How to increase the brioche stitch

A step by step tutorial on the basic way for increasing brioche stitches in one or two colors, or in the round.

I love the Brioche stitch. It’s seriously one of my favorite knitting stitch patterns ever. It turns every yarn into a luxuriously soft fabric with an easy two stitch repeat. But there is one question that pops up among beginners quite often: How do you increase the brioche stitch?

close-up of a swatch with brioche stitch increases - standard and double increases

Maybe you’ve tried and noticed that using typical knitting increases just don’t work properly. And this is where a lot of books and websites turn brioche knitting into science using tons of abbreviations and lingo when I actually believe it is perfectly suitable for beginners.

There is only one thing you need to know: Brioche stitches are actually a form of double knitting. It’s probably better to call it a double 1×1 rib pattern – like a natural evolution of the double stockinette stitch. And that’s why you can only increase with double increases.

When paired with a decrease, the resulting fabric actually looks a lot like cables and there are tons of fun knitting patterns that make use of it.

Let’s dive right into it, eh?

Note: Check out this post if you like to know how to decrease the brioche stitch. Also, be aware that these increases work for the half brioche stitch as well.

How to knit the basic brioche stitch increase

close-up of a basic brioche stitch increase

How to knit the basic brioche stitch increase step by step. In knitting patterns, you'll often find the abbreviation brkyobrk which stands for brioche knit, yarn over, brioche knit again.

Active Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute

Instructions

  1. Step: Knit up to the position you want to place the increase. Specifically to a place where you normally would k2tog a [yarn over, slip one] combination of the previous round. Knit it together like you normally would. But don't drop the stitch yet and keep it on the left needle instead.

    starting the brioche stitch increase with a regular k2tog
  2. Step: Do a yarn over.

    Adding a yarnover into the same brioche stitch
  3. Step: Knit a k2tog into the double stitch one more time. Now you can drop the stitch off the needles

    adding another k2tog into the same brioche stitch knit
  4. Step: Continue knitting until you reach the beginning of these three stitches in the return row. Knit a yarn over slip 1 purlwise (yosl1p) into the first of the three stitches as normal.

    yarn over & slipping one stitch as normal
  5. Step: Now, normally, you would brioche knit together the next stitch, but in this case, you only have to knit this stitch because you don't have a paired yarn over yet.

    knit one regular stitch (no k2tog)
  6. Step: Continue knitting the regular repeat. So, another yosl1p.

    doing one final yarn over slip 1 to finish the basic brioche stitch increase

Notes

If you are afraid of missing the place where the increase starts on the return row, you may consider placing a stitch marker right after it. This can be helpful if you are knitting a pattern with a lot of increases.

You should also know that this is a centered increase. It's neither left- nor right-leaning. You can use it wherever you want and you don't have to pay attention (unlike with brioche decreases). It will always appear like one rib symmetrically branches out into two.

close-up of a basic brioche stitch increase

One thing you need to be aware of is the fact that this is not exactly a reversible increase. It WILL look a bit differently on the other side. It will look clean and neat but different. Here, two of the purl ridges will appear to be branching out. You will have to plan your increases in a way that they all are knit from the same side, otherwise, it may look a bit weird.

Doing a double increase

You can use the very same technique to increase by more than 2 stitches. You can also let one rib branch out into three ribs. That’s actually the very same technique with two slight modifications.

close-up of a double brioche stitch increase
Close-up of a double brioche increase

Step 1: Knit a regular brioche stitch increase but don’t drop the yarn.

Step 2: Do another yarn over and knit into the double stitch a third time, then drop it off the left needle.

Step 3: On the return row, you only have to knit the second and fourth stitch of the 5 increased stitches you created.

Theoretically speaking, you could even increase further. Do know, however, that two things will happen when you are knitting a double brioche increase (it’s actually a quadruple increase).

  1. You will stretch out the initial stitch quite a bit and this will create a little eyelet
  2. The resulting fabric will bulge out a tiny bit. As the brioche stitch is very elastic, you will usually not notice it. Still, you are essentially creating a little bobble here.

Note: Here’s a post about the corresponding brioche double decrease.

Two colored brioche increase

a swatch with two-colored brioche stitch increases

You can also increase a two-colored brioche stitch in a very similar manner. There’s virtually no difference in the first row. You only need to adjust the “return row”, or rather the way you knit across in the second color.

This increase only works on a right-side row in the dominant color.

Step 1: Knit a k2tog, yo, k2tog into the same double stitch (where you did a yosl1p in the previous round in the second color) and continue knitting until the end of the row.

showing the brioche stitch increase in two colors in the first row

Step 2: When you knit across in the second color, knit [yosl1p, purl 1, yosl1p] across those three stitches.

showing the return row of two colored brioche stitch increase
See? I am only purling the center stitch of the increase

As I already said, the basic brioche increase is not exactly reversible. When you knit in one color, it’s not all that noticeable. In two colors, it’s a different story.

the backside of a two-colored brioche stitch with increases
The wrong side of a swatch knit in two colors with increases

You are adding two knit stitches in the dominant color with this increase. This creates purl stitches for the second color and they will be off-set by one row. It will “destroy” the cabled charm of the brioche stitch and essentially means you have to think in terms of wrong-side and right-side when planning out your pattern.

The Brioche increase in the round

a swatch of brioche stitch knit in the round with several increases

The brioche stitch can easily be knit in the round as well. Experienced knitters might already know that the is no difference between the repeat for a two-colored brioche and knitting it in the round (except you may or may not be using two colors).

So, if you want to increase a brioche stitch in the round, you have to do exactly the same steps. And just like before, you can only do the increase in a round with k2togs.

Step 1: Knit a k2tog, yo, k2tog into one double stitch.

starting the brioche stitch increase in the round with a regular double increase

Step 2: Sl1pyo, purl, sl1pyo

showing the second step for increasing brioche stitch in the round

It’s really that simple.

Theoretically speaking, you could also work this increase in a p2tog round by doing a p2tog, yo, p2tog into the same double stitch. But then you wouldn’t get the neat optical illusion of one of the knit stitch ridges branching out. So, probably just an academic thought experiment.

Anyway, that’s how you knit the brioche stitch increase. Feel free to comment below in case you got any questions.

how to knit the brioche stitch increase3

8 thoughts on “How to increase the brioche stitch”

  1. Oh Norman, how I wish I’d met you several years ago.
    Your site is so well done. The videos are produced so clearly.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  2. I haven’t done enough brioche for this to make sense to me just now. I plan to save it for when I get time to practice. Thanks for the illustrated instruction. Words and pictures together work wonders for understanding.

    Reply
  3. The vídeo is very good. I learned a lot.
    By half brioche, do I make the increases the same way?
    Thank you very much.
    Aida

    Reply
  4. Where did my comment go. I asked on my increases pattern says to increase by 1 on both sides I end up with 2 extra increases why is that. I can’t figure it out HELP

    Reply

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