Brioche stitch is an easy way to create a beautiful lush texture. If you’ve never tried to knit brioche, this tutorial will get you started, and this one will explain how to work brioche stitch in the round.
This stitch pattern is great for scarves and shawls, but when we want to use brioche to make a shaped garment, or when we want to knit one of those gorgeous brioche patterns we admire on Pinterest, we have to know how to decrease stitches without disrupting brioche pattern.
Because classic brioche stitch is based on 1×1 ribbing, the only way to keep the pattern consistent is to decrease two stitches at a time.
This tutorial explains how we can do it to form right-slanting and left-slanting decreases.
If you prefer to learn from a video tutorial, click here. Or, simply scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the embedded version of the video.
Before we get started, let’s agree on one thing – the yarn overs used to add texture to the fabric are not considered to be separate stitches. They are more like companions of the regular stitches. When we make decreases, we’ll treat each stitch with its yarn over as one stitch.
Both decreases look much better when we plan them around knit stitches. That’s why we normally make decreases in a group of “knit stitch & yarn over + purl stitch + knit stitch & yarn over”.
There are two ways to make a right-slanting decrease in brioche pattern – one is more straightforward, the other one – a bit more fiddly.
To use either of these ways, work to two stitches before the place where you plan to make a decrease.
For example, in the swatch shown in the above photo, I want to make a decrease at the last knit stitch of the row. As you see, I stopped working in the pattern when I got to a spot that is two stitches before the last knit stitch of the row. When you count stitches, remember to treat a stitch + a yarn over as one stitch.
Now we are ready to make a decrease.
This decrease is a brioche version of “knit 3 together”.
1. With the yarn at the back of the work, insert the tip of the right needle from left to right into the first three stitches from the tip of the left needle. To make this step easier, move the stitches closer to the tip of the left needle.
2. Wrap the needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through to knit these three stitches (plus their companions – yarn overs) together.
3. Slip the knitted stitches off the left needle.
Repeat these steps every time you need to make a right-slanting decrease. If you make decreases in every other row or round, you’ll form a lovely line like this one:
Even though this way to make a right-slanting decrease has fewer steps, it has a significant drawback – it can be quite challenging to push the tip of the right needle through 5 strands of yarn (3 stitches + 2 yarn overs).
If you usually knit tight, it might be worth taking a few extra steps and decrease stitches using the other way to make a right-slanting decrease.
1. When you get to the spot that is two stitches before the planned decrease, slip the first stitch (and its yarn over) from the left needle to the right needle knitwise (it means that we should insert the tip of the right needle from left to right into the knit stitch + yarn over duo and take the left needle out leaving these strands on the right needle.).
2. Return this stitch back to the left needle and knit it together through the back loop with the next stitch.
To make this action more efficient, don’t take the right needle out of the stitch after you slip the stitch to the left needle. Instead, insert the tip of the right needle into the next stitch on the left needle, wrap the needle with the yarn and pull the wrap through – all in one quick motion. Watch how to do it in this part of the video tutorial.
3. Now slip the stitch we formed in the previous step to the left needle. Do it purlwise, without twisting the stitch.
4. Insert the tip of the right needle from right to left into the second stitch on the left needle.
5. Pass the second stitch over the first one.
6. The last step is to slip the stitch we’ve just formed from the left needle to the right needle. We do it purlwise without twisting the stitch.
These decreases form a neat line that looks very similar to the line shaped by the first way of making right-slanting decrease.
The second way of making a right-slanting decrease is similar to the method we use when we want to make a left-slanting decrease in brioche pattern – both ways involve a number of small steps that start with slipping the first stitch knitwise.
Work to a spot where you plan to decrease stitches. I want to place it at the second knit stitch of my swatch, so I stop working in the pattern when I get to that stitch.
1. Slip the first knit stitch with its yarn over knitwise.
2. Knit the next purl stitch and knit stitch + yarn over together. Watch how to do it.
3. Now insert the tip of the left needle from left to right into the slipped knit stitch + yarn over.
4. Pass these two strands over the stitch we created when we knitted two stitches together in step 2.
When we place left-slanting decreases on top of each other, they create a clean line of stitches that is almost identical on both sides of the fabric.
These decreases are perfect for forming decorative lines that highlight the shaping of a garment. Now you can confidently use brioche stitch pattern to make cosy sweaters, cardigans, shawls and hats.
If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:
“Neat Side Edges” Book
Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.