They function as a pair and are counted as ONE STITCH.

Slip stitches and their adjacent yarnovers

Slip stitches and their adjacent yarnovers

Now we'll work the row.

Pattern Says:  

k1, *brk, yfslyo; rep from * to last to 3sts., brk, k1

Walking Through The Row Stitch By Stitch

What This Means

  1. Knit 1  (the selvedge stitch)

Then
       2. brk = knitting the next stitch together with it's yarnover

       3. yf  (yarn forward between the needle)

       4. slip the next stitch purlwise  

Repeat steps 2 thru 4 across to the last 2 stitches.  

Is that right???  I have 3 stitches left.  What did I do wrong?

3 Stitches Left - Now What? Read on to find out

3 Stitches Left - Now What? Read on to find out

Nothing wrong...remember that we're considering the knit stitch and it's yarn over as 1 stitch, so even though you might be counting 3 stitches at the end of the row, in brioche there are only 2...the brioche knit which is the knit stitch + yarnover and the 1 end selvedge knit stitch.

Finish With

  1. BRK = knitting the next stitch together with it's yarnover
  2. Knit 1  
  3. Completing The First Row - Row 1B (Right Side) Contrast Color
Slide Your Work to the opposite end

Slide Your Work to the opposite end

Do not turn your work.  SLIDE YOUR WORK  to the opposite end as shown in the image above. This is where the contrast color (Color B) is waiting ready to become the working yarn.   

Now we're ready to complete the final step of Row 1 which includes our next brioche stitch abbreviation.

Brioche Abbreviation

BRP:  Brioche Purl stitch.  The BRP (pronounced burp) is nothing more than purling the stitch that was slipped on the previous row and it's adjacent yarnover.  They also function as a pair.in the same manner as the brioche knit or BRK.

Now we'll work the row.

Pattern Says:  

k1, *yfslyo, brp: repeat from * to the last 2 stitches, yfslyo, k1

Walking Through The Row Stitch By Stitch

What This Means

  1. knit 1  (the selvedge stitch)

Then
       2. yarn forward, slip the next stitch purlwise

YF = Forward. Here the yarn is already forward.

YF = Forward. Here the yarn is already forward.

      3.  yf = yarn forward.  Here the yarn is already forward - move the yarn back over the needle and again forward between the needles as shown in the image above

      4.  burp = purl the next stitch together with is's adjacent yarnover

Repeat steps 2 thru 4 across to the last 2 stitches.  

Knitters Tip: Typical knitting projects will work the yarnover (or yarn forward) before a slipped stitch. Brioche knitting on BRP rows places the yarnover (or yarn forward) AFTER the slipped stitch. With practice this will become automatic when working Brioche.

Finish With

  1.  yf = yarn forward between the needles
  2.  slip 1 purlwise
  3. k 1 

Knitters Tip: This last yarn forward we are going to treat differently. As it is next to the selvedge which is a knit stitch there is no need to wrap. Just the process of moving it forward (before the last slipped stitch) will set it up to lie over the last brioche stitch (very much as during the setup row).

Starting Second Row - Row 2A ( Wrong Side) - Main Color

Turn the work.  Once again we are back with our main color, color A and we'll be working the first part of our 2 wrong side rows.

Pattern Says:  

k1, *brp, yfslyo, rep from * to last 2 stitches brp, .k1

Walking Through The Row Stitch By Stitch

What This Means

  1. knit 1  (the selvedge stitch) 

Then
       2. yarn forward, then brp= purl the next stitch and it's adjacent yarnover together.  

       3  slip the next stitch purlwise

       4. yf  = yarn forward.  The yarn is already forward - move the yarn back over the needle and again forward between the needles.

Repeat steps 2 thru 4 across the row to the last 2 stitches. Remember that the slip stitch and its adjacent yarnover will be worked as one stitch and it's the BRP or Brioche Purl.

Finish With

  1.  brp = purl the next stitch and it's adjacent yarnover
  2.  move working yarn to the back, knit 1 (the ending selvedge stitch)

Knitters Tip:  It pays to go slowly with your stitching until you get the brioche concept. It won't take long. Remember that this is an entirely different animal than standard knitting but also a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

Once you have the concept, take a few seconds at the beginning of the rows to ensure you will be working the correct stitch. BRK and BRP can look very much alike when written in the pattern.  

Completing Second Row - Row 2B ( Wrong Side) Contrast Color

Slide the work to the opposite end to begin this row with our contrast color, color B.  Here we'll be working the second part of our 2 wrong side rows and the last row of our pattern sequence. 

Pattern Says:  

k1, * yfslyo, brk,  rep from * to last 2 stitches  yfslyo, k1., 

Walking Through The Row Stitch By Stitch

What This Means

  1. knit 1  (the selvedge stitch)

Then

      2.  yf = yarn forward

      3.  slip 1 purlwise

      4.  brk = knit the next stitch together with its adjacent yarnover

Repeat steps 2 thru 4 across the row to the last 2 stitches.

Finish With

  1.  yf = yarn forward
  2. slip 1 purlwise
  3. knit 1 (the end selvedge stitch)

Congratulations You are now a Brioche Knitter! We've just walked thru and knitted all  the rows that we needed to learn.  

Continue working Rows 1A thru 2B until the scarf measures at least 40" from cast-on. End on a 2B Row. The good new is that depending on your tension you may have enough yarn to work some extra inches should you like a longer scarf and don't intend to block.

Brioche Tips and Tricks

As a new Brioche knitter I think it's helpful to have a tip sheet and troubleshooting guide. as you work along the pattern rows and here is one I built for you based on my experiences knitting Brioche for the first time.

Aside for the Tip Sheet we'll also want to talk about Lifelines and joining yarn. Both are very easy so let's take a look.

Lifelines

These are entirely optional but can make life so much easier when working brioche or lace patterns.  

Simply thread a finishing needle with a fiber as thin or thinner than the project fiber. A good choice is anything that is relatively smooth, glides easily and will not stick to the project stitches.  

Add a Lifeline to your project

Add a Lifeline to your project

Now just thread the lifeline fiber through the stitches and let the life line stay there for several inches.   

Now, If you need to rip back ripping back to that lifeline will be a cinch.

Joining Yarn

Usually I'm not a fan of joining at the beginning of a row, but this time I am.

You may have already noticed that your beginning stitch or two is very tight which makes it an ideal location for the old and new strand.

Joining Yarn at the End of a Row

Joining Yarn at the End of a Row

Merely drop the old yarn  and begin to knit with the new yarn. Leave about a 5" tail on both of them and tie them loosely together. That way you can keep the strands tidy until time to weave in. When weaving in you will be able to easily secure and hide the strands in the selvedge.

Our time today has come to an end. You've learned a ton and now it's time to knit on and hone that new skill. Let's meet back here next Thursday to take a look at matching our bind-off to our cast-on and block our Racing Stripes!

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 #RacingStripesKAL to follow the knit along or post pictures of your progress.

Until then Happy Knitting,

Donna, your friendly Knitting Doctor