Knit Two-Color Brioche Stitch

  • 01 of 07

    Starting Two-Color Brioche

    setup row 1
    Purl 1, slip 1, wrap yarn around. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Brioche stitch is a fun way to add two-sided texture to a knitting project. It's super warm and springy, and it's lots of fun to knit, too.

    But after you've knit a few basic projects in a single color, you might be ready to move on to something a little more challenging. That's when two-color brioche comes in.

    In its basic form, two-color brioche looks sort of like ribbing, with the dominant knit stitches showing in one color on each side. It's perfect for scarves, hats, hot...MORE pads or anything that you want to give a different look and a lot of warmth.

    This tutorial shows how to knit two-color brioche stitch with a selvage edge. It works on any odd number of stitches (I used 15) and includes two setup rows, one for each color.

    Each "row" is worked twice, once in each color, so though there are four steps that repeat they're really considered two rows.

    This method must be worked on a circular needle or double-pointed needles because you have to be able to work the row again without turning.

    There are probably other ways to do this, but all credit for my learning this way goes to Nancy Marchart, who outlined this method among many others in her amazing book , which you owe it to yourself to own if you're at all interested in exploring the mysteries of brioche.

    For the purposes of this tutorial, we have a dark color (green) and a light color (gold). Cast on an odd number of stitches with your dark color.

    Stitches are always slipped as if to purl.

    The foundation row for the dark color works as follows:

    *Purl 1, slip 1, wrap the yarn from the front around the right-hand needle and back to the front. Repeat from * across, ending with a p1.

    Slide the stitches to the other side of the needle without turning the work. 

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Setup Round with Light Color

    Setup Round with Light Color
    Slip 1, yarn forward, knit 1 with its yarn over, yarn forward, slip 1, knit 1 with its yarn over. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Attach the light color yarn with the yarn in front.

    Slip 1, bring the yarn to the back.

    *Knit 1 stitch along with its yarn over, bring the yarn forward, slip 1.

    Repeat from * across (working the k2tog with the yarn in the front requires you to wrap the yarn around the needle, making the yarn over), ending with knitting the stitch and its yarn over, bring the yarn forward and slip the last stitch.

    Turn the work. Both of your yarns are together, which is always a sign that you should work with the...MORE dark color next.

    Continue to 3 of 7 below.
  • 03 of 07

    Row 1, Part 1 (Dark Side, Dark Color)

    Row 1, Part 1 (Dark Side, Dark Color)
    Knit 1, yarn forward, slip 1, knit the next stitch with its yarn over. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Here's where we start the rows that will be repeated throughout a project. This is the dark half of the first row, and it's worked with the dark side of the work facing.

    Knit 1. *Yarn forward, slip 1, knit the next stitch with together with its yarn over.

    Repeat from * to last 2 stitches. Yarn forward, slip 1, knit 1.

    Slide the knitting to the other end of the needle without turning the work.

    Continue to 4 of 7 below.
  • 04 of 07

    Row 1, Part 2 (Dark Side, Light Color)

    Row 1, Part 2 (Dark Side, Light Color)
    Slip 1, yarn forward, purl stitch together with its yarn over, slip 1, yarn around, purling next stitch together. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    When there's one yarn at each end of your work, you know it's time to work with the light color. Here you're working back across the same side you just knit, so the dark side of the work is still facing you.

    With the light color in the back, slip 1. Bring the yarn forward.

    *Purl stitch together with its yarn over, slip 1, wrap yarn around the right-hand needle back to the front.

    Repeat from * to the last 2 stitches. Purl the stitch with its yarn over, yarn back, slip the last stitch.

    Turn...MORE the work. The first row is finished.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Row 2, Part 1 (Light Side, Dark Color)

    Row 2, Part 1 (Light Side, Dark Color)
    Purl 1, slip 1, yarn around, purl stitch along with its yarn over. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Here both yarns should be on the same side again, at the front of the work, and the light side of the work should be facing you. This part of the row is worked with the dark color.

    Purl 1.

    *Slip 1, bring yarn around, purl 1 together with its yarn over.

    Repeat from * across to the last 2 stitches, end slip 1, yarn around, purl 1.

    Slide the stitches to the other end of the needle without turning the work.

    Continue to 6 of 7 below.
  • 06 of 07

    Row 2, Part 2 (Light Side, Light Color)

    Row 2, Part 2 (Light Side, Light Color)
    Slip 1, yarn back, knit stitch with its yarn over, yarn forward, slip 1, and knitting the next stitch with its yarn over. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    To finish the second row, work back across on the light side using the light yarn.

    With light yarn in front, slip 1. Bring yarn to back.

    *Knit the stitch together with its yarn over, yarn forward, slip 1. Repeat from * to last 2 stitches. Knit the stitch with its yarn over, yarn forward, slip the last stitch.

    Turn the work. Two full rows have now been worked.

    Continue to 7 of 7 below.
  • 07 of 07

    Continuing to Knit Brioche Stitch

    first rows of two-color brioche
    The first rows of two-color brioche seen from the dark side. © Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Continue to repeat both parts of the two rows (steps 3 through 6) to continue the pattern.

    As you work, you'll probably come up with a mental shorthand for what you're doing across the rows.

    On knit rows, for instance, I think "yarn forward, slip 1, knit 2 together," and on purl rows, I think "slip 1, yarn around, purl 2 together." But you can call them whatever you want to help you remember.

    It may seem awkward and hard to remember where you are at first, but in time...MORE you'll get the hang of it and won't even have to look at the directions or give what part of which row you're on much thought.

    Again, remember that when both yarns are on the same end of the knitting, you need to work with the dark yarn. When there's one yarn on each end, work with the light yarn.