Saturday, September 23, 2017

The neighbours two doors down are having a very noisy party in their garden. It has been going on for some hours now. My only emotion is delight that I don’t have to attend – there is something, after all, to be said for old age. Gone, that feeling that everyone else somewhere else is having a better time than oneself. I’m glad, though, that Perdita’s and my bedroom is at the other end of our house.

Isabella, thank you very much indeed for your kitten-advice. That had been more or less my plan [comment yesterday], but I had been worried about the night. Perdita and I have slept together almost every night since she came here. It would be nice to hope that all three of us might pile into bed together soon, but I can’t take it for granted. I’ll have to shut Hermione in the kitchen (where it’s warm) at first, and put out a second litter tray for Perdita in case she is caught short in the night as I often am.

Yesterday I wound Carol Sunday’s beautiful yarn and cast on the Soutache. I have never actually done brioche stitch before. It’s not entirely easy. Marchant says in her book “Knitting Brioche” that the fisherman’s-rib system, k1, k1b, ad infinitum, produces the same fabric. She says that she finds brioche knitting faster and more even. Not me.

But can you do two colours with fisherman’s rib? Not to mention all those interesting cables and swirls? It might be worth attempting a swatch.

In any case, the Soutache is moving forward. It begins with 5” of plain-vanilla two-colour brioche, before the swirling starts. That’s where I still am. There are mistakes – and correcting a mistake in brioche knitting is next thing to impossible. In the night, I asked myself, what would Andrea do? and got up this morning resolved to frog and start again.

But looking at it in the cold light of day, I decided that I could live with the mistakes, and forged ahead.

Brioche stitch, as I am sure you know, is a succession of k1s or p1s with, in between, a slipped stitch crossed with a yarn over. On the next pass, the slipped stitch and yo are knit, or purled, together as one. That’s easy.

I think the essence of my difficulty is that the motion of the working yarn, as you establish the cross over the slipped stitch, is different, depending on whether the following stitch is to be knit or purled. We all know this in real life, but someone or other in brioche stitch it’s harder to keep straight.

I can only forge ahead and hope it will be second nature by the time I have done 5 inches.


  1. I am really looking forward to your comments on brioche as I have not "gotten" it in spite of a class. I hope you can get me excited about trying it! Soutache is so beautiful.

  2. Kay T took the words right out of my mouth! My experience has been exactly the same. I do think knitting in the continental style does help somewhat, but there are quite a few other things to learn - such as not crossing stitches for color changes. I haven't even started shaping, cabling, lace, increases, or decreases in Brioche. The fabric it creates is so squishy and warm and well worth the effort, I imagine. Cannot wait to see how you progress with the Soutache, such a lovely pattern!

  3. PS Best of luck introducing the new kitty. It's like bringing the new baby home, isn't it - except we could talk to our children. One never knows what a cat is thinking...

  4. Looking forward to the arrival of the new little one.

  5. Anonymous10:27 PM

    I found the same difficulty with the brioche stitch despite taking a class. Looking through the breadth of designs in brioche on Ravelry as opposed to those pictured in fisherman's rib, it would seem worth it to master this stitch. However, it's not certain whether this is because the brioche stitch is indeed more versatile or simply because no one has explored in Fisherman's Rib what Nancy has so in-depth discovered in brioche. (Two-colored,yes; lace not so much). But Soutache is gorgeous and worth the effort if you can maintain the concentration to master it:-) Good luck! Chloe

  6. Watching with interest. I've done lots of single color brioche, but very little two-color, mostly just for exploring. I've had Nancy Marchant's book for ages, meaning to sit myself down and learn, but you can see how that has worked out!

  7. And I forgot to mention the Marie Wallin Shetland video - it's on Mason Dixon knitting this morning.

  8. I found it worthwhile to learn to fix mistakes on a swatch first by watching YouTube videos. It makes working the actual project less terrifying. It's like way back when we first started knitting and had to learn to read our knits and purls and how to correct them if we made a mistake.
    Can't wait to meet your new kitty!

  9. Also, did you see this mention of a Susan Crawford interview on Mason Dixon knitting?