Everything you need to know about knitting the half-brioche stitch – in one or two colors or in the round.
Few knitting stitches create as voluminous and fluffy a fabric as brioche stitches. But they are also quite the yarn eater. And here’s why the half brioche knitting stitch pattern offers you a nice alternative.
It’s not a reversible pattern but has two distinct sides. Some tutorials call one the “wrong side” but I personally think they can both be very pretty and I have seen quite a lot of make great use of the reverse.
The right side of the half brioche looks almost exactly like the standard brioche pattern, so it can be a lovely alternative for sweaters, cardigans, and vests where you maybe don’t want to use up so much yarn, need a fabric that is a tiny bit firmer and bit less drapey.
Let’s show you how to knit it.
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- Cast on an even number of stitches
- Row 1 (WS): *slip 1, yarn over, k1*
- Row 2 (RS): *p1, k2tog*
- Repeat rows 1+2 until you reached the desired length, then bind off loosely.
A lot of old books will call the k2tog on the right side a brioche knit or brk. I personally feel that's just making things much more complicated than they really are. So, you will also find *p1, brk1* as the repeat or the RS.
For neater results, try to knit with relatively small needles compared to your yarn weight. Otherwise, your fabric might end up a bit too drapey. Also, consider adding two selvage stitches on either side to create a prettier edge.
Also, pay attention that you don't accidentally add yarnovers on the return row. This can be a common problem for those familiar with the standard brioche stitch. Best use a stitch marker and attached it to the wrong side so you don't get confused.
How to increase and decrease the half brioche stitch
Increasing the half brioche stitch works exactly the same as the normal brioche stitch but you have to pay attention that you only do it on the right side.
So, you knit up to a position where you would normally k2tog two stitches, and then:
- Step 1: k2tog but keep the stitch on the left needle.
- Step 2: do a yarnover.
- Step 3: knit into the double stitch one more time.
Decreasing the half-brioche stitch should also be done on the right side.
- Step 1: Slip a knit/yarnover combination (brk) knitwise.
- Step 2: Purl the next stitch.
- Step 3: Pass the 2 slipped stitches over the one you just purled.
- Step 4: Slip the remaining stitch to the left needle.
- Step 5: Pass the adjacent knit/yarnover combination (brk) over the one you just slipped.
- Step 6: Slip the remaining stitch back to the right needle.
For a more detailed explanation and the left-leaning version, check out this tutorial on how to decrease brioche stitches. It’s exactly the same – the only difference is that you need to purl the center stitch.
Note: If you want to decrease on the wrong side, you would have to do it with a k3tog – either the right or the left-leaning version.
Two-Color Half brioche stitch
To knit the half-brioche stitch in two colors, you have to work with either double-pointed needles or circular needles. Basically, it boils down to knitting every round twice.
- Cast on an even number of stitches
- Row 1a (color a): *sl1yo, k*
- Row 1b (color b): slide work back to the right end of your needle *p2tog, k1*
- Row 2a (color a): turn work around *p1, sl1yo*
- Row 2a (color b): slip work back to the right end of your needle *k2tog, p1*
The 2-colored half-brioche is sadly not a reversible pattern. So, while you get nice two-colored ribs on the right side, the wrong side is more or less a wild mix of the two-colors. I guess that’s the reason why it’s not as popular as the standard stitch.
Half brioche stitch in the round
To knit the half-brioche stitch in the round, you only have to adjust the repeat of the second round a bit.
- cast on an even number of stitches
- Round 1: Sl1yo, p1
- Round 2: k2tog, p1
If you want to knit in the round in two-colors, the repeat is exactly the same. Just make sure you pick the right dominant color (= the color you k2tog with) because this is the color that will form the pretty ribs.