More Adventures In Making: starting, starting, and starting again….

In my last post, I wrote about managing to finish a summer crochet project, and how my thoughts were turning to the next make with this delicious set of scheepjes yarn:

I had an idea that the gradient yarn would work really well with the black in a brioche pattern.  The only problem? I did not know how to do brioche knitting. But what a great opportunity to learn, I thought.  I am an experienced knitter but there is always something new to tackle – that’s the joy of a hobby with endless potential variation.

I have had Nancy Marchant’s book Fresh Brioche Knitting for a while.  It’s a lovely read but always felt a bit daunting.  After all, the charts and brioche stitches seemed completely new and different from ‘normal’ knitting. But really, if I could happily knit something like this from a chart….

….surely I could tackle brioche?

So I started with a small test piece, using one of the patterns in Nancy’s book:


It seemed to come along quite well and I really liked how the fabric developed, on both the back and the front:


So I confidently decided to tackle a project with my scheepjes yarn.  I had read that it is necessary to knit with smaller needles for brioche than one might usually choose.  This is to make sure that the fabric is sufficiently tight to be able to show off the unique pattern.  But I was not happy with the initial results.  It just seemed too loose and untidy.


Attempts to knit with different sized needles did not make things any better. So perhaps this yarn was not cut out for brioche work?  I tried other yarns to see how the knitting might turn out:


Hmmmm, I was not at all convinced by either combination.  So instead I wondered whether I should abandon the brioche attempts and take a look at another new-to-me style of knitting: double knitting:

I really like the combination of the purple and the black here.  But double knitting seemed just too boring.  I would have been knitting up some 2,800m of yarn and I wanted the knitting process to be entertaining along the way.

So I resolved to go back to the original plan for another go.  This time, I worked on a swatch with a simpler stitch, which seemed to come out a bit better:

Perhaps this might work after all?  Let’s go for it, I thought. After all, what’s the worst that can happen – it’s only yarn!!

I cast on using the ‘Sushi Ushi’ stitch in Nancy’s book.  So far so good (sorry about the weird colour in these next two photos):

The only problem with this, though, was that I had cast on miles too many stitches. So there was only one thing for it….


Sigh.  By now I was starting to think that the universe was simply trying to tell me something about my choice of project.  But I was determined not to admit defeat.  I cast on again and put my head down.  And you know what?  All that previous toing and froing turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I had not realised that, along the way, I was deepening my learning of this new technique, such that when I finally settled in to the right pattern, the right width etc etc, it became a joy to knit.  Now I absolutely love this project and can hardly put it down.  I love the technique, the pattern, the needles I am using (even though they are tiny 2mm sticks), the whole thing.  And why wouldn’t I, when the result is starting to look like this:

I’m so pleased that I persevered with it all.  Those few weeks of trial and much error now seem totally worth all the irritation and frustration.  Perhaps this next quote is rather dramatic for a bit of knitting, but this all feels like a useful metaphor for life:

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou


I’ll report back on progress when I am a bit further through the gradient colour change – can’t wait! 🙂

35 thoughts on “More Adventures In Making: starting, starting, and starting again….

  1. That quote seems entirely appropriate to me. I (briefly) took up knitting to keep my morale up when recuperating from glandular fever years ago but could never aspire to anything so beautiful and accomplished as this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like that quote. And everything has its time and place, doesn’t it. Knitting is hugely therapeutic for me and I’m pleased it helped you when you were so ill.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you shared your learning iterations as you went along. I have found when I have started any kind of project, that the effort and time placed in the learning sequence advanced all learning exploits. One learning leads to another and another. It seems that when we are stretched (like yarn) and persevere, there are many treasured outcomes. I confess, however, that many times I have not calculated the risk of embarking on a journey and found, in the midst of the path, there is no way back. And that is a good thing. Pressing onward and upward….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am reminded of this quote by Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Just think what we would have missed out on if we never took a risk!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What patience and perseverance, Liz. You know how much trouble I am having with my simple pattern – of two years in the making! You are producing beautiful work as always. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That looks amazing, and rather difficult. Glad you persevered… with such an outcome definitely worth it! I had never heard of brioche knitting. Something new for me to research. Thank you Liz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ute – it really is not difficult at all once you get in to it. Like anything new, it requires a bit of effort at first, but so worth it! x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That yarn looks absolutely beautiful. I do envy you being able to master these traditional crafts. I’ve never had the patience or aptitude for knitting but respects to those of you who do!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This looks stunning, Liz, I’m so glad you persevered. It always astonishes me how the craft of knitting is constantly evolving. I’ve never heard of brioche; still stuck in the dark ages! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! And don’t worry – it is still a relatively unfamiliar form of knitting, even though it has quite traditional origins. I have had similar comments from other friends in response to this post, so I may see about writing a brief history (although this now links to our other exchange today about saying we will write something and never getting around to it lol!).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nevertheless, she persisted! I’m very impressed that you kept at this–I’m not sure I would’ve, with so many false starts. The end product is going to be crazy gorgeous!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha – I bet you would! I don’t see you as the kind of person who is beaten by a crafty challenge – what about finding ways to clean your linens? I rest my case!! 😂


  8. You are so talented Liz! The results are truly beautiful. No idea what you’re on about when it comes to knitting but who needs to understand when it looks that good?

    Liked by 1 person

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