Resolutions, resolutions, resolutions. I generally don't make them. After all I live a fairly disciplined lifestyle already. So when I think about resolutions, if I do, it's in terms of crafting goals. And last year I resolved to learn the brioche stitch. Come hell or high water.
It wasn't just because there were a number of shawls that I wanted to make that use this stitch. It was also that I didn't feel I would be a complete knitter until I had mastered this stitch. And it's not like I woke up last New Year's and decided I wanted to learn the brioche stitch either. I had attempted it several times over the years and not succeeded. For whatever reason this stitch befuddled me and simply watching free youtube videos and tutorials wasn't making it any clearer.
So in 2017 I bit the bullet and signed up for a paid Craftsy class! You have to understand this was a huge mental shift for me. If there's a free option online then I'm not interested in paying. For example I would never pay to blog as I get the blogger platform for free. I'm also not interested in making money from being online either so I guess there's some symmetry there. But as I mentioned I had already gone the free route with this stitch and that had gotten me nowhere. I turned to the mega online craft class retailer Craftsy and settled on Explorations in Brioche Knitting with Nancy Marchant, who is a renown brioche guru. And if you are going to learn anything it's best to learn from the best. Especially if you are going to be paying. And I am delighted to report that this class did the trick for me. I began with lesson one and worked through the modulus and wallah the brioche stitch wasn't nearly so complicated as it had previously seemed. I guess sometimes it does pay to pay.
After all that I am particularly delighted to start 2018 by sharing my very first two color brioche shawl! This pattern is a combination of both brioche and lace stitches and if you look at the picture below you can see the brioche portion is the purple segment which gives the fabric depth and a beautiful tonal effect. I am not going to lie though the shape of this shawl is awkward and highly asymmetrical. I would not consider it an everyday shawl but if you want a statement piece then this is the ticket. All in all I'm thrilled to be wearing it and as a bonus I can call myself a
Particulars: Parlour Shawl designed by Leslie Anne Robinson (Knit Graffiti Designs), la Bien Aimee skinny singles 1,100 yrds (yarn purchased as a kit); US 4 needles. I only made a couple very small modifications to this pattern. Because I felt leaving the eyelet of the pattern repeats looked unfinished I closed that eyelet and to make up for the extra decrease I threw in another edging increase. The other modification was to the BO. Three quarters of the way into the BO I realized that the edge was rolling and hiding the contrasting color so I ripped back and knit another row to create a garter stitch edge. Then, instead of turning my work I simply slid the stitches to the other end of my circular needles (so the right side was still facing me) and BO in contracting color yarn. This eliminated the rolling and emphasized the contrasting color.
To see a project that incorporates just a single color in the brioche stitch see my post with a photo of Stephen West's Marled Magic Shawl (the brioche is the grey portion) which also gives wonderful depth and texture to your fabric.
Incidentally I found baking brioche to be easier and oddly satisfying in light of having failed at the stitch. I use Le Pain Quotident's Brioche recipe from their Cookbook. They do have a free version of their brioche recipe online but it uses very different measurements from the book and I can not vouch for it (nor are the ratings for that version very high) but if you are interested here's the link brioche recipe.
SUNSETS IN SAN CLEMENTE ~
After the wildfires and a very stressful start to the holidays we were fortunate that things quickly turned around and returned to normal. The Thursday before Christmas evacuation orders were lifted in Santa Barbara and my parents were allowed to return home and I joined them to help get the holidays back on track. A few days of dashing about and decorating the tree, shopping, and hanging the lights and we were able to enjoy one of the nicest Christmases ever. Afterward Steve and I headed to San Clemente to spend a few days relaxing at the beach as we always do the week between Christmas and New Year. Watching the sun glide below the watery surface is so beautiful and relaxing and one of my favorite parts of staying at the beach. Except when I'm not paying attention and a rogue wave wipes me out as it did while I was taking this picture. Yet looking back at the picture I can say without hesitation worth it. Even if I still have Sand in my Shoes.
Until next time be well, love well and may 2018 bring health and happiness and successful brioche knitting to all!