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Brioche It Or Not

Sometimes things don't turn out the way you hope. Here's a would-be pattern that never was.

This is brioche.
This is brioche.

If you've been following me for a while, you know that I'm not a fan of brioche. I know I'm in the minority here but this newest brioche craze is just completely baffling to me. I think that it's an unnecessarily complicated way of creating knitted fabric that is loose, floppy, not to mention it tends to bias when worked in the round. Come to think of it, brioche resembles the look of K1 P1 ribbing which I absolutely abhor. Twisted ribbing, now that's another story...

This is not.
This is not.

I had this clever plan of creating a fabric that mimics brioche... but is done completely differently. I designed a three-color cowl that would fade from one solid color to the other with a variegated yarn in the middle. But I didn't take the differences in gauge into account. Brioche is indeed very loose and floppy whereas my not-brioche — which is a combination of stranded colorwork and slipped stitches — is not stretchy at all. Combined with a textural stitch in the middle the cowl bulges out here and bunches in there in a manner that even blocking couldn't balance out.

Retrosaria Mondim in the colorway #208
Retrosaria Mondim in the colorway #208

The yarn, on the other hand, is just marvelous. Retrosaria Mondim is a fingering-weight, non-superwash 100% wool yarn with a crisp texture that — I discovered — works beautifully with lace patterns. It does have a slightly rustic, woolly feel to it so if you're super sensitive, it might not be your yarn of choice for against-the-skin projects. But I fell in love with the yarn so hard I bought two sweater quantities even before finishing this cowl.

Brioche It Or Not

My plan for not-brioche, while sort of resembling real brioche, involved changing needle sizes back and forth every other row or so. What began as a less complicated way of achieving the brioche look became too convoluted, completely defeating the purpose. In the end I decided to ditch the design idea since it just didn't do the yarn justice.

Brioche It Or Not

In the process I learnt that I quite enjoy the rhythmic process of knitting brioche — I just don't like the look of it. It's been bit of a chilly start to September so I've been enjoying wearing the cowl, too. At least in that respect it's a success!

  • On Ravelry: Brioche It Or Not (seizure warning!)

  • Pattern: improvised

  • Yarn: Retrosaria Mondim (100% wool, 385 m/100 g, 421 yd/3.53 oz) in the colorways #112 (pistachio green), #208 (multicolor), and #110 (dusky pink)

  • Needles: 2.75, 3.25, and 3.5 mm


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Brioche It Or Not

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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