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.