Brioche Knitting – How to Knit in the Brioche Style

Brioche knitting creates complex patterns with precision.

How to knit brioche stitch and the history.

Brioche Knitting Feat Img

I reviewed and updated this post on August 11, 2022.

Table Of Contents

What Is Knitting Brioche?

Brioche knitting is a knitted technique using

  • Ribbing
  • Slipped stitches
  • Yarnovers

It creates a thick, spongy texture.

This technique is used in French and Italian knitting for attractive, reversible patterns and a smooth front side.

Unlike other knitted fabrics – Garter Stitch & Stockinette — there’s no turning your work!

Always work on your wrong side (Purl Side). 

It’s intimidating due to the complicated patterns.

Don’t let it scare you!

Wondering what is arm knitting? Find out!

Why Is Brioche Knitting Called Brioche?

Nancy Marchant, an expert in Brioche knitting found the name referred to a cushion popular in England in the 1800s.

The ribbed fabric makes the pillows like the soft French bread. Brioche means raised.

What Is Brioche Knitting Used For?

  • Scarves
  • Shawls
  • Sweaters
  • Pullovers
  • Cardigans
  • Other garments  

Brioche Knitting History

In the 1300s, Europe was in turmoil after the Black Death.

Craftspeople in need of work couldn’t afford wool. Textile production dropped by 50% across Europe.

It’s thought to be created in 13th-century France among textile workers who couldn’t afford wool.

It used less expensive worsted yarns.

It originates as a scarf pattern from France, and it created a warm, airy fabric with no wrong/right sides. 

How Do You Start Brioche Knitting?

Follow these steps.

Which Yarn Should You Use?

Any. Using two yarns? Use two colors

  • Light color for the background
  • Dark color for the foreground

Which Knitting Needles Should You Use?

Straight or circular knitting needles. Go down a needle sizes, as this creates a neater stitch pattern.

How Do You Cast On Brioche Stitch?

Use a method with a tight edge. A loose cast on won’t look nice. You need to keep the stitches contained.

Cast on an even number of stitches.

How To Knit The Brioche Stitch

To create your first brioche fabric, stitches are slipped as if to purl with the yarn at the back of the work.

  • Row 1
  • *Yarn over, slip 1, knit 1. Repeat from *.
  • Row 2
  • *Yarn over, slip 1, knit two together. Repeat from *.

The first row is a starter row. For the rest, repeat the second row until your desired length.

There are slipped stitches and yarn overs. Take it slow.

  • A single stitch has a yarn over added
  • A knit stitch with its yarn over is knitted together

Note: Yarnovers aren’t included in the stitch count.

Here’s an excellent video tutorial by 10rowsaday on Youtube.

YouTube video

How Do You Cast Off Brioche Stitch?

  • Knit a stitch as usual
  • Knit the next stitch
  • Continue until there’s one left on your right needle
  • Pull both loops through together the working yarn without twisting them around each other
  • Cut the yarn, leaving about a six-inch tail 

Don’t bind off too tightly!

Blocking brioche knitted fabric is essential.

Brioche Abbreviations & Terms

  • BRK: Brioche Knit Stitch
  • BRP: Brioche Purl Stitch
  • Yf = Yarn Forward
  • Sl1 = Slip 1
  • YO = Yarn Over
  • Yf-Sl1-YO = Yarn Forward, Slip 1, Yarn Over

What Is Two-Color Brioche?

Two-color brioche is knitting with two colors.

It has a ribbed texture, but with the ribs in the two colors.

How to Knit a Two-Color Brioche Knit Stitch

Here’s a tutorial by sosuknits on Youtube.

YouTube video

When knitting with two colors in the brioche technique

  • Start with a setup row
  • A pattern of two alternating rows
  • In the alternating rows, the brioche purl isn’t purled
  • Yarn over
  • Slip stitch purlwise, (yo, sl P1)
  • For the knit stitches, knit the yo
  • Snd sl P1 together (k2tog)

How To Cast Off In Two-Color Brioche Stitches

  • Knit one stitch in your foreground color as usual.
  • You’ll have two loops on your right needle with background stitches behind it.
  • Put the left needle into the front loop of the first stitch without knitting it. (You want to hold onto its back-loop).
  • Knit the background stitches off the left needle together.
  • Pull both loops through the working yarn like normal knitted stitches until they’re free from each other.

How Do You Knit Brioche In The Round?

Here is an excellent video tutorial on how to knit the brioche method in the round by The Unapologetic Knitter on Youtube.

YouTube video

Brioche Stitch Variations

Here are common variations.

  • Slanting Brioche
  • Half Brioche
  • Pearl Brioche
  • Stockinette Brioche
  • Flat Brioche
  • Moss Brioche
  • Honeycomb Brioche
  • Crossed Brioche
  • Double Brioche
  • Brioche Rib

Brioche Stitch Knitting Patterns

If you’re looking for project patterns, I’ve selected a few below.

Q&A

How Do You Knit Half Brioche Stitch?

Here’s a good video tutorial by IKnitWithCatFur on Youtube.

YouTube video

What Does Brk1 Mean In Knitting?

It means brioche knit 1. Knit the stitch slipped in the previous row together with its yarnover.

It wasn’t counted as a separate stitch on the previous row, no decrease is made.

How Do You Brioche Knit Continental?

Here is a video tutorial on how to knit brioche in continental knitting by Mimi Kezer.

YouTube video

How Do You Knit A Honeycomb Brioche Stitch?

Row 1

  • Purl your first stitch.
  • Insert your right needle through the loop below the next stitch, wrap yarn, and complete as a normal purl stitch. 
  • Repeat those two steps to finish out row 1

Row 2

  • Insert your right needle into the row below
  • Complete it as a regular knit stitch.
  • Knit the next one.
  • Repeat those steps to the end of the row.

How Do You Count Brioche Rows?

Count the knit stitches going up a knit column on the RS.

Knitting patterns sometimes say “10 rows.”

When they’re worked back-and-forth ten times, only one row counted for every two columns knitted.

That makes five workable ‘rows.’

How Do You Read Brioche?

As most patterns are too complicated to do with a written design, you need charts.

Here is a tutorial by the Happy Knitter.

How Do You Decrease A Brioche Stitch?

Here’s a tutorial by JenACKnitwear on Youtube.

YouTube video

Brioche Stitch Vs Mock Fisherman’s Rib

The brioche technique has a purl stitch in the background.

Fishermans Rib only uses knit stitches pulled tight to create an alternating pattern of knits and purls

It creates more texture than Brioche does.

Fishermans Rib Vs. Brioche Stitch – Is Fishermans Rib The Same As Brioche?

The brioche method uses a unique set of stitches with a yarnover on top of the slipped stitch.

Fisherman rib uses traditional knit and purl stitches.

Knitting Brioche is a technique perfect for knitters wanting to create reversible patterns. Hope you enjoy learning it!

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

Jodie Morgan Profile Pic

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, creator of Knit Like Granny. I started this site to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion. Please say hello!

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