orange and blue brioche shawl
Briochette by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne available to buy on Ravelry


In December I finally attempted a brioche project - Briochette.

Inspired by Coral and Denim in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, I wanted to do something other than a stripe, a colour block or stranded colour work project. I finally decided on two colour brioche.

Brioche is a new technique for me. It produces an extra squishy rib and is formed by alternating slipped stitches with yarn overs and knit or purl stitches.

I have tried it before and managed it but didn't enjoy it. It took a lot of concentration and I didn't really understand how the stitches worked which left me feeling nervous of making a mistake. And although I like how it looks and feels I wasn't interested enough to learn how to do it.

One thing I always tell a new knitter is look at what you are making and how you are making it. So... following my own advice I thought I'd have another go.

For this shop sample I tried to pick a 'simple' brioche project in my favourite form - a shawl.

With Briochette by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne there is no increasing or decreasing in the brioche section. So I can just concentrate on the brk and brp stitches, i.e. knitting or purling a stitch with its corresponding slip stitch.

There are also bands of garter stitch which gives you a break.


orange and blue shawl draped


Brioche knitting produces a thick and springy fabric. By working yarn overs with each stitch you add stretch and spring to your project. By slipping every other stitch you produce a knit stitch that stands out, making a rib that is squishy. You also work one row twice!

When knitted in two colours the colour placement is reversed when looked at from the back - great for shawls when the back side can be seen.

I made several mistakes in this shawl but they're not noticeable. I'm going to show them below in case they give you some confidence to have a go and not worry about making mistakes.

In the beginning if I missed a yarn over on the previous row then knitted over the mistake I found it tricky to unpick the stitch and resit the stitches on the needle.


orange and blue shawlspot the mistakes


This mistake was early on. I missed a yarn over, knitted over it by fudging the pattern and did not do a good job. Just as you work one row twice to get the two-sided nature of brioche. You also have to consider the mistake on both sides too.

These photos illustrate this perfectly!


orange and blue shawlmistake fixed and looks ok on the 'wrong side'


orange and blue shawlbut the other 'right side' has a dodgy stitch


The other mistake I made was in a garter stitch section! The easiest part 😆.

I worked one less repeat of the garter stitch section (and thus had less stitches than the pattern stated) and didn't realise until I was halfway through the first brioche repeat. There was no way I was going to knit backwards through all those brioche yarn overs so I just adjusted the pattern to accommodate my smaller number of stitches. 

Like all knitting techniques, once I got used to how the stitches sat on the needle I was able to spot a missed yarn over before I knitted past it. It was easy to pick a loop up and put on the needle.

The more I knitted the clearer it became which was a slip stitch and which was a knit or purl. I made sure to note which colour was which in each of the bricohe section repeats as they switch around.

Also I would recommend following the advice in the pattern re how to keep your edges stretchy.


If you want to learn (a lot) more check out Nancy Marchmont's website. But I found this quite intimidating and stuck to what I was doing in Briochette - two colours knitted flat.

These tutorials are good.

From Knit Picks - Learn Brioche Two-Colour Flat

The Unapologetic Knitter - Brioche Flat Two Colour

Stolen Stitches - Learn to Knit 2 Colour Flat Brioche

Spruce Crafts - How to Knit Two-Colour Brioche Stitch

There are lots of other tutorials for knitting one colour and for knitting brioche in the round.

Ysolda Teague also offers an online workshop which uses 4 patterns to take you through different brioche techniques. You can read more here.


Last month I mentioned that brioche in the round may be easier (and that using two colours makes it easier to keep track of what you're doing). To test this I cast on and finished (in two days!) Beginners Brioche Cowl by Lavanya Patricella available on Ravelry. I used one ball each of  WYS Retreat Chunky and Rico Melange Chunky. And you can read about it here.


Fiona Wright

make your own Briochette

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