Brioche Knitting – How to Knit in the Brioche Style & All The Facts

Brioche knitting creates complex patterns with precision. It’s easy once you get the hang of it, but there’s lots involved.

I show how to knit brioche stitch, the history, and the uniqueness!

Brioche Knitting Feat Img

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Table Of Contents

What Is Knitting Brioche?

Brioche knitting is a knitted technique using ribbing, slipped stitches, and yarnovers to create a thick, almost spongy-like texture.

This technique is often used in French and Italian knitting to create attractive, reversible patterns on the backside and a smooth front side.

Unlike other types of knitted fabrics – like Garter Stitch & Stockinette — there’s never any turning of your work!

This is because you always work on your wrong side (Purl Side) in the same way you work on your right side. 

It’s quite tricky and intimidating for many knitters due to the complicated stitch patterns. But don’t let it scare you!

Wondering what is arm knitting? Find out!

Why Is Brioche Knitting Called Brioche?

Nancy Marchant, an expert, researched and found the name “brioche,” originally referred to a type of patterned cushion popular in England in the 1800s.

The unique ribbed fabric makes the pillows quite poofy. It looks quite similar to the soft French bread. “Brioche,” which means ‘somewhat raised.’

What Is Brioche Knitting Used For?

It’s mainly used to create items like scarves, shawls, and sweaters. It makes a fabric ideal for pullovers, cardigans, and other garments.  

Brioche Knitting History

In the 1300s, when Europe was still in turmoil after the Black Death and natural disasters had wiped out many towns and villages, wool was expensive to come by. 

Huge numbers of people were still destitute after the pandemic. So many craftspeople in need of work could not afford wool. Textile production dropped by 50% or more across Europe as a result.

This was when it was invented! It’s thought to have been created in 13th-century France among textile workers who couldn’t afford wool and was a way to make use of much less expensive worsted yarns.

It has its origins as a scarf pattern from France, and it created a warm, airy fabric that is reversible with no “wrong” or “right” sides. 

How Do You Start Brioche Knitting?

Follow the steps, and you’ll be learning to knit the brioche technique in no time.

Which Yarn Should You Use?

You can do it with any yarn. If you’re using two yarns, use two colors. One for the background, light color, and dark color for the foreground.

Which Knitting Needles Should You Use?

Straight or circular knitting needles are best.

It’s a good idea to go down a needle size than what the yarn suggests, as this creates a neater and more tightly-packed stitch pattern.

How Do You Cast On Brioche Stitch?

There’s no specific technique required, but use one that creates a firm, tight edge. You don’t want a loose cast on as this won’t look very nice.

Also, brioche stitches run quite loose, and you need something to keep it contained.

Make sure you cast on an even number of stitches for this method, but you may need an odd number of stitches for other patterns. The design will always tell you what to do.

How To Knit The Brioche Stitch

Start with the most basic brioche method 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 of the pattern, repeat the second row until you reach your desired length. You’ll notice there are lots of slipped stitches and yarn overs. Take it slow at first because they’re quite tricky.

What is important to remember is that a single stitch has a yarn over added and a knit stitch with it’s yarn over is knitted together.

I highly recommend watching the video below. The visual tutorial is very helpful to see how the brioche stitches are created.

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?

To cast off –

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

Make sure you don’t bind off too tightly! It creates a stretchy fabric.

Blocking brioche knitted fabric is a good idea, as it creates a nicer-looking finished fabric.

Brioche Abbreviations & Terms

Most of these abbreviations are exclusive to knitting brioche, so they may be unfamiliar to you.

  • 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 when you knit with two colors as opposed to one. It has a ribbed texture like regular brioche, but in different colors, with the knit ribs on each side 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, you start with a setup row, then a pattern of two alternating rows. In the alternating rows, the brioche purl isn’t purled. You yarn over then a slip stitch purlwise, (yo, sl P1.)

For the knit stitches, you knit the yo and 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 that first stitch without knitting it. (You want to hold onto its back-loop).
  • Knit all these background stitches off the left needle together.
  • Pull both loops through the working yarn tightly 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

There are many different Brioche Knit Patterns. Here are some of the 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.

Your Questions Answered

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. This means you need to knit the stitch that was slipped in the previous row together with its yarnover.

This time, because it wasn’t counted as a separate stitch on the previous row, no actual decrease is made.

How Do You Brioche Knit Continental?

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

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 normally.
  • Repeat those steps to the end of the row.

How Do You Count Brioche Rows?

Count across your stitches and measure as accurately as you can. When counting rows, count the knit stitches going up a knit column on the RS.

Knitting patterns sometimes say “10 rows.” But when they’re worked back-and-forth ten times, only one row counted for every two columns knitted. That makes five total workable ‘rows.’

How Do You Read Brioche?

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

Here is a tutorial by the Happy Knitter.

How Do You Decrease A Brioche Stitch?

Here’s a helpful tutorial by JenACKnitwear on Youtube.

YouTube video

Brioche Stitch Vs Mock Fisherman’s Rib

The brioche technique is different from the mock Fishermans rib because it has a purl stitch in its background every other row.

Fishermans Rib only uses knit stitches that are pulled tight to create an alternating pattern of knits and purls, which creates more texture than Brioche does.

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

The two methods are so different. It’s hard to believe they both result in something that’s almost indistinguishable.

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 that’s perfect for knitters who want to create reversible patterns. It’s also great for those who are looking to try something new. Hope you enjoy learning a new skill!

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie, creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m a real person :) ) Thanks for being here.

I started Knit Like Granny to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

This site has introduced me to so many wonderful knitters. I enjoy sharing the joy of working with yarn. Please say hello!

2 thoughts on “Brioche Knitting – How to Knit in the Brioche Style & All The Facts”

  1. I am having trouble with adding another color yarn to my brioche,please help!!! What I’m trying to do with my brioche stitch pattern is have a grey border on all sides and the inside is half blue and half white and it’s a baby blanket for my grandson that’s due in March… PLEASE HELP


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