Two-toned brioche stitch watchcap

Yarn: Cleckheaton 8-ply and some Mission superwash, I think
Gauge: who knows, it doesn’t really matter
Status: done

This watchcap is a technical marvel: alternating rows of color produce vertical stripes.

It all started when I took a close look at the favorite sweater of a friend, which he had brought back from France. It appeared to be brioche stitch, with its intertwined loops, but it was two-toned. On one side the dark color stood out, on the other, the light was to the forefront.

I began with the basic brioche stitch from Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears. I cast on a likely number of stitches in one color and worked the first row of brioche in the second color: bring yarn to front, slip 1 bringing yarn over needle, k1.

At the end of the row I turned the work so I was now working in the opposite direction. Second row of brioche with original cast on color: bring yarn to front, slip 1 bringing yarn over needle, ktog next stitch and its yo.

At the end of each row I simply turned the hat and worked the second row of brioche (the first row is never repeated), so that I had the two colors building up their vertical courses in opposing spirals.

The tricky part was the join. You can see in the closeup it’s not very pretty. Kind of sloppy, in fact. The best I could do was to begin the row by slipping with yarn in back, to make a tighter joining point. Notice how the join tightened up as I progressed and figured this out.

Directions for working two-toned brioche flat

Mark the sides as 1 and 2, and call your colors A and B. A circular needle (or long dpns) will be essential. For practice purposes, it might also be easier to work a few rows in brioche in one color to establish a base.

Essentially what you’re doing is working side 1 in color A and side 2 in color B. You’re alternating colors each row, but half the time you have to work a purl brioche or knit brioche backwards (left to right instead of normal right to left)

Row 1: on side 1: work 1 row brioche stitch in color A

Turn the work as you would if knitting normally

Row 2: on side 2 work 1 row brioche stitch in color B

Stay on side 2. Do not turn work.

Row 3: Work 1 row purl brioche in color A.

You’re working the back side of side 1. You can’t just turn over to side 1 and knit a row of brioche because the yarn is at the wrong end. You have to “purl back” in brioche stitch. Tricky, I know. The alternative is to turn over to Side 1 and work brioche stitch backwards. When this row is done, turn to Side 1 (unless you tackled knitting brioche backwards on Side 1 in which case you’re there already)

Color A is now be at beginning of the row on side 1. So is color B

Row 4: work 1 row purl brioche in color B. Now you’re working the back side of side B. Same situation as above. When you manage this, each color will be at the beginning of the row for its side.

Now you can begin again with row 1.

Page updated Mon Nov 17, 2003, 08:30 AM