Tuesday, April 05, 2016

It’s Lizzie’s birthday today, Rachel and Ed’s youngest child. When I was young, a baby born on the last day of the tax year (which this is) was a great blessing, as the parents were able to claim it as a tax-deductible dependent for the entire year. Alas, that privilege was withdrawn even before Lizzie was born, but we love her anyway.

I hadn’t intended to give the impression that brioche stitch is in any way difficult. It’s perfectly easy, for the hands. It’s just that I am trying to figure out what the yarn actually does – that’s trickier.

EZ has a hat in KWT in “prime rib” or brioche stitch. She makes it sound as if she approaches it with some caution. She also says, pace Marchant, that brioche stitch and fisherman’s rib are not the same. Both writers could be right – maybe the yarn traces the same course in both cases, but the methods of doing it (knitting below;  or slipping a stitch wyif, passing the yarn over it, and knitting the two together in the next row) may produce a different effect.

I’ve never tried all that fancy stuff in the books, where the brioche ribs swirl about and even cross over each other. Maybe one day.

At any rate, my iPad was persuaded to give up its treasures due to the intervention of a kind friend, and here’s where we were a day or two ago:

I realize with something of a start, that I’m going to have to decide what I’m doing. The pattern I am vaguely following is for a man. It has a placket front and saddle shoulders. Do I want that? If not, what do I want? I love the fabric I’m producing – but decisions must be made.

Thank you for the introduction to Nathan Taylor, Anonymous. (Comment yesterday) I don’t think I’ve heard of him, although obviously I should have since he published a shawl pattern in VK recently. And he was at the EYF! What a lot of famous knitters I missed!

I had feared that the organisers might be overcome with the sheer exhaustion of it all, and might be planning to spend the next few years in recovery on a remote Hebridean island, but no! There is to be an EYF in 2017 and the dates are fixed. Now all we need is Franklin.


A neighbour here in Drummond Place has Strathardle associations, and a little house of her own somewhere in the vicinity. She has offered to drive me up on Monday, when she has to meet some builders. I don’t think I was there at all in 2015. Is that possible? That dear place is so much in my thoughts that it feels as if I am constantly there.

But this time last year, I was in Athens. And not long after that, my husband’s hospital ordeals began. 


  1. Is it really a whole year since Athens? It has been a long, hard one for you and your family.
    I remember those tax benefits - a year at the April one, and half a year if the event happened in September. It was widely believed that obstetricians would be willing to induce labour to get the baby out in time for a tax rebate. Certainly Vicars and Regstrars found their appointment books filled up early, for the same reason.
    It would be wonderful if you could manage to take a trip to the Centre of the Universe, if only to remind yourself that it is still there waiting to welcome you.

  2. I recently discovered Nathan Taylor when I saw his double knitting samples on a video podcast from EYF. How can anyone who's been only knitting for a few years produce such advanced designs? I suppose age has something to do with it. I love the look of your brioche - the colour is superb. Brioching in the round is described in the little Brioche sock book. As are Half Brioche and other variations.
    I do hope you manage to get to Strathardle. Maybe you'll find your keys!

    1. Good neighbor!

      We should have thought of the Sockmatician much earlier. In which episode does he discourse on the structure of brioche? YouTube will know. Nathan's aim was to understand the structure so one entire row could be done in one pass instead of two.

    2. Here:

      This is also interesting:

  3. Anonymous1:12 PM

    Oh yes, the keys! I'm still holding my breath for a purse lost last June. Things do turn up. Thank you for the EYF link, Jean. You have me thinking... The brioche discussion is very interesting. I have both the Marchant and Duvekot books and both of them have some stunning patterns. Chloe

  4. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Jean, it would be lovely if you could get to Strathardle - hope that works out. Thanks, you and your commenter, for bringing Nathan Taylor to my attention. Don't need another knitting project, but I reckon his W12 8QT would be a wonderful way to learn double knitting.
    - Beth in Ontario

  5. Nice progress on the brioche project.

    As far as I can tell, Nancy Marchant doesn't use the term fisherman's rib (at least not in her first book - I haven't got the second). Fisherman's rib is also known as half brioche and that features in the book. This produces a wrong side and a right side (if it can be called that, because they're both right in my opinion), whereas brioche produces two right sides. In brioche knitted in one colour both sides are indistinguishable from each other, and knitted in two, one colour is dominant on one side and the other on the other side. Half brioche has two distinct sides even when knitted in one colour only. So what you're knitting is half brioche or - as you say quite rightly - fisherman's rib.

    As to what is easier: yos or kb/pb, I think that in continental knitting the yarn over method just flies off the needles, but I imagine with the yarn held in the right hand it would be easier to knit or purl below. At any rate I think people are most efficient with the method they have to think about least. There's never a right or wrong way of doing things.

    1. And I agree - it is a marvel how the stitches and yarn overs sort themselves out so neatly. Something that in stockinette held with two different yarns will always result in a random marl. I've always marvelled at plated knitting that only seems to be achievable in machine knitting. Something I always wanted to get to the bottom of. - Imke