Brioche Knitting Workshop with Nancy Marchant

Nancy Marchant, Amsterdam

Nancy Marchant, Amsterdam

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a workshop with Nancy Marchant, the “queen of brioche” from Amsterdam, on Basic Brioche [dt: Patent] last Friday (Feb 20) in my local LYS in Munich, Germany.

“Nancy Marchant standardized brioche-knitting abbreviations and terminology so that knitters world-wide could share patterns and understand the abbreviations. She defines the basic stitch of brioche knitting as the brioche-knit stitch, which she calls the “bark” stitch (abbreviated “brk”), which consists of a knit-stitch knitted together with its “wrap,” a yarnover from the previous row. The brioche-purl stitch (or the “burp” stitch (abbreviated “brp”) is the purled version. Each bark or burp stitch is followed by a yarn-front, slip-one, yarnover (yf-sl1yo). This sets up the bark and burp stitches for the next row. In brioche knitting, it takes two “passes” to complete a single row of knitting, since only half the stitches are knitted each time. The other half are slipped. For this reason, it takes more knowledge to be able to count rows and stitches and measure gauge.”  (Wikipedia)

Learning directly from Nancy how to “bark” and “burp” was a great privilege but also a lot of fun. I have always been afraid of brioche knitting so far, as it seemed so complicated, but these days are gone now. I think it might even become one of my most favorite stitches, as the final fabric gets so wonderfully squishy soft.


Thank you!

We even had some time left to get an insight on two-color brioche knitting from Nancy, which was really great, as some of us knitters didn’t have the time to attend the workshop on this topic the following day.

Nancy also showed us many of her wonderful creations, like the gorgeously colorful “Ring of Fire“…

Ring of Fire, Nancy Marchant

Ring of Fire, by Nancy Marchant                   © Sixth&Spring Books/Nancy Marchant

….and the Hegg Braid Brioche Scarf, one of my favorites which I will definitely have to knit one day. It created an immediate “WANT-“impulse in me. ;)

Hegg Braid Brioche Scarf, Nancy Marchant

Hegg Braid Brioche Scarf, by Nancy Marchant

Following the very clear instructions in Nancy Marchant’s new book “Knitting Fresh Brioche – Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns” (Amazon link) a day later made it possible even for me as an absolute beginner in brioche knitting, to knit a two-colored sample all on my own. The book consists basically of three main sections:

Knitting Fresh Brioche, Nancy Marchant

  1. A general introduction into the techniques and the two color italian cast on (and bind-off) as well as instructions on increases, decreases and repairing mistakes (so basically what we learned in our workshop), all very clearly illustrated with photos, written instructions and charts.
  2. A section with descriptions and instructions on how to work all the different stitch patterns of the following projects, with examples and how to use them.
  3. And finally all the fully described projects, including above mentioned “Ring of Fire”, “Willow” (see below) and many other beauties (12 project patterns in total – see them here).

I also realized that there’s currently a KAL (knit-along) on Ravelry on the wonderful pattern “Willow” in two-color brioche (running until end of March), but as I’m currently still working on my “Sous sous” sweater from Loopknitting, I will have to quit on this one. Just not enough time, when you are just able to knit during your evenings and weekends. :)

Willow by Nancy Marchant

“Willow” by Nancy Marchant, © Sixth&Spring Books/Nancy Marchant

But anyway, it was a great experience and I hope to be able to attend another workshop with Nancy Marchant again some day. Meanwhile, I will practice with her book – or maybe even book her class on Craftsy! Brioche, here I come! ;)

brioche sample

The tiny (unblocked) brioche sample I knit during the workshop. Many mistakes, but I still love it.


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