New Favorites: Undulating brioche

Brioche stitch sweater and cowl patterns

Honestly, I’ve never been able to work up a lot of interest in brioche stitch — to me, it seems like a lot of extra knitting fuss for not a lot of payoff. I readily admit this is likely shortsightedness on my part, and am sure someone will make a compelling case for its unique merits in the comments! In any case, I always figured sooner or later a pattern would come along that would challenge my views on that, and suddenly there have been three in a row. First was Oshima, which I’ve become increasingly preoccupied with since trying it on, although even there I’ve found myself wondering if you couldn’t just do it in twisted rib or heel stitch, or something less fussy but similar looking. But then along came these two, and it’s the undulating brioche that’s really captured my attention:

LEFT: Brioche Vest pattern from The Purl Bee — I love the way the deep trenches of the brioche look as they trace the outlines of the armholes (free pattern)

RIGHT: Windrow cowl pattern by Bristol Ivy — she’s right that those twisting, turning rows of brioche look like “the lines and furrows” of farmland, but it also just looks like a lot of fun to knit (portion of proceeds going to flood relief; see the pattern page for details)


In keeping with yesterday’s news, the ICYMI post for this week is Knitting in Code, my Morse Code Cowl.

Don’t forget today is the last day to enter the Anna yarn giveaway.

I also want to note that I got a big box of the Bento Bags on Saturday afternoon (talk about speedy!) so if the size or color you wanted was sold out last week, go get it! Back orders are being filled this morning, and big thanks to everyone who wiped me out of those so quickly!


12 thoughts on “New Favorites: Undulating brioche

    • I saw that last night. The colors are gorgeous, but that’s a perfect example of one where I think, why bother with all the brioche fuss for a ribbed scarf? I’m sure if I saw it in person I’d get it. But it’s a really beautiful scarf the way he’s done it.

  1. I figured I might as well be the first to put in a plug for brioche stitch! What you can’t really tell until you mess around with it is that while it seems like it’s just fussier ribbing, the extra stitches actually make whatever you’re knitting cozier and drapier, with a nice heft that’s just all-around lovely. It’s not that hard to learn and it’s pretty fun to try – so I definitely recommend it!

  2. I learned about brioche from Nancy Marchant, the queen of brioche ( ), … I just love the look of two-color brioche, so I stuck with it until I could do it. I did a one-color brioche scarf for my mom and wow, is the fabric ever cushy. It’s really nice. The two-color scarf was a really interesting challenge. but I managed to wrap my head around it and the result is gorgeous. (Here’s a pic, with your tote bag: )

    • I always associate you with brioche because you were learning it when we were at Stitches, and were so enthusiastic about it. Is 2-color brioche an easier place to start because you can see all your knits vs yarnovers, or does dealing with the two yarns outweigh the visibility benefits? Probably depends on how comfortable you already are with colorwork.

      • If you have no experience with brioche, I would start with one-color brioche with a variegated yarn. That allows you to see your yarnovers and gets your hands used to the feel of the stitch, without the mental gymnastics of using two colors.

        Two-color brioche is somewhat like double knitting: you’re essentially creating two patterns, interlaced on one needle. You knit the right side of one color, slide the yarn back, knit the wrong side of the second color, then turn the needles, work the wrong side of the first color, slide and work the right side of the second color. It’s time-consuming but rewarding.

  3. I had never heard of brioche knitting before! I am definitely going to try this pattern for my shop… how luxurious would a brioche cowl be? Yum. Now I want real brioche to go with it… ;)

  4. I just learned brioche, and I’d add to the chorus of endorsements here by agreeing that the fabric it knits up is so pillowy and plush that it’s worth the extra hassle. And (maybe this is just me) I’ve found that, after the first setup row, one-color brioche is only barely more work than ribbing. I’m working on a quick chunky cowl in brioche and the difference is definitely in the depth of the fabric, which is so intensely thick and soft that I might just end up using this cowl as a pillow.

  5. I’ve never knit brioche, but I have this 2-color brioche pattern ( and the yarn to go with it in my stash. I’m planning to start soon. After reading Kittbo’s comment about starting with one color brioche, I think I’m feeling a little more nervous about it than I was before, but what the heck? I’ve always been a jump right in kind of gal. (As evidenced by the fact that the first lace shawl I ever knit had a 20 stitch and 38 row pattern repeat…) Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes. And Karen, it was nice to “meet” you at Alt for Everyone :)

    • lauraannette, I have the Hosta pattern, too! Brioche is not super-hard; you just have to be very mindful when you start doing it because the inclusion of the yarnovers on every other stitch creates a different rhythm from what most knitters are used to and it’s easy to miss them if you’re on autopilot.

      I learned how to do it in Nancy Marchant’s Craftsy class, so if you find yourself struggling, you might consider signing up for that. (I work for Craftsy, but as Karen can tell you, I am a satisfied customer, too! That class was what got me started knitting again after a hiatus of several years.)

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