Archive for the “brioche” Category

A friend announced that she was expecting, and my first thought was that I should knit a blanket - because even though I'd long sworn off any obligation to knit for babies, that was before I had a knitting machine, right? I could crank out a blanket so fast, I told myself. It'll be like nothing, I said. No problem at all, I said. And I ordered a couple of balls of Lion Brand Mandala.

You'll note this is not a picture of a finished blanket, or even of a blanket in progress on the knitting machine...

A brioche knitting project in progress. On one side, it is ribbed in pink with green and blue in the background. On the other, it is green and blue ribs with pink in the background. The balls of yarn, showing the gradient from green to blue to purple to pink, are lined up on the table.

I'd decided on a reversible tucked cable pattern in full needle rib, and I was through the first ball of yarn and into the second, when I noticed that I'd dropped a stitch somehow. Maybe it was related to a static issue, maybe there wasn't enough weight on the tuck stitches, maybe it was gremlins. Either way, it wasn't fixable, so I pulled the work off the machine and re-wound the yarn to begin again.

Meanwhile, I'd finished knitting my mindless stockinette socks and needed something else to work on during football games and knit nights. So here I am, knitting a baby blanket by hand...

The pattern is just a simple two-colour brioche rib. I carefully wound the two balls of yarn to be exact opposites of each other - yes, I know, it looks like there are four balls in that picture, but that's because the put-up was too big for my ball winder to handle and I had to split them. The hardest part of this project making myself take a break from knitting it. I know I should, or my hands will hurt tomorrow... but I wanna see how the colours play out!

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I finished knitting and blocked the Sizzle Pop shawl - what a difference! That's a 12" ruler for scale in the before-and-after photos, and wow, look how much it grew! The shawl drapes beautifully now. It's soft and squishy and relatively lightweight for its size, and I absolutely love it.

The Sizzle Pop shawl before and after blocking, with a 12" ruler for scale. It is much larger after blocking.

I only made one small change to the pattern, and that was to knit an extra repeat - I had enough extra yarn, and I was concerned that the finished shawl would be a little on the small side. It is not, now. :)

The pattern was well-written and fun to knit! It went faster than I was expecting, except for the parts where I got distracted and made mistakes. In most cases I wasn't going to be able to just drop down and fix the error (yay, brioche?) so I had to un-knit, which takes for-freaking-ever (yay, brioche?) but was totally worth doing as I wouldn't have been able to live with the errors.

My version of Sizzle Pop used a skein of Malabrigo Sock in 120 Lotus, and a skein of Sheep's Clothing Yarn Co. Fable Fingering in Nebula Speckle. There's a little bit of each one left over, but not a lot. Not only do the yarns coordinate perfectly with each other, but they also go well with my hair - right down to the little pop of blue.

Pirate modeling the Sizzle Pop Shawl

This will definitely not be the last brioche project, or the last shawl, that I'm going to knit. It was so much fun to work on, and the results are spectacular. I have so much fingering weight yarn in my stash, my sock drawer is already overflowing, but my shawl-and-wrap shelf still has plenty of space left for more projects. The next one I'm working on is Casapinka's "Breathe and Hope" pattern, which is two-colour but not brioche. I'm making good progress on it, and will have pictures to share soon!

Closeup of the Sizzle Pop shawl, showing the brioche stitch pattern.

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I like to buy souvenir sock yarn when I travel, especially if I can find something from a local dyer. This year's yarn, which I got at Wasatch & Wool - a nifty little shop in Park City - is Salta Fingering from Yarnaceous Fibers. The colourway is "My Dinosaur Ate Your Unicorn," and it's beautifully dyed in shades of a mountain sunset. I love it. I don't yet know what I'm going to knit with it, but I absolutely love it. I bet those colours pool in the most fantastic ways if the pattern is right. Since the care label says to hand wash, I think I won't be making socks with this yarn...

A skein of sock yarn in purples and a bit of orange, very sunsetty colours

But before I let myself knit this year's souvenir yarn, I want to use some from a previous year! I got this skein of Malabrigo Sock in "Lotus" when we went to California in 2017, and paired it with some Fable Fingering from Sheep's Clothing Yarn Co in the "Nebula Speckle" colourway. It's a perfect match.

Two skeins of sock yarn - one dark purple with a tinge of cyan, the other mostly white with purple/blue/pink speckles

After Michael made his scarf and matching hat, I started to consider the possibility of a making brioche scarf or shawl for myself, but in a lighter weight yarn than he chose. After a lot of riffling through the Ravelry pattern library, I eventually settled on Sizzle Pop as a good challenging first brioche pattern to try. I've done swatches of brioche before, but never a whole project.

Over the weekend I cast on and started knitting. Of course, a triangular shawl which starts at the tip goes quickly at the beginning! I was able to get through the setup rows and then two pattern repeats already. The speckle yarn combined with the tonal purple is just *chef's kiss* perfect. (And it hides a mistake that I made early on that I decided that I wasn't going back to correct.) Hopefully I don't lose all interest in the project when the rows get long. At least only 1/4 of the rows have patterning that requires me to follow along with the chart! That makes it seem like it goes fast. On the other hand, I keep spreading it out to look at it, which takes up some time. Less admiring, Pirate! More knitting, less looking!

Two repeats of the Sizzle Pop shawl in progress.

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Over on Ravelry, the Remrants group is hosting a Colour Your Winter Craft-A-Long challenge - to finish a colourwork pattern before 31 March. Works-in-progress are acceptable entries, but I decided to start my year off with the challenge of designing a new hat in four shades of DK-weight yarn: brown, tan, red, and light blue.

My first attempt at two-colour ribbing didn't have a nice edge, so I started over. My second attempt curled up far too much, so I started over. For the third attempt, I changed tactics and tried a two-colour brioche rib, a technique that's completely new to me. Unfortunately, the instructions I found had left out a bit of important information, which is that even on knit rows, stitches are slipped with the yarn in front. So I started over. Again.

20160110_brioche_fail

The fourth try was the charm, and I have some two-colour brioche on the needles now. It's reversible, so my plan is to knit enough to have a fold-up brim, which allows for the wearer to adjust the length of the hat...

20160111_brioche_win

...but my gauge for the width was totally off, and I think the finished hat might end up being two or three inches too large for my small head. That's okay, because I'd wanted to write the pattern for two sizes, so I guess this one is going to be the larger. I'm also planning to design and knit a matching set of fingerless gloves and/or mittens!

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