As anyone who’s read much of my blog probably knows, I have a lot of knitting books. Far more than I need. And yet I very seldom knit anything directly from a book. One book that was an exception to this was cold Knit One Below by Elise Duvekot (Amazon link.) This book is based in what I think is the same as one version of Brioche stitch – you knit every other stitch into the row below. If you use two yarns and knit in the round, this is what you get:
(This, of course, is two self-striping yarns and the colors overlap in some areas, which can confuse matters.) The knitting itself is very easy, but correcting mistakes is not. Nevertheless, it’s a very fun technique to use. The fabric you end up with is very wide for the number of stitches, and very, very flexible. I made two projects from this book. The first was a pair of socks for Franklin, which are called Pinwheel Socks in the book.
This shot probably gives the best idea of what inspired the name. But it also shows several other facets of the design that I find very interesting. First, you can see very clearly why the author says that the fabric resulting from this stitch looks very much like ribbing. It certainly does give that appearance (especially on the sole of the foot here), but in fact there are no purls involved at all. And every row you are working with only one color, yet you get these cool vertical stripes.
The yarn that I used for this pair of socks is a blend – 60% superwash merino, 30% rayon from bamboo and 10% nylon. This yarn feels fairly woolly most of the time, though it is a bit “slicker” than most wool yarn, but the name I gave these socks was “Slinky Socks” because the fabric just flows! It feels really great.
You’ll also note that even the sole of the sock uses this special stitch, although the heel does not. It really would be difficult to knit a portion of a tube in this stitch and another portion in stockinette, even if you were only using one color. Choice of this stitch really does constrain many other choices for your project.
The other project that I made was really more of a sample than a real project. It’s a miniature hat, maybe half scale. Too big for any of my dolls but way smaller than human scale. I wanted to try a hat project and didn’t have any large enough gauge yarn. What I got was this:
I bet you wouldn’t have guessed it would look like that! Not that it looks exactly as it’s supposed to – not all my increases were done quite right. Still, I just love that little thing! And I want to make more things in this stitch.
The book contains patterns for 20 garments such as vests, jackets, sweaters and skirts plus several scarves and shawls, bags, hats, socks and even a baby blanket and a set of sweater, hat and booties for an infant. They don’t all look alike, but there is certainly a lot of similarity to some of the pieces. But it really is fun to do! I’ve been wondering what to do with the other half of the MCN yarn I’m knitting my current socks with. Meg is supposed to get something from it. Maybe I can find something in this book that she would like.
I find the book very worthwhile and the technique quite exciting. I realize that not everyone would share this opinion, but if you think my samples are at all interested, you might enjoy at least looking at this book.