Wrestling with Brioche

I really want to knit Brioche!
It’s such a comforting stitch, it’s a stash buster, it results in thick lush fabric and you can do all sorts of tricks with it. And it’s a type of knitting my shoulder likes. Not to mention the play with colour! It’s different from any other colour combination I’ve explored in knitting.

This is the practice piece I did during the Ravellenics, back and front:

(This piece features in my little video of how to knit Brioche without slipping any stitches. “Double Dutch”.)

It’s done in Noro Silk Garden Sock, a yarn that resembles handspun and has slow colour repeats in combinations I could not think up myself. (there’s always 2 colours that are out of my comfort zone)
I love how the colours interact.
I want to knit Brioche with interacting colours!

So I round up some of my loveliest yarns, especially handspun that would really benefit from a colour partner.
Like this one:

This is a limited meterage of sturdy, yet soft, 6ply yarn spun by my friend Tineke from Wool Studio The Green Sheap. She knew this colours delight me! I was oogling it on her table and she told me it was placed there especially for me 🙂

(you should see the her big wheel, it’s an Ashford Country Spinner. Its bobbins will hold a kilo of yarn! *sigh*

anyway.. delighted with the yarn and looking for a yarn that will make it stand out.)

I had some dark grey Shetland. Held triple it could match the handspun in thickness:

Yeah…. well…
The contrast works, it brings out the colours of the handspun. The thickness works too. But what am I to make from this? I like my knits to be functional. I like to use them in my life and thusly enjoy the memory and the material. Wristwarmer? Mug cosy? I don’t use those…
Nothing clicked in me, nothing sang.
Better leave it for now, admire the handspun as is, and look for some other yarn.

Like this one:

My handspun BFL. Singles from strips that only needed twist, no drafting. Fulled for strength. But knits up by itself in a muddy, heathered fabric so could really do with a knitter’s trick (I already tried elongated stitches and linen stitch. They work… a bit.)
Brioche to the rescue!

I went looking for a certain darkness in its partner, to accentuate all the darks and highlights in the handspun.
I settled upon a saturated purple because it had the right contrast and the purple will bring forward all the colours of the handspun:


Two strands of purple held together, one of them an fuzzy alpaca cobweb (because I like the added texture).

But the result… is too carnavalesk. Too bright. Too much cocktail with a little umbrella.
This doesn’t suit my face. Even though it is really happy and peppy.
I would never wear a scarf in these colours…

So I ditched the purple and tried a swatch with white.

It still works well with the fast changing colours of the handspun. But the overall look…. one side washed out the colours, the other side brings too much of a tropical punch. I would not wear this either. Inner compass still not singing.
Sigh!

Hang on. Noro worked for me. Noro made me sing. So I dug up a ball of Noro. This is Noro Kureyon. A sockyarn without silk and bits of fun. Quite rough, to be honest. But it can be beat into softness once knit.

I’d frog the little neckwarmer I already knit from it (I don’t wear it) and that would give me 400 m of yarn.

I like the colours (except that dreadfull kaki but that’s that Noro quirk that will work to make the endresult interesting). I chose a meek purple handspun as a base.

I knit a swatch and it worked beautifully.
I was happy, I was singing internally. The colours were working, I like the handspun. The Kureyon is no Silk Garden but the colours were great.
This would be a nice neckwarmer, albeit knit sideways because my orange brown practice swatch had learned me Noro like a limited number of cast on stitches (about 27) to show off that colour repeats in a timely pace.

But then I stopped and I frogged it.
Because I realized that after knitting this I’d have to seriously beat that Noro up to make it softer. Throw it in hot and ice cold water, smash it against the door post, stamp on it.
A treatment the handspun would not like one bit, it would be ruined and look very ratty against the Noro.
I don’t want a ratty neckwarmer.

So here I am. All eager to knit Brioche but having trouble to match yarns.

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