Friday, 26 September 2014

Brioche Knitting

The other day, I picked up a Lana Grossa pamphlet with several hat and cowl patterns for bulky, multi-coloured yarn.

I have a couple of balls of Estelle Drake yarn that is pretty similar and thought I'd knit a couple of hats. The patterns are pretty easy but I really couldn't make the patterns work for me with the given needle sizes or number of cast on stitches. Perhaps the Olympia yarn is a lot thicker than the Drake... I don't really know.

So I went on Ravelry to search for a "free bulky hat" and found a few possibles then realized Brioche pattern would achieve the results I wanted - some stitch definition, squishy, thick fabric, etc.  I used this one as my guide.

I cast on 60 stitches (most of the Olympia patterns had 40 - 50 stitch cast-ons) using one of the tubular cast on methods from Leslie Ann Bestor's book "Cast On Bind Off". (not to be confused by the book of the same name by Cap Sease which is a much larger book).

I first tried the Provisional Tubular Cast on where I used waste yarn, knit for 4 rows then on the 5th row folded the fabric wrong sides together, knit the knits and picked up and purled the stitches from between the waste yarn stitches. It was really tedious and not stretchy enough.

Not happy with that, I did the Italian Tubular Cast On, where you do a special type of long
-tail cast on with knit- and purl-type stitches. It worked MUCH better and is much more elastic. The only tricky part is learning the actual alternating knit and purl cast on, The subsequent set up rows are very easy to execute.
I like the rolled look of the edge.
The tubular cast on is great for cuffs of sleeves, hats, collar edges, etc. It can also be done for 2 x 2 ribbing by switching the order of stitches in the row after the set-up rows.

After the set-up rows, I did three more rows of 1 x 1 ribbing, then began the brioche stitch outlined in the pattern. It is one where you use yarnovers. I found it to be pretty confusing for TV watching so investigated and found another method:

Round 1: *knit into the stitch below (from front to back), purl the next stitch, repeat from *.
Round 2: *K1, purl into the stitch below the next stitch (from back through to the front), repeat from *.

That was WAY easier.

Once I got that established the rest was pretty easy. It is also easy to figure out which row you are on if you lose track or get distracted by investigating the stitches where you can clearly see that you have either purled through two stitches or knit through two stitches in the previous row.

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