A Gorgeous Knitting Hybrid: Lace & Brioche

You’ve tried traditional lace, you’ve tried brioche — and you’re in love with both the techniques. What if we told you there’s a modern technique that combines them?

It seems like when a technique takes off in the knitting world, soon there are plenty of other beautiful techniques branching from it. Brioche lace is a gorgeous technique that’s growing in popularity thanks to the already-trendy brioche. 

If you’re already a pro (or at least just an advanced beginner!) at both brioche and lace, you’re ready to try brioche lace.

Provencal Shawl Brioche Lace

Instructor Lesley Anne Robinson’s Provencal Shawl from Modern Brioche Lace class

How does brioche lace work?

Because brioche lace is the hybrid of brioche and lace, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences to get an idea of how it works. While these aren’t strict facts about each type of knitting, they’re general observations that will apply to most brioche lace patterns. There will always be exceptions!

Brioche lace vs. traditional knit lace

Brioche lace is somewhat similar to traditional lace because you’re using shaping to create the design.

Here’s the difference, though: instead of using yarn overs, decreases and increases to plot out a design, you’re using the moving lines of one of your brioche colors. It’s almost like you’re drawing a picture with your stitches!

Another way brioche lace differs from some traditional lace is that it’s reversible. This is really beneficial for projects like scarves and shawls where both the wrong side and the right side might be visible at the same time.

Brioche lace vs. traditional brioche

Just like brioche, brioche lace can be worked in either one color or two colors. You’ll find many of the same familiar brioche stitches incorporated into lace, too, like brk and brp.

Also like traditional brioche, each row or round in the two-color lace brioche requires two passes. For example, you’ll have a Row 1 a and Row 1 b.

Brioche lace, just like regular brioche, results in a fabric that’s squishy and warm. However, the difference is that the gauge for brioche lace will probably be much smaller than one for brioche because the yarn you’re using will be thinner. The design, too, is often a bit more intricate than the designs you’ll find in brioche.

Sizzle Pop Lace Brioche Shawl

Bluprint instructor Lesley Anne Robinson’s Sizzle Pop brioche lace shawl

What you’ll need before tackling brioche lace

Before you learn brioche lace, make sure you check these off your to-do list:

1. Get familiar with both basic brioche abbreviations and stitches: brk, brp, sl1yo.

Many basic brioche stitches and abbreviations will pop up in brioche lace. Get ready!

2. Be familiar with traditional lace abbreviations and stitches: yo, ssk (slip, slip, knit), k2tog (knit 2 together), plus other increases and decreases.

We’re not knitting lace here, but knowledge of lace can help you see parallels between traditional lace and brioche lace that will help you read charts and maybe even read your brioche lace knitting.

3. Review how to read a brioche chart.

Brioche lace relies heavily on charts to “draw” the gorgeous designs. Trust us when we say these are not instructions you’ll want to read using words!

4. Have lots of patience.

Think back to when you learned brioche and traditional lace. It wasn’t easy! You’ll have to practice a bit to become familiar with all these decreases and increases, but once you master them brioche lace will float right off your needles.

5. Helpful but not required: Knowledge of brioche cast ons like Twisted German, as well as brioche decreases and increases like br4st decrease and brkyobrk increase.

Be warned: brioche lace is addictive! Instructor Lesley Anne Robinson even says that brioche is what inspired her to start designing her own knitwear. It might just do the same for you!

Have you tried brioche lace yet? If not, does it look like something you’d want to try?

Modern Brioche Lace Class

Modern Brioche Lace, Step by Step

Master brioche lace knitting as you create a stunning shawl, with expert guidance in this online video class.Get the Class

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