If you’ve jumped into exploring the brioche stitch (perhaps Brioche Chic inspired you?) and are curious what new directions you can take with this technique, Knitting Fresh Brioche is for you. While it is beneficial to be familiar with the basic stitch before delving into this book, don’t worry, there is an extensive review of basic techniques and Marchant’s system to describe and chart the stitches. Knitting Fresh Brioche is broken into three main sections: technique, stitch patterns, and projects. Throughout the entire book, the photos are crisp and clear. The page layout is thoughtful, most techniques and stitch patterns are on one page so there is no need to keep flipping back and forth or feeling that a key step was left out.
The technique section would be a remarkable book by itself. The photos match well with the written instructions. Many techniques are spelled out in this section from casting-on to binding-off with all the shaping in-between. The photo tutorials are for both English and Continental style knitting, a little detail I appreciated. I have two small quibbles with this section, overall I find the order of the presented techniques disjointed; I found myself flipping around the section to find what I needed. I also wish the photos had a little more contrast between the backgrounds and the lighter yarns.
The stitch patterns are the star of this book and the attention to detail is apparent. There are clear photographs of both sides of each pattern. The yarn, including colour, for each swatch is consistent throughout, making it easier to see how each new stitch differs from the others. It would have been nice for a mini chart legend/key and even possibly a small list of techniques and their associated page numbers to be included, however I recognize that could quickly clutter the page. It was simple to add index tabs for the pages I needed to reference.
I chose to swatch Wavy Buds and while knitting, I kept knitting a decrease incorrectly, because I was slipping purl-wise, not knit-wise. It was simple to turn to that technique and figure out exactly where I was going off track based on the photos. Do you see the error in the first repeat at bottom of my swatch? I then corrected (the most obvious error) for the second repeat. Note: this swatch is unblocked.
The shawl and wrap designs are in a variety of yarn weights and offer several differently constructed shapes. Before looking through the swatches, I hadn’t thought much how yarn construction effects the brioche stitch. Single-ply yarns create a beautiful stitch, something I hadn’t expected. Which patterns do I want to knit? Each offers interesting elements and help explore how the stitches can be incorporated into a design. As it’s currently late winter, I’m drawn to anything remotely leaf-shaped and green and that is influencing my choice. The simplicity and asymmetry of Stegosaurus interests me the most right now, along with only having to cast on 3 stitches to start!
I was frustrated to find the Useful Information section at the very end of the book. This is where the technique to work two-color brioche in the round is discussed and is required for several of the pattern designs. Here we also learn how to work the conversion from a flat stitch pattern, to working it in the round, either for two-colour or even just one. I would have preferred to see this together with the other techniques, as I kept looking earlier to find tips for knitting in the round. There is also a one page short list of ideas on how to design your own stitch patterns and incorporate them into designs.
Knitting Fresh Brioche provides knitters with an amazing resource to transform this simple stitch pattern into new and exciting creations.
Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns • 75 Stitches • 12 Stunning Scarves & Wraps
by Nancy Marchant
Published by Sixth&Spring Books
Paperback · 240 pages · ISBN: 978-1-936096-77-0
Note: The publisher provided me with a review copy.