Friday January 18th 2019

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Christmas knitting in progress

One thing’s for sure.

My habit of having six projects on the go at once has not changed whatsoever during my long hiatus from knitting. (There’s more on the floor beside the desk, too.)

I only have four projects done so far. There are (stopping to count) seven more on actual needles, and I’ve balled or have waiting eight more projects. Good thing most of these are fast or are going to be done on the knitting machine…

In other news, if you saw the lovely Diana Troldahl and I talking about brioche stitch on the Christmas scarf post, since I don’t have enough to do with my time, ha ha, I decided it was time to investigate.

One of the things you quickly learn about knitting is that very often a lot of the stitches or processes have the same name but are actually entirely different stitches or processes, or vice versa – stitches/processes may have different names, but are the exact same stitch or process. Thus, patterns that say “psso” or “ssk” and mean something entirely different from another pattern. This is why wise/experienced knitters often check before starting the pattern, or so they tell me.

It turns out that these two brioche stitches are slightly different from the above: they are the same stitch, but you get there in a different way, and, amazingly and as often may not happen, the new way is better! Or at least I think so, anyway.

The old brioche rib stitch goes like this:

Row 1 (set up row): Knit to last stitch, slip last stitch.
Row 2: K1, *k1, k1 by inserting needle into center of next stitch of row below, then drop unworked stitch above off left needle without working it (k1 below made)*; repeat from * to* across, slip last stitch. Repeat Row 2 for pattern.

The new brioche rib stitch goes like this:

Row 1 (set up row): K2, *yo, sl1, K1, repeat from * to last two stitches, K1, sl1.
Row 2: K2, *yo, sl1, K2tog, repeat from * to last two stitches, K1, sl1. When you K2tog, you are knitting the preceding slipped stitch (sl1) together with the yarn over (yo) of the previous row. Repeat Row 2 for pattern.

I just sat down and tried out both stitches next to each other in the same yarn (I happen to have two balls here of the same yarn waiting to be made into, as it happens, a brioche rib scarf) on the same needles.

The old brioche stitch takes a while to knit, for while you don’t have to slip anything or YO, you do have to make sure you’ve got the center of the stitch below, and that slows you down tremendously. It’s also a bit looser — I’m sure with practice, it’d tighten up a bit — than my version of the new brioche stitch. The new brioche stitch, on the other hand, presents itself on the needle in a more confusing way than the old, as the old just has the usual knit stitches on the needle, where you have a lot of YOs on the needle with the new stitch.

Whether one is faster than the other will depend on whether you’re faster at YOs and slips than a knit stitch that goes into a weird place in the knitting, I suppose.

So that’s why I felt that the PurlBee Brioche Stitch Scarf is much faster than any other brioche stitch scarf I’d knit before…because (for me at least) it is! And that’s why Diana objected to Brioche not building nearly as fast as her Farrow Rib, because it doesn’t — but sometimes, what you really want to end up with is the squishiest, most supple possible rib pattern, and nothing does that better than Brioche Rib Stitch.

Which, by the way, is also sometimes known as Prime Rib Stitch. :)

Here’s the projects done so far:

I’m trying something new this year. Everything is going to go into a box near the Christmas tree, there’ll be a mirror sitting next to the box, and everyone will be able to rummage through the box and decide if they want anything in it. I’d rather people liked and wore their gift than me guessing and having them prefer someone else’s gift! I plan to make a few extras and either keep for myself or donate whatever is left over.

And now, I’m going to go back to my knitting; right now I need to sit down and figure out a fair isle chart for a line of cats running around an ear flap hat (Thorpe again).

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5 Responses to “Christmas knitting in progress”

  1. I love your idea of a rummage box for the holidays :-}
    And you are SO right; the yo/slip method of brioche is much faster than the k1below method, for me.
    And brioche feels very different from the farrow rib (Like whipped cream around your neck as opposed to a hearty slice of ginger bread.)
    I am too afraid to count my projects-in-progress and projects-in-waiting. I just know if all 4 sets of #8 circular needle points are MIA, it is time to think about frogging inactive projects LOL

  2. I LOVE the rummage box idea. I think it would eliminate lots of stress figuring out what people wanted.

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