Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Yarn Shop Day 2016

Yarn Shop Day will take place on Saturday 30th April this year and excitement is already building.  This is the third year for this nationwide event and is the brainchild of Craft Business and Let’s Knit magazine.  The idea is for crafters all over the UK to support their local yarn shop by visiting them on Yarn Shop Day.  Many stores put on special events and some of the biggest names in hand knit design will be out and about visiting selected stores.  Some hold tea parties, others encourage people to knit or crochet for charity and there are usually lots of offers and prizes to be won.
Last year more than 200 shops signed up and the organisers tell us they are expecting even more this year.  If you want to find out if your local store is taking part you can check out the Yarn Shop Day map.

Here are some of last year’s highlights.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Brioche Stitch unravelled

You may have noticed how many patterns there are around at the moment that feature Brioche stitches from the likes of Nancy Marchant and Stephen West, so we thought we would take a closer look at this technique. We have used two colours to make it easier for you to see but you can also knit Brioche stitch using one colour.
According to Wikipedia Brioche knitting involves tucked stitches, i.e., yarn overs that are knitted together with a slipped stitch from the previous row. The tucked stitches form a second layer of knitting in front of the first layer, resembling an array of arches and is beautifully warm and lofty.
Brioche knitting may have originated in the Middle East. However, the term "brioche" seems to have derived from French slang for "mistake". The name might be a reference to the brioche dinner roll, which is formed of two pieces, one stacked atop the other.
Brioche knitting is great fun and we really enjoyed making this tutorial. To make it easier for you to see the technique we have used contrasting colours and a circular needle which makes sliding the stitches back a lot easier.
We started with an Italian cast on which is recommended by Marchant and which you can find here. 

As with Double Knitting the trick to successful Brioche knitting is all in the preparation and the set up rows. Each row is made up of two passes, one in each colour.  Once you have knitted the first colour you slip the stitches back again to the tip of the left needle and knit the row again in the second colour.

Set up row in lighter colour:
Using the lighter colour (LC) P1, Slip the next stitch at the same time as doing a yarn over (sl1yo). Continue working the stitches this way until the last stitch, P1.  Now you can slip the knot of the Italian cast on off the needle.

 Do not turn but slide the stitches back to the opposite end of the needle.

Set up row in darker colour:
Using the darker colour (DC) slip the first stitch.  Now you need to execute a brk1 (or Brioche Knit 1) by knitting the next stitch with its corresponding yarn over from the LC set up row. Sl1yo, brk1 to the last stitch.  With the DC at the back of your work, slip the last stitch.

It’s time to turn your work.

Row 1  LC:
Using LC K1 * sl1yo, brk1 and repeat from * to the last 2 stitches. Sl1yo and knit the final stitch.  Do not turn but slide your work back to the opposite end of the needle.

Row1 DC:
Using DC slip the first stitch. Now you are going to execute the second type of Brioche stitch which is known as a brp1 (or Brioche Purl 1) by purling the next stitch with its corresponding yarn over from Row 1 LC. Sl1yo, brp1 across the remaining stitches until the last stitch. Slip this stitch and bring the DC to the front of your work.

Row2 LC:
Using LC purl the first stitch *sl1yo, brp1. Repeat from * to the last 2 stitches, sl1yo, P1. Slide the stitches back along the needle.
Row 2 DC:
Using DC slip the first stitch, *brk1, sl1yo and repeat from * to the last 2 stitches. Brk1 and slip the last stitch leaving the DC at the back of your work.
These two pairs of rows form your brioche knitting.  Although it may seem very complicated at the beginning, you will soon see the Brioche rib emerge and will be able to orientate yourself better if you persevere.

You can find out more information by visiting Nancy Marchant’s website or you night find this video helpful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMhQwy4R2PA