The Bucket List: Brioche

Brioche has been on my list of knitting skills to master for a while now, and if you’ve been following the blog since its early stages, you’ve likely heard me mention this before.

It all started when I spied Stephen West’s Askews Me Shawl while scrolling through Ravelry, and fell in love with the beautiful contrast of colours. I impulsively purchased the pattern along with multiple skeins of possum wool (this was when I was traveling through New Zealand). I then spent the next couple of evenings frustratingly getting a few rows in before frogging the whole thing, over and over again. In the end, I decided it was a horrible project to teach myself two-colour brioche with, and decided instead on knitting up a simple scarf, focusing solely on the act of mastering the two-colour brioche stitch.

Eventually, brioche knitting became mindless, and I finished knitting myself the coziest scarf!

My desire to learn more complicated brioche techniques has still not wavered. It’s just been put on hold, that’s all. I’m mid-way through the Ramble Shawl by Andrea Mowry. Check out the picture – the first half is simple striped garter stitch, and the second half of the shawl is where things get interesting …. can you guess where I’m stuck?

Photo Credit: Andrea Mowry / Drea Renee Knits

It should also be mentioned that I have already purchased the highly recommended Explorations in Brioche Knitting* Class taught by the queen of brioche knitting herself, Nancy Marchant. I just haven’t managed to make it that far into the course (yet). But there are just too many gorgeous brioche patterns out there to not push myself to keep learning this beautiful technique that’s also entirely reversible. So to keep me (and you) inspired, I’ve put together a list of just a few of the beautiful brioche patterns I would love to knit.

Unda Shawl by Lesley Anne Robinson

Photo Credit: Knit Graffiti

The Unda Shawl is featured in the second ever issue of Laine Magazine, a beautifully crafted nordic knitting magazine with stunning photography. Lesley Anne Robinson is the designer behind this pattern, and she’s made a name for herself in designing colourful and fun brioche knitwear. Some of my other favorites include her Pink Madness Scarf and her Sizzle Pop Shawl, which I featured in my previous Bucket List post!

Riptide by Norah Gaughan

Norah Gaughan is well known for her beautifully designed sweater patterns, and her Riptide sweater showcases a stunningly detailed brioche design at the yoke. I’m a huge fan of the look of this sweater project knit by Trin-Anelie (shown above), who made some slight alterations to the original pattern.

Oshima by Jared Flood

Oshima came out in Brooklyn Tweed’s Fall 2013 collection, but this design is absolutely timeless! There’s a reason that this sweater pattern and the one above by Norah both use brioche at the yoke / collar – its just so cozy! Seriously though, brioche has a lovely cushiness to it like no other knitting stitch I know of. You’ll just have to try it for yourself to see. 😉

Vintage Prim Hat by Andrea Mowry

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Every time Andrea Mowry comes up with a new design, I want to cast on! Her Vintage Prim is such a cute and unique hat pattern. One of the nice things (or not nice) about brioche is that it can appear a bit intimidating, at first glance, meaning not as many knitters learn this skill. Which mean, if you do push yourself to learn it, you’ll be able to knit up so many different and unique designs that all of your other knitter friends will be jealous and will want to learn it too!

Brio-Garter Hat by Stephen West

Stephen West has become somewhat of a legend in the knitting world, well known for his style and pops of colour. While I greatly admire his skill and unique designs, I have to admit I don’t always feel as compelled to knit his patterns, mainly because they’re just too colourful for my taste! I am, however, very attracted to neutral colours with little ‘pops’ of colour, which is why I just love millefleurs colour choices in Stephen West’s Brio-Garter hat. I love the innovative construction of this hat, with the earflaps being knit using increases and decreases in the round for a seamless finish!

Briochevron by Stephen West

Photo credit: Stephen West / Westknits

Here is another example of one of Stephen West’s beautiful brioche designs. The photo above shows off the original design knit up in bright colours and showcasing his unique quirkiness, and below is with more subtle color choices.

And if you’re looking for a reallllly ambitious project, cast on the Briochevron Blanket!

Wheat and Chaff by Katrin Schubert

The Wheat and Chaff cowl is a lovely design by Katrin Schubert. I particularly love how this cowl curls over and shows us the reversible side of it. It looks so sophisticated! The picture above is knit up by Espace Tricot, and you can see photos of Katrin’s original design here.

Tenchi Cowl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

The Tenchi Cowl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian would be a perfect pattern for knitters wanting to learn two-colour brioche. It does feature a tubular cast on and is shaped using different size knitting  needles from top to bottom, so is perhaps better suited towards intermediate knitters, rather than those who are just starting out and want to learn brioche. It looks wonderfully cozy and warm and would make a perfect gift, especially if knit up in a luxurious fibre such as a silk and alpaca blend *swoon*!

If you are a bit more of a beginner knitter wanting to learn brioche, I would strongly suggest starting with the Nancy Marchant course* I mentioned above, or checking out Purl Soho’s wonderful tutorials and patterns that feature brioche! You could even start out by trying their beautiful two-colour brioche hat and cowl pattern here.

So, are you convinced to learn brioche yet? Or maybe you already know how? Where do you rank yourself on the brioche spectrum? I’d love to hear more, so please leave a comment below!

*Note: This is an affiliate link, meaning that if you choose to purchase the course through this link, I earn a small commission! All recommendations are entirely my own. Thank you for your support!

Lastly, if you enjoyed this article, please pin!

Featuring a stunning collection of brioche patterns for you to try out this new and exciting knitting skill. The color combos and patterns that can be created with two-colour brioche are absolutely stunning. Featuring designs from Stephen West, Knit Graffiti, Drea Renee Knits, Olga Jazzy and more!

4 Comment

  1. Julie says:

    Have fun with all that brioche!! I knit one brioche item, and it was okay, but not my fave technique. it definitely has some drop dead gorgeous knits to it’s credit, though- Oshima is heavenly, so are all the others!

    1. Susanne says:

      Thanks so much Julie! I am definitely struggling with the Ramble shawl right now, but just looking at some of these amazing two-colour combos is what is motivating me to push through!

  2. Sus, knitting blows my mind! It’s just a variation of a couple stitches and yet the possibilities are endlesss! Good luck, good luck friend! And thanks for all the knitsperation: I love westknits. FYI: you may have even seeded the idea of knitting a sweater! Gasp, I know! Xo

    1. Susanne says:

      Haha, gasp indeed! You’re most welcome :). You are a constant source of yarnbomb inspiration for me as well – I’m just waiting for that perfect mega yarnbomb idea to creep into my head. Although I have to say, at the moment, I am much more focused on completing my bridesmaid dress and playing along with Fringe Association’s Summer of Basics make-a-long than anything else! Looking forward to seeing this eventual sweater of yours!

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