Adventures in Brioche (knitting, not cake)

I had planned to start this post with a bit of waffle about how I had knitted a cowl that was perfect for crisp Autumn mornings and keeping me warm while waiting for the train, which would all have been true, but last week it seemed we had skipped autumn entirely and plunged straight into winter! We had hail and freezing southerly gales blowing straight off the fresh snow on the southern alps, as well as spectacular thunder storms, it was all very dramatic and unexpected!

This is the Gully Cowl, knitted in Brooklyn Tweed’s laceweight Vale yarn. It’s lovely and smooth and soft, and I love how squishy and three dimensional it is in this brioche stitch pattern! I initially meant to pick the pale pink version of this yarn (Arabesque), but I put the wrong colour into the Holland Road Yarn website when I was buying it and ended up with this slightly darker, muddier pink (called Barberry). I actually love it, on reflection the pale pink might have been a bit too wish wishy-washy for my pasty winter face!

This pattern really challenged me, having never knitted brioche before! Getting into the slip stitch/yarn over rhythm took a while, and then once I had my head around that I found it nearly impossible to undo any mistakes I made! The extra loops from the brioche yarn-overs just confused me when I was trying to TINK back to any errors, and I just got into a terrible mess.  I must have ripped it back and started again about three times before I wised up and started adding a lifeline. I had about three lifelines running though my knitting at any one time, once I realised how much it sucked to find a mistake after you had moved your lifeline up…


I love the Art Deco inspired shaping and curves in this cowl, its just beautiful! The cowl is knitted flat and then stretch blocked before being seamed. I actually hesitated briefly before knitting this because it was seamed, which is patently ridiculous as the seam is only about 30cm long. Not at all the same as seaming a jumper or anything tedious like that! I used blocking wires to stretch the finished cowl out to the dimensions in the schematic, and I love how straight the edges turned out, it made the seaming even easier.



I love how this cowl turned out, it really will be the perfect lightweight scarf for chilly spring or autumn mornings. I found it was useful even in the freezing driving rain we had this week, as it’s small and lightweight enough to tuck inside the collar of my fully zipped up raincoat. It stayed dry, unlike a my regular scarves which tend to get wet and then slap me in the face with a soggy end, and it was insulating enough to keep the southerly from blowing into my hood and down the back of my neck. I enjoyed knitting the brioche too, once i got my head around how it worked! I’m considering making another version of this pattern but using the beautiful skein of 4 ply MadTosh merino light I have in my stash. I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work, as long as I size up my needles appropriately, right? It’ll just be a bigger version of this one, hopefully!