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Friday, September 28, 2018

My Adventures with Brioche Knitting

When I saw the Ramble Shawl by Andrea Mowry on a Rosehaven Yarn Shop podcast I was thrilled with the design.  I had made a few different shawls over the last few years and decided I'd give this one a try.  I picked up the yarn and pattern at the Fibre Fest in Prince Edward County from Rosehaven Yarn.  

The yarn was Acadia from The Fibre Co. in colors of Mountain Ash and Thunder Bay.  It's a beautiful yarn made of 60% wool, 20% alpaca and 20% silk. 

As always, I started reading through the pattern and realized that this was something I hadn't seen before - brioche - hmmm.   So, that's what gives it that unique look.  Well, I've knit cable sweaters, colorwork sweaters and lace stitches, so I felt fairly confident that I'd be able to handle the brioche knitting. Always up for learning something new.

Stitches like brp, brk, brLsl and brkyobrk were like a different language, but lookups on the internet and some helpful videos on YouTube saved the day. 

The first half of the shawl is garter stitch and after realizing halfway through the rows that my stitch count was off I had to unravel the work to the beginning as I couldn't quite figure out where I went wrong.

Carefully counting and checking as I knit my next attempt, I progressed to the brioche section - with some trepidation. 

I have heard that "repetition is the mother of learning" and if that's the case I have certainly learned brioche.  I lost count of how many times I had to unravel back to the beginning of the brioche section (5 or 6 maybe) Not being familiar with brioche stitch, I wasn't able to tink back to correct my mistakes.😩

Along the way, I learned several things. 

  1. Always read the pattern to ensure you buy enough yarn. (Didn't realize this until I was halfway through the brioche.)  I checked Ravelry to see if anyone had made the shawl with the amount of yarn I had.  Some did and they used smaller size needles.  So I gave that a try.  Ripped out once again and used the smaller needles.  In the back of my mind, I kept thinking just order more yarn as I kept on knitting.  Finally I  succumbed and phoned Rosehaven Yarn. Luckily, they still had the yarn in stock and I had them mail me what I needed. 
  2. A 'lifeline' in knitting is a wonderful idea.  Lifelines are a marvelous idea when knitting a complicated pattern. Lifelines are thin strands of yarn that are run through a row of your knitting. I used some bright colored yarn.   I hadn't used this technique before, but it certainly came in handy as I progressed through the brioche section.
  3. You can never have too many lifelines and checks and double checks.  This helped to keep track of rows and stitches as I still hadn't quite got the hang of the structure of the pattern.

    4.   It's fun to learn a new knitting technique.  It's always nice to add to one's knitting repertoire. This pattern was great - well written and large print. 

    Finished knitting and blocked the shawl. Now it's ready to wear.

    Not sure if I'm completely happy with the way the shawl wraps.  Perhaps blocking it again will work it out.

    After the steep learning curve and frequent rip outs, there are still a few mistakes.  As a quilter I have heard a story about Amish quilts that says a quilt can't be perfect because only God makes perfection.  I use that rationale when quilting and I think I'll apply that adage to knitting as well!! 😊

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