One of our newest free patterns, the Byberry Scarf by Lisa R. Myers, is a beautiful 2-color brioche project that is great for beginners. If you are new to the technique, brioche can be a little intimidating to knit. First, there are new symbols and abbreviations to learn. Then you have to remember to work each row twice, once in each color. But once you get those elements down, you’ll need to advance to learning how to fix mistakes. Today we’ll cover some tips and tricks for managing your brioche mischief.
The first thing we recommend if you’re new to brioche knitting is to make use of lifelines. A lifeline is a piece of waste yarn that you run through a row of stitches with a darning needle. Lifelines are often used in lace projects so that if you drop stitches or discover mistakes you can go back to a place in your knitting where things were in good shape. Given that each row in brioche consists of knit or purl stitches and slipped stitches with their accompanying yarn overs, a lifeline can be a true lifesaver if you need to rip back. You can place lifelines as frequently or as infrequently as you wish and that frequency can change as you become more comfortable with brioche.
The photo shows a lifeline being added (the green yarn going through the live stitches on the needle). The blue lifeline was added a couple inches back and can be removed since the work above it is all in order.
Fixing Mistakes on the "Right Side"
We have found that when fixing mistakes in brioche it’s helpful to try and fix your errors on the right side of your knitting. However, that can be a little tricky in 2-color brioche because each color has a dominant, or right, side. When you have to fix a problem like a dropped or mistake stitch, try starting on the side of your knitting where that stitch should be in a column of knit stitches.
First, lay your knitting out flat to diagnose where the dropped or mistaken stitch lies. Then, either slip stitches onto a spare needle until you get to that column, or start to work the next row, moving towards that stitch.
When you reach the column that contains your dropped or mistaken stitch, you can gently ladder down the column until you get to the errant stitch.
Fix the problematic stitch, and then you will gently begin to work your way back up to your needle. Remember that you will be forming knit stitches out of your dominant color on that side and that for each new knit stitch that you create, you will need to loop the corresponding yarnover together with that stitch. You may wish to use a crochet hook to aid you in this process.
For a great video on how to fix dropped stitches in brioche, you can also check out The Unapologetic Knitter’s tutorial. Crafts from the Cwtch also provides a great video tutorial to help you turn a mistaken purl stitch into a knit stitch.
Knitting with the Wrong Color
If you are new to 2-color brioche knitting, or even if you’re an old pro, you’ll probably pick up the wrong color at the wrong time. It happens to the best of us. At this point, you’ll have two choices to fix the error. First, you can tink (“un-knit”) back to the row where you made the mistake. This may be time-consuming, but if your error is just a few rows back, it may be the best option. The second option is to pull out your work back to your lifeline. Remember how we said lifelines could be useful? If you have added a lifeline to your work recently, you can simply pull your work off of your needles and unravel your knitting back to the last “safe” point (your lifeline). Then thread your needle through your stitches, and then start again.
Knitting when you should purl; purling when you should knit.
There is a rhythm to brioche knitting. While you’re still getting into the rhythm, you may slip and purl stitches when you should slip and knit, or vice versa. As with tips above, you’ll have two options. You can tink back to the beginning of the row where you made your mistake, or you can drop down to your trusty lifeline.
We hope that this tutorial has helped you troubleshoot your brioche knitting. We encourage you to try knitting the Byberry Scarf if you’re new to brioche knitting and to stay tuned for our fall collection which will feature at least one brioche pattern. If you have more questions or want to share photos of your beautiful projects, you can find us here on the blog or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Ravelry!