Knitting Blog

The 3 Basic Brioche Stitches You Need to Know

Before I tried brioche for the first time, I looked at the instructions for the basic stitches and felt like I was drowning. But once I picked up my needles and gave it a try, it was a lot easier to see how everything worked together.

Brioche Swatch

Here’s the key to learning brioche stitches: just do it!

If you only look at the photos of this tutorial, you probably won’t really understand the technique. Instead, grab your circular needle and yarn and follow along! Simply doing the stitches will make all the difference.

These three stitches are the building blocks of brioche.

Much like the knit and purl are to your usual knitting, sl1yo, brk and brp are the building blocks of all brioche projects. If you can master these three stitches, you’ll be ready for practically anything.

For this project, I’m using Cloudborn Superwash Highland Worsted in Shaela Heather and Cloudborn Superwash Merino Worsted Twist in Carico Lake.

Sl1yo (Slip 1, yarn over)

This isn’t your typical sl1yo that you’d see in a lace pattern. A few things you need to know about this stitch:

  • Sl1yo requires two actions, but it counts as one stitch.
  • It usually follows a brk or brp. (We’ll take a look at these next!)

Here’s how to stitch the sl1yo:

Brioche sl1yo

1. Hold the working yarn in front.

Brioche sl1yo

2. Slip the next stitch purlwise. (That just means you’re inserting the needle as if to purl.)

Brioche sl1yo

3. As you’re slipping the stitch from the left needle to the right needle, wrap the yarn over the needle and to the back. This is similar to a yarn over, except that it’s paired with the slipped stitch.

Brioche sl1yo

When you come back to the sl1yo on the following rows, just keep in mind that the slipped stitch and yarn over count as one stitch. That will be important when you’re working the Brk and Brp, the other two basic brioche stitches.

Think of the sl1yo as a slipped stitch and a yarn over working together as a pair that can’t be separated.

Brk (brioche knit)

No need to be intimidated by this new abbreviation. This stitch is kind of like a k2tog, and it’s super easy!

Here’s how to knit a brk stitch:

Brioche knit stitch

1. Hold the working yarn to the back of the work. If your previous stitch is a sl1yo, like mine was here, just make sure that yarn over stays in place as you move the working yarn to the front.

Brioche knit stitch

2. Insert the needle knitwise into the next stitch and the yarn over, as if to knit. (Remember that the slipped stitch and yarn over count as a single stitch.)

Brioche knit stitch

3. Knit the stitch and yarn over together. Now you can see the completed brk. It’s the first stitch on the right needle above, and it includes both the slipped stitch and the yarn over.

Usually a brk alternates across the row with a sl1yo. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s a good way to remember what’s coming next.

Brp (brioche purl)

Like the brk, don’t feel like this stitch is challenging or impossible. This stitch is very similar to a p2tog.

Here’s how to knit the brp stitch:

Brioche purl stitch

1. Bring the working yarn to the front of the work. If your previous stitch is a sl1yo, make sure the yarn over stays in place.

Brioche purl stitch

2. Insert the needle purlwise into the next stitch and the yarn over, as if to purl. (Remember that these count as a single stitch. Have I reminded you enough?)

Brioche purl stitch

3. Purl the stitch and yarn over together as one stitch.

Now you’ll see the slipped stitch and the yarn over purled together as the first stitch on the right needle.

If you get the hang of these three basic brioche stitches, then you’re on your way to some beautiful textures! You can now use these three stitches in combination to create so many different brioche patterns.

Have you tried brioche before? What was the most challenging part for you?

One Comment

Angela Welsh

I’ve been afraid to try brioche before this but you make it sound super easy. Thank you so much!

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