The Ground Rules of 2-Color Brioche Knitting in-the-Round

I know that’s a long title, but allow me to explain.

Last week, I talked about learning a new stitch.  Now, there are already so many wonderful videos and written tutorials on how to do 1-color brioche flat (as opposed to in-the-round). I felt that it was pointless to re-invent the wheel. So I want to focus on what the title implies: the use of two colors, with the rows joined in the round. Perfect for hats, headbands and neckwarmers. And socks! And seamless sweaters! Pretty much anything in the round. Can you tell that I love to knit in the round?

This week I want to begin to share what I’ve learned with you. So beginning knitters: this one’s for you! Oh and by the way, I should mention that I’m an English-style knitter (I throw my yarn), so…although I hope my instructions help both Continental and English knitters, the way I’m teaching is in English-style.

So let’s get started!

Here’s the thing…there needs to be a little introduction because at a glance, “2CBrITR” not easy. It doesn’t totally make sense unless you know what it is, how it works, and what it looks like.

So that said, I’ve made a handy little pdf which goes over the “ground rules” of Brioche knitting. You can print it out, look at it, read it, learn it. There are pictures if you’re a visual learner like me, and there are written explanations if you’re more of a linear thinker (also like me).

Also to help get you started, you need to do a stretchy cast-on. Because of the stretchy nature of brioche fabric, you’re going to need a cast-on that stretches right along with it.

Have you ever tried to put on a sweater where the neck doesn’t fit over your head? Have you ever tried to put on a sock that doesn’t fit your calf (this happens to me a lot)? Have you ever put on a knitted headband that’s stretchy on one edge but not so stretchy on the other edge?

Well, these are the little annoyances that occur when the right cast-on and bind-off aren’t used. There are literally dozens of different cast-ons and bind-offs, and each one serves a purpose. But for brioche knitting, you HAVE to use a stretchy cast-on and bind-off. I found an easy and effective cast-on by the Tillybuddy online. I went ahead and made my own video to demonstrate it  (partially because I want to use this really cool tripod mechanism I got for Christmas). You can watch the cast-on here.

Practice Brioche Fabric…

  • Get 2 balls of worsted weight yarn. One light-colored (LC) and one dark-colored (DC).
  • Get a pair of size US6 or US7 16″ circular needles. OR you can use double-pointed needles if you’re really brave!

Now, you may want to just go ahead and start making a headband. If so, pick up the DC (dark color) yarn and cast-on 68 stitches on those circular needles.

If you don’t want to commit to a headband, that’s okay. Just use the double-pointed needles, and cast-on an even number of stitches with the DC yarn. Probably at least 20 or 30 would be a good start.

Before you go any further, download the Brioche Ground Rules and read it carefully. Once you’ve done that, and you feel that you have a sense of everything that goes into brioche, start your first set-up round.

With DC, attach your stitch marker to the bottom of the first stitch, and join the last and first stitches of the yarn.

(If you have trouble joining the round at this point because the stitches may be too tight on the needles, transfer your stitches to double pointed needles. Then join those stitches and knit 1 round. Then transfer them back to the circulars.

When you’ve completed that knit round, leave the DC hanging in front.

Now take your LC yarn, with the working part in front and end in back, getting ready to do your set-up row for LC…

Set-up row for LC:
* K1, yf, sl1yo; Repeat from * to end of round.
(knit 1, slip next stitch with yarn in front, knit 1 with yarn in front). This is going to feel wrong, but it’s not. Just keep going until you’ve finished the round.

Now put the work down and walk away. That’s it for today. Go get a cup of coffee…go get some fresh air. I’ll show you how to get started on adding the DC yarn next week. 🙂

Until then…enjoy this photo of my latest. It’s a special edition hat for all the women, men and children who marched yesterday – reminding all of us that we have voices, we need to listen to each other and treat each other with respect. Thank you!

This hat is called Flying Doves. It’s a special edition made with Malabrigo worsted (100% Merino wool), and 100% local alpaca from Heidelberr Farms. It is currently available on my Etsy shop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *