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Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns Paperback – December 2, 2014
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Nancy clearly explains the basic brioche stitch, as used in two-color knitting, both in words and in step-by-step photos. As Nancy says: "Brioche knitting creates a cushy, reversible ribbed fabric that comes about by working one stitch and slipping the next. In brioche knitting, instead of carrying the working yarn in front or in back of the slipped stitch, you bring the yarn over the stitch, giving the stitch a little shawl over its shoulders. In the following row, this shawled stitch will be either 'barked' or 'burped' . . . ."
Barking and burping are much easier than they sound when described in words: Barking means bringing the yarn to the front over a slipped stitch, then knitting the next stitch together with its little shawl from the previous row. Burping means bringing the yarn around a slipped stitch and back to the front, then purling the next stitch together with its little shawl. That's all the technique there is! These beautiful stitch patterns should be easy for knitters with intermediate skills to execute.
The 50-page technique section includes instructions for creating the basic fabric, casting on, creating a selvedge edge, binding off, working increases and decreases, weaving in ends, blocking, repairing mistakes (thanks!), reading charts, and understanding the oddball brioche knitting symbols. All knitters will want to consult these pages, to get the two-color slipped-stitch fabric set up correctly.
Following the Techniques section, there is an amazing 110-page dictionary of two-color brioche stitch patterns. The variety of "twists and turns", and large and small repeated designs, will delight all serious knitters, especially those who love knitting techniques or designing their own knitted garments. Because the two-color stitch patterns are reversible, each stitch pattern is illustrated with a photo of both the front and the back of the fabric. In my opinion, the cover photo with the lovely "Willow" shawl doesn't show the most interesting of the included stitch patterns--but "Willow" gives you a good idea of how the surface designs show up on the knitted fabric. My favorites among the stitch patterns are Feathery and Fanny (sort of like a wavy Feather and Fan), Undulating Hourglass, Wavy Palm Leaves, and Sound Waves (sort of an op-art effect).
Finally there are 60 pages with complete instructions (both written-out and charted) for 12 different shawl and cowl projects knitted on circular needles. The patterns, with needle sizes, are: Ring of Fire (US 4), Willow (US 7), Reptilian Cowl (US 9), Icicle (US 5), Stegosaurus (US 6), Veda's Peacock (US 5), Sister Janie (US 4), Cathedral (US 4), Miss B (US 7), Nan's Other Cowl (US 3), Gretchen's Zigzag (US 6), and Bart & Francis (US 2 or 3). Nancy gives excellent instructions for substituting yarns, so you aren't limited to the yarns used in the photographed models. My favorite project patterns are Icicle (sort of wavy geometric triangles) and Bart & Francis (sort of a leafy, growing plant).
This book is a great reference book for two-color brioche knitting. If you enjoy brioche knitting generally, you may want to consider Nancy's earlier reference book on all kinds of brioche knitting (not just two-color), Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch; or another good, recent pattern book using brioche knitting, Brioche Chic: 22 Fresh Knits for Women & Men.
Bottom line: Beautiful book with exceptional patterns and stitches. Best for the experienced knitter!
The fabrics created in "Fresh Brioche" are not like any I've seen before. In particular, there is a "cathedral" stitch I've never laid eyes on before. A lot of stitches look like waves, others like vines and leaves. The patterns created from the stitch variations are mostly shawls and cowls. Some of the patterns use light mohair, showing you that brioche stitch does not have to be made from smooth, heavier yarns, and that it can even create a lacy effect.
If you love to collect knitting stitch patterns, and if you love brioche stitch, this book has unusual and new ways to use brioche. It is somewhat limited in the pattern item selections, but this book is more a stitch book than a knitting pattern book. The stitches are eye-catching.