Stitch Help: Half Brioche

If you are looking to add an interesting, but quite simple stitch to your knitting repertoire this fall, might I suggest the half brioche stitch? It looks quite like a rib stitch, but oh, is it different!

First of all, you are not knitting the same row over and over into oblivion. The two different rows keep it interesting and create a really stretchy pattern that is still very thick and quite lofty. It is perfect for scarves and blankets! You could also use this stitch as an introduction to brioche knitting, which admittedly seems a bit daunting at first. To see all the wonderful things you can do with brioche knitting, check out Explorations in Brioche Knitting with Nancy Marchant.

Now, let’s work some half brioche!

Cast on an even number of stitches. I add a stitch to either side to slip at the beginning of each row for a nice even edge.

Row 1 (right side):
Close-up of Knitting Half Brioche Row 1

Slip the first stitch, Knit 1, bring the yarn forward, slip the next stitch purlwise, then yarn over (yf sl1yo)*. Repeat the K1, yf sl1yo pattern across the stitches, knit the last stitch.

*Alternatively, it might be easier for you to remember to YO by bringing the yarn to the front and back over the needle, then slip the next stitch purl wise. Either way, you need to create an extra stitch for every two, minus your edge stitches.

Row 2 (wrong side):
Close-up of knitting half brioche row 2

Slip the first stitch, knit the first stitch and the yarn over together (this is your first brioche knit or BRK!), purl 1. Repeat the BRK, P1 pattern across the stitches, knit the last stitch.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for the pattern.

The right side of your work should look like this:

The wrong side of your work should look like this:

Both are quite beautiful, in my opinion! The front has a lovely texture and the back looks like really defined K1P1 rib.

Around and around

Adapting the half brioche stitch to work in the round is pretty simple.

CO an even number of stitches, disregarding the edge stitches we added when we worked flat.

Round 1 (same as Row 1, flat):

*K1, yf sl1yo* around.

Round 2:

Round 2 is slightly different, since we are not working on the wrong side anymore:

Knit the first stitch, purl the next stitch with the YO (your first brioche purl or BRP!). Repeat the *K1, BRP* around.

You could make a hat, a cowl or leg warmers! Just keep some things in mind when working the half brioche stitch:

1. It uses A LOT of yarn, so plan accordingly.
2. It is very stretchy, so if you are making something to be worn, it will stretch. You might not need as many stitches as you are used to using.
3. Use a stretchy cast on. I like the long tail cast on, which you can see here: The Ins and Outs of Casting On.
4. You can use two colors by changing colors EVERY row. This is much easier if you are working in the round, but also possible working flat, if you use a circular needle or DPNs.

The right side of two-color brioche in the round looks like this:

The wrong side of two-color brioche in the round looks like this:
Close-up of two-color half brioche stitch in the round wrong side

When you stretch the wrong side, you can see peeks of the other color between the stitches:
Close-up of half brioche stitch in the round two colors

That’s it, guys! I hope you can incorporate the stitch into your work this season!

Have you tried the brioche or half brioche stitch? Show me some of your projects! I could use the inspiration until the weather starts cooperating with me.

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One Response to “Stitch Help: Half Brioche”
  1. Marion Frazer
    Marion Frazer

    I just tried this, love it…almost no thinking….there are times I have to knit, but not to think and this is just perfect ! Yes, the back looks as good as the front…Thank you so much ! Marion