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Free Pattern: Briochepira Cowl

Briochepira Cowl was born one day this summer when I was looking at the pile of handspun yarn in my craft studio. "Those colors would go really nicely together. What should I knit with them?" My mind immediately went to Inspira Cowl, a free pattern on Ravelry (seizure warning) that's been around since 2011.

Briochepira Cowl :: cowl knitting pattern

Inspira Cowl is made with corrugated ribbing which creates a pretty un-stretchy fabric. Besides, I wanted the cowl to look as pretty on the inside as it does on the outside. Regular two-color brioche is based on 1x1 ribbing... but is there an equivalent for 2x2 rib? A quick pop over to Nancy Marchant's website quickly revealed the answer: double brioche. The double brioche stitch makes the cowl extra squishy and comfortable to wear.

Briochepira Cowl :: cowl knitting pattern

If you're familiar with regular two-color brioche, double brioche is really not that difficult. It's literally just doing every stitch twice in a row. I do recommend, though, that you familiarize yourself with regular brioche before venturing onto double brioche.

The double-length purl bar in double brioche.
The double-length purl bar in double brioche.

The double sl1yo in particular caused some confusion — both for me and my beta testers. A double sl1yo (or sl2yo) is two separate slipped stitches, each with its own yarnover. When purled into on the following round, the two yarnovers turn into a double-length bar that spans the two stitches in the brioche purl columns.

If you're a Continental knitter (like I am), it's easier, faster, and more convenient to do the brioche slip in the opposite order: yo, sl1. (It's also easier to work into on the following round.) Here's a great demonstration of Continental-style brioche knitting.

If you're an English-style knitter, the sl2yo can be a little awkward to execute. You might find this tutorial useful but beware that it demonstrates the double brioche slips with only one yarnover for two slipped stitches.

Another question that popped up during the beta test: how does it look on the wrong side? Like regular two-color brioche, the wrong side of double brioche looks the same as the right side, only with the colors inverted. As one beta tester remarked: "I always think of brioche having a right side... and another right side." Very true!

The right and wrong sides for double brioche. They look the same!
The right and wrong sides for double brioche. They look the same!

This makes Briochepira Cowl reversible in the sense that it looks nice — although not exactly the same — on both sides. In addition, the cast-on and bind-off edges were designed to match each other so you can wear your cowl any which way. Upside down or wrong side out — it'll always look great!

The pattern is written for three different yarn weights: fingering, sport, and worsted. But you could use pretty much any weight! Example stitch counts and repeats are given for each three yarn weights but the cowl can be infinitely customized for any yarn, size, and fit — just cast on a number of stitches divisible by four. To knit the cowl you need approx. 200–300 m (or 220–330 yd) of each of the two colors.

A photo of two handspun yarn cakes.

The yarns I used for the sample were both handspun roughly in sport weight. Briochepira Cowl is a great pattern for those special handspun skeins but commercially or hand-dyed yarns work equally well. Long color repeats, gradients, or ombre yarns are ideal!

It's a great idea to pick two contrasting, yet coordinating colors that play off of each other. Make sure you can tell the two colors apart, though. It's really tricky to knit two-color brioche when you can't tell which yarn is which. (Ask me how I know.)

Briochepira Cowl :: cowl knitting pattern

Briochepira Cowl was in an open beta test in my Mighty Networks community for the month of July 2021 and it's now been released to the public. Because it's based on a free pattern, I don't feel comfortable charging for it. Therefore, Briochepira Cowl is forever free! You can download it in my Payhip or LoveCrafts pattern shops.

I want to see your squishy cowls! Use the hashtags #briochepiracowl and #talviknits on Instagram.


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Briochepira Cowl is an ultra squishy cowl knit in two-color double brioche. The pattern comes in one size, written for three different yarn weights (fingering, sport, or worsted). Choose two contrasting yet coordinating colors that together make a fun combination. Long color repeats, gradients, or ombre yarns are ideal! To knit the pattern you need approx. 200-300 meters of each of the two color. #knitting #knit #knittingpatterns #freepattern #freeknittingpattern #talviknits #briocheknitting

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1 Kommentar

Aryd'ell Hotelling
Aryd'ell Hotelling
30. Nov. 2023

Call me a little off, but never having done brioche, much less knitted before May 2023 (although have been a crocheter, from thread to super bulky, regular, mosaic overlay and Tunisian) for many a season, you have inspired me. I will take your advice and play learning the single, first, but that double is going to be the first project once all the gifties are done (soon, I hope) and winging their way to family and friends. Thank you for sharing <3

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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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