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Gina’s Brioche Hat and Cowl

Like all members of the Purl family, I live in a world where color rules. If you shop at our store in Soho, you've probably seen me restocking shelves and cutting fabric. I'm the one wearing a colorful dress (that I made myself, most likely out of lovely Liberty of London!) and the reddest red lipstick. In my view, nothing perks up a gray day more than a brightly hued ensemble. Top it all off with a handknit scarf or hat, and I'm happy!

But in all that colorific bliss hides a small problem. How to limit myself to just one color, especially when I'm surrounded by a veritable rainbow of temptation all day! Luckily, I recently discovered the Brioche Stitch(click here to find our Brioche Stitch in the Round Tutorial). Brioche knitting is a simple multicolor technique that creates a beautiful fabric of ridges and valleys. The color play of fair isle or intarsia without the bother of tangled balls of yarn and pesky tails? Yes, please!  And better still, Brioche fabric is truly as lofty and luxurious as its namesake, the light and buttery brioche bun, making it just right for cozy cold weather accessories. I'm completely obsessed!

For my perfectly simple Brioche Hat and Cowl, I chose Manos Del Uruguay's Maxima and Blue Sky's Suri Merino. I love how the vivid intensity of Maxima peeks out from between the soft, fuzzy clouds of Suri. A two color project that's twice as nice! --Gina

Brioche Hat

Materials

  • Yarn A: 1 skein of Manos Del Uruguay's Maxima (100% Extra FineMerino Wool). This color is Highlighter.  (If you are making both the Brioche Hat and Cowl, you will need 2 skeins of the Maxima, total.)
  • Yarn B: 1 skein of Blue Sky Alpaca's Suri Merino (60% Baby Suri, 40%Merino). This color is Snow.  (If you are making both the Brioche Hat and Cowl, you will need 3 skeins of the Suri Merino, total.)
  • A US #5, 16 inch circular needle.
  • A set of US #5, double pointed needles.

Gauge

20 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in pattern stitch

Finished Measurements

9 1/2 inch tall by 20 inch circumference

Notes

  • bk2tog [brioche knit 2 together]: knit next knit stitch together with its paired yarnover
  • bp2tog [brioche purl 2 together]: purl next purl stitch together with its paired yarnover
  • YOS [yarn over slip]: Bring yarn to front of work, slip one purlwise, bring yarn over right needle to back of work.
  • After working a round with Yarn A,  leave yarn hanging at front of work.
  • After working a round with Yarn B, leave yarn hanging at the back of work.
  • When decreasing to shape the crown of the hat, you will k3tog, knitting the next 3 stitches together, NOT counting yarn overs as stitches.
  • If you would like to adjust this pattern for a different circumference, simply cast on any even number of stitches.

Pattern

Begin with Rolled Edge

With Yarn B, loosely cast on 88 stitches.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Knit 5 rounds.

Join Yarn A to begin working in two color Brioche stitch.

Brioche Stitch

Start with Yarn A, leaving yarn B hanging in back of work.

Round 1: With Yarn A, *YOS (see Pattern Notes above), p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Leaving Yarn A hanging at front of work, continue working in Yarn B.

Round 2: With Yarn B, *Bk2tog (see Pattern Notes above), YOS, repeat from * to end of round

Leaving Yarn B hanging at back of work, continue working with Yarn A.

Round 3: With Yarn A: *YOS, bp2tog (see Pattern Notes above), repeat from * to end of round. Leave Yarn A in front of work.

Round 4: With Yarn B): *Bk2tog, YOS, repeat from * to end of round. Leave Yarn B in back of work.

Repeat Rounds 3 and 4 until piece measures 6 3/4 inches from the rolled edge.

Repeat Round 3.

Shape Crown

Transfer stitches to double pointed needles when work becomes too narrow to fit on circular needle.

Decrease Round 1: With Yarn B, work 9 stitches in established pattern, k3tog (see Pattern Notes above), [work 19 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (80 stitches)

Repeat Round 3 and 4 one time.

Decrease Round 2: With Yarn A, work 8 stitches, k3tog, [work 17 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (72 stitches)

Repeat Rounds 4 and 3 one time.

Decrease Round 3: With Yarn B, work 7 stitches, k3tog, [work 15 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (64 stitches)

Repeat Round 3 and 4 one time.

Decrease Round 4: With Yarn A, work 6 stitches, k3tog, [work 13 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (56 stitches)

Repeat Rounds 4 and 3 one time.

Decrease Round 5: With Yarn B, work 5 stitches, k3tog, [work 11 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (48 stitches)

Repeat Round 3 and 4 one time.

Decrease Round 6: With Yarn A, work 4 stitches, k3tog, [work 9 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (40 stitches)

Repeat Rounds 4 and 3 one time.

Decrease Round 7: With Yarn B, work 3 stitches, k3tog, [work 7 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (32 stitches)

Repeat Round 3 and 4 one time.

Decrease Round 8: With Yarn A, work 2 stitches, k3tog, [work 5 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (24 stitches)

Repeat Rounds 4 and 3 one time.

Decrease Round 9: With Yarn B, work 1 stitch, k3tog, [work 3 stitches, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (16 stitches)

Repeat Round 3 and 4 one time.

Decrease Round 10: With Yarn A, k3tog, [work 1 stitch, k3tog] three times, work to end of round. (8 stitches)

Cut Yarn A. Continue with Yarn B.

Next round: [K2tog] 4 times.

Transfer four remaining stitches to one double pointed needle. Work an I-cord for 5 rows. Cut yarn and pull tail through stitches. Using a tapestry needle, bring tail through center of I-cord to inside of hat.

Weave in your ends. Block gently.

Brioche Cowl

Materials

  • Yarn A: 2 skeins of Manos Del Uruguay's Maxima (100% Extra Fine Merino Wool). This color is Highlighter. (If you are making both the Brioche Hat and Cowl, you will need 2 skeins of the Maxima, total.)
  • Yarn B: 2 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca'Suri Merino (60% Baby Suri, 40% Merino). This color is Snow. (If you are making both the Brioch Hat and Cowl, you will need 3 skeins of the Suri Merino, total.)
  • A US #6, 32 inch circular needle.

Other Ideas: Brioche Cowl in Cashmere!

In March 2012, we re-did Gina's Brioche Cowl using two different weights of Jade Sapphire's sumptuous cashmere. To make a version like the one pictured above, you will need...

  • Yarn A: 3 skeins of Jade Sapphire's 8-Ply Cashmere (100% Mongolian Cashmere). This is the color Pink Panther.
  • Yarn B: 2 skeins of Jade Sapphire's Zageo 6-Ply Cashmere (100% Mongolian Cashmere). This is the color Ivory. 
  • A US #6, 32 inch circular needle.

Gauge

18 stitches and 25 rows = 4 inches in pattern stitch

Finished Measurements

56 inch circumference by 10 1/4 inches wide, un-stretched

Notes

  • bk2tog [brioche knit 2 together]: knit next knit stitch together with its paired yarnover
  • bp2tog [brioche purl 2 together]: purl next purl stitch together with its paired yarnover
  • YOS [yarn over slip]: Bring yarn to front of work, slip one purlwise, bring yarn over right needle to back of work.
  • After working a round with Yarn A,  leave yarn hanging at front of work.
  • After working a round with Yarn B, leave yarn hanging at the back of work.
  • If you would like to adjust this pattern for a different circumference, simply cast on any even number of stitches.

Pattern

Begin

With Yarn B, loosely cast on 218 stitches.

Place marker and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Knit 5 rounds.

Join Yarn A to begin working in two color Brioche stitch.

Brioche Stitch

Start with Yarn A, leaving yarn B hanging in back of work.

Round 1: With Yarn A, *YOS (see Pattern Notes above), p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Leaving yarn A hanging at front of work, continue working in yarn B.

Round 2: With Yarn B, *bk2tog (see Pattern Notes above), YOS, repeat from * to end of round

Leaving Yarn B hanging at back of work, continue working with Yarn A.

Round 3: With Yarn A, *YOS, bp2tog , repeat from * to end of round. Leave yarn A in front of work.

Round 4: With Yarn B, *bk2tog, YOS, repeat from * to end of round. Leave Yarn B in back of work.

Repeat Rounds 3 and 4 until work measures 9 3/4 inches from the rolled edge, ending with Round 3.

Cut Yarn A and continue working with Yarn B.

Next Round: With Yarn B, *bk2otg, p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Knit 5 rounds.

Finish

Bind off loosely.

Weave in your ends and  block gently.

Click here to add a comment

36 Responses to Gina’s Brioche Hat and Cowl


  1. Deirdre says:

    What a terrific looking project! I especially like the look of the cowl. I'm afraid the Brioche Stitch in the Round Tutorial link is broken, though. Would love to try it out…

  2. Louise says:

    Hi there,
    I started this beautiful hat but subtituted the yarn. It wasn't successful. The hat was way too big. I used Bernat Roving, #5 bulky yarn with 5mm needles. My guage was 18×18 over 4" in the brioche. You would think that isn't far off the guage but it made a huge difference. Of course, I did not test guage, and should have for sure.
    What could I have done to make this yarn work for the pattern?

  3. Eliz says:

    Hi Purl Soho,
    I am just about to start the cowl and was wondering, do you think this would work as a scarf if I don't join it in the round and made the diameter a little thinner? Or is the brioche stitch too springy?

    Cheers,
    Eliz

  4. The Blue Sky merino is in my app, Yarn U, but I have to try it, but I serously want to try the Maxima. It looks delish. And I love the white and green combo. It looks seriously cozy.

  5. Such a lovely colour!

  6. suesue says:

    Love this and I can imagine it in so many colors! I l love color too~thanks for sharing!!

  7. Cathy says:

    Gina-
    I know just who you are! I visited NYC and purlsoho over the weekend and picturing you brings a smile to an otherwise routine Monday.

  8. Jenifer says:

    You always want to make me put down my current WIP and cast on for a new one … right now!! This is lovely — going to the top of the queue now (after I finish the current one, though!)!

  9. Janet K says:

    oooh…..I love the look of this!!!

  10. Nancy says:

    The link for the Brioche stitch in the round tutorial doesn't work. I would really love to see this. Could you please check it. Thank you.

  11. karen says:

    Gina, this looks like a wonderful, not-to-difficult pattern. I would love to try it but I'm allergic to wool!! Can you suggest a non-wool yarn that might work up well in this pattern? Thanks for any help you can give–Karen

  12. the brioche stitch tutorial has gone missing !

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Missy-

    Thanks for pointing that out. It should be fixed now!

  14. You guys are one of the few places that incorporate the neon colors and really makes it look good. It opened a whole new word of color to me. I love it…REALLY love it =)

    - Sarah
    http://agirlintransit.blogspot.com/

  15. Cathy says:

    Gina-
    I know just who you are! I visited NYC and purlsoho over the weekend and picturing you brings a smile to an otherwise routine Monday.

  16. purl bee says:

    Hi Karen-

    Blue Sky Cotton would work really well! The worsted weight, not the "skinny" cotton. You will need two skeins of each color you choose. Here is a link:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/721-Blue-Sky-Blue-Sky-Cotton

    The multi colored skeins of the same yarn are also a great choice but they have only 100 yards, so you would need three for the cowl. Here is a link to them: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/6614-Blue-Sky-Blue-Sky-Multi-Cotton

    Thanks for the question!

  17. sandy toe says:

    I am always amazed by other people's talent.

    sandy toe

  18. Kimberly says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for all the kind & wonderful help I got when I visited your store last Sunday. I live in Pennsylvania & adore New York & now when I visit I know where to get all my yarny goodness. I was loving the yak braids in the basket fr spinning. I should've bought one!. Thank you again. Everyone was so kind & helpful! I love the yarn I purchased there too. Spud & Cloe sock :-)

  19. Kelli Frueh says:

    I love your site. Everything is so colorful and your work is gorgeous.

  20. April says:

    I love all of the projects you guys post, but am hesitant without seeing it modeled on a person. I would *love* to see accessories/sweaters/etc on a live human. xo-

  21. Marie says:

    Hi!
    Thanks for the pattern. I'm a beginner and would love to try that brioche stitch. But I don't understand how to YOS. Could you perhaps link a very detailed tutorial?

    Thanks!

  22. Jen says:

    Do you know hen you will be getting more suri merino "snow" color in stock?

  23. purl bee says:

    Hi Jen-

    Please send an email to customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com and they can let you know when we are expecting more of this yarn in.

    Thank you so much for getting in touch!

    Molly

  24. Priscilla says:

    The brioche stitch tutorial is not working (again?). Why did you use two different weights of yarn for the cashmere cowl? Does this make the color pop differently or keep the cowl from bring too heavy?

    Thank you for this pattern!

  25. purl bee says:

    Hello Priscilla,

    Thank you so much for letting us know about the broken link. The tutorial is now accessible from the hyperlink.

    The two different weights of yarn creates an added interest. It helps pronounce the valleys and peaks of the ridges/ribbing. Also, with the bright color in a heavier weight, it makes if feel as though it is really shinning up through and between the white. You can work this project with two yarns of the same weight, but it won't have the exact play between the ribbing as ours does here. And, yes, as you suggested, it will be heavier.

    Thank you again,
    Laura

  26. Kerstin says:

    Dear all,
    I was wondering if finishing the cowl as described (knit five rounds) does not double the number of stiches (compared to cast-on) as I would be knitting the yarn overs as well. Or am I completely mistaken??? I am about to finish my cowl and up to now all went well and it looks lovely – great pattern, and so easy. :-)
    Best
    Kerstin

  27. purl bee says:

    Hi Kerstin,
    Great question. I will work on making this pattern more clear.
    On your first of the five rounds of stockinette stitch, you actually want to knit the knit ridge along with its yarn overs. Then continue the remaining 4 rounds of stockinette evenly.

    Thanks for writing in and pointing this out.
    Best,
    Laura

  28. purl bee says:

    Hi Eliz,
    A Two-Color Brioche Stitch scarf would be beautiful and is a wonderful idea. This pattern is written for working Two-Color Brioche in the round. And unfortunately, with out re-writing the pattern, working it flat would not render the same fabric or look.
    We will definitely keep this request in mind though. (PS: Keep a look out for Sunday's post, if might be of interest to you!)
    Thanks,
    Laura

  29. Jen says:

    Do you offer a simple knit pattern for two color brioche not in the round?

  30. purl bee says:

    Hi Jen-

    We don't have a pattern like that at the moment but thank you so much for the suggestion. We'll keep it in mind going forward.

    Thank you!

    Molly

  31. Julz says:

    Do you think you could suggest an alternative for the Suri Merino? I have completed one cowl with Maxima & Suri Merino and would like to do another. I love the texture of the Merino but do not like the shedding of the Suri Merino.

    For the completed cowl, I had used size #6 needles but the completed stitches did not look as tightly knit as the pictures above. Did youby any chance use smaller needles? If I want to use smaller needles, how small can I go with the Maxima?

  32. purl bee says:

    Hi Julz,
    I'd be happy to give some alternative to the Suri Merino…
    Jade Sapphire's 6-ply Mongolian Cashmere (as pictured in the pink cowl above) http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/3744-Jade-Sapphire-Zageo-6-ply-Cashmere
    Swan's Island's Worsted (this is a light weight worsted, blocks very soft) http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/6280-Swans-Island-Worsted
    Koigu's Kersti http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/870-Koigu-Wool-Designs-Kersti-Merino-Crepe-Solids

    As for the needle size… Naturally, people knit very differently from one another. Where one person would use a US6 another would use a US4 or US7. I encourage you to make a swatch. Have you seen out circular gauge tutorial? http://www.purlbee.com/knitting-tutorials-working-rnd/2012/3/16/swatching-for-circular-gauge.html

    I made a Brioche Cowl as a gift once and used a smaller needle than Gina, but I can't remember how small I went. Perhaps a US5. Play around. The most important thing is that you end up with a fabric and finished product that you like!

    Please let us know if you have any other questions.
    Laura

  33. maria del socorro says:

    GRACIAS son magnificos todos lo aportes que nos dan o comparten este es muy bonito pero lo tengo qu ver mas detalladamente para entenderlo.

  34. yvette says:

    Hi Laura your designs are so amazing. I loved both the colours u used in the cowls. Laura can u do me a favour plz. Can u send me the pattern details of trinity stitch n how to knit it in the round in detail. In case you r unable to post on your site can u e-mail me the pattern.
    Thanks
    Yvette

  35. purl bee says:

    Hi Yvette,
    Thank you for the kind words. This is actually Gina's design, but I've been fielding some of the questions here in the comment section. I will pass along your compliments.

    As for trinity stitch… Is there a specific pattern on the Purl Bee to which you are referring? I don't believe I've done that stitch in any of my patterns and am blanking on which projects it may be use it.

    Thanks for writing in Yvette.
    Laura

  36. Gina!

    I love the helpful website you have and your generosity to share. I love this pattern so much I shared it on my blog knitandcrochetpatternchat.blogspot.com so my followers can come visit your website and see your beautiful work.

    Thank you for sharing. Your work is so pretty. Love it! Can't wait to try the brioche stitch.

    Kathy

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