“Two-Colour Twists and Turns” – further adventures in brioche knitting

How time flies by!  When I last posted about my ongoing knitting and crochet projects in November, I see that I promised a further update ‘in a few days’.  Well here we are about four months later – hey ho!!

Even though I have not been very busy on this blog in recent weeks, I have definitely been busy with my knitting needles.  In particular, I have made good headway with my brioche knitting project.  Last autumn it looked like this:

…and now, it looks like this:

 

This represents about 1,700m of yarn; only about 1,100m still to knit!  But now this project is entering its exciting final phase, where the second gradient yarn colours start to emerge.  You can see in this next picture that the knitting will morphing into a deep purple shade on the side which started off as solid black.  This contrasts with the side that started off pink and is now solid black.  Cool huh?  The yarns I have used are Scheepjes Whirls in Dark Grape Squish and Night Time Bubbles, plus two Whirlettes in Liquorice.

 

Brioche knitting is intriguing and beguiling.  It looks really complicated. But once you get your head around the chart symbols and the knitting across every row of stitches twice (ie once with each yarn), it really is a breeze.  Sure, it takes a bit of concentration and mistakes do happen.  You can see in the next photo where I unknowingly dropped a stitch and carried merrily on for a few inches.  Happily, I spotted the ladder before it got too bad and was able to effect an invisible repair.  The stitch holder marks the spot where I will need to sew a small stay-stitch when I eventually come to sew in the yarn ends.  But overall, brioche knitting is beautifully rhythmical and soothing – just as well when you are knitting the same pattern across 20 repeats for each row, and countless repeats of the vertical pattern!

 

This image also gives a good sense of where the greys in each of the gradient yarns overlap.  I added the extra black solid yarn to the gradient balls to try to make sure the greys were more staggered.  But as you can see, they crossed at exactly the same point.  Sod’s law in full operation.  But hey ho again – it is what it is, and I do not think this will detract from the finished project, especially once it is curled and overlapped around my neck and shoulders.

The pattern is Nancy Marchant’s ‘Sushi Ushi Revisited’ pattern, taken from her excellent book Knitting Fresh Brioche.  I could not resist also getting her more recent publication, Knitting Brioche Lace.  The project on the front cover of this book is the lace version of my pattern.

 

Nancy has pioneered the revival of this particular knitting style, which she describes perfectly as ‘two-colour twists and turns’.  She says in her introduction to Knitting Fresh Brioche that, according to her extensive research, this approach has no significant history:

All the Northern European countries have used the stitch since the late 1800s, yet not one country, to my knowledge, claims it as part of their knitting culture.  The brioche stitch has no tradition anywhere.

She adds, quite rightly, that it is therefore time to give the stitch some history through our modern creations. There is a small amount of additional information on the stitch here, and for those who are particularly interested, there is a great interview with Nancy in this episode of the excellent Fruity Knitting podcast.

Although this is rather an epic project, it is nothing but a joy to knit.  I can’t wait to see how it looks when the purple part of the yarn emerges – and will come back with more pictures then. 🙂

 

30 thoughts on ““Two-Colour Twists and Turns” – further adventures in brioche knitting

  1. Once, I would have given this a go. Now my patience is a lot thinner! 😄 Scheepjes do do a lovely gradient don’t they? Lovely work. ( I love the cover of the left hand book, but I don’t need. To. Try. It. Nope.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Speaking as someone who has only just mastered a variation of stocking stitch on my current knitting I am filled with awe and wonder at this project of yours. It may have that small (mended) ladder but to me it is picture perfect – and truly epic!

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  3. I am beyond excited to see this project unfolding. What is most thrilling to me is the revival of this knitting style. And to think that while everyone used the brioche stitch, there isn’t a tradition to be found. This is a fabulous mystery and kudos to Nancy Marchant for bringing it back to the forefront. When I first looked at your photos, I was reminded of the intricate weaving patterns of the medieval times and the tapestries of the Renaissance. You are an artist, Liz! You continue to inspire me.

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  4. This is so beautiful Liz, you are a real artist! I assume it takes longer than normal knitting and you need to concentrate while doing it. Great colours and a stunning result so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really lovely work, Liz! I have been trying to knit again after about 22 years abstinence. My eyes and arthritic fingers are complaining and I get frustrated that I can’t knit for very long without having to rest. I have always envied people who can repair dropped stitches without having to undo yards of yarn! So clever! I am looking forward to seeing the finished project!

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    1. Thank you Clare – I am looking forward to the finished project too!! And it is lovely to hear that you have picked up knitting again after all that time. Don’t be put off by needing to rest – for a long time, because of neck and shoulder problems, I could only knit one or two rows at a time. So I completely understand that feeling of frustration and disappointment. My advice would be not to worry about quantity in any way, just enjoy doing it, however little it may be. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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