“Don’t buy a hat!” I tell my hubby. “I can knit you one up in a day!”
“You sure?” he responds. “It’s just $15—is it worth your time?”
I roll my eyes…”It’ll take me less than a day,” I reply.
I decide that I won’t make any old hat but I’d finally try the Brioche Hat pattern from Melanie Falick’s Weekend Knitting book. I am excited and relishing the idea of learning a new technique!
A few days later, a very perplexed me is knitting and frogging the beginnings of this hat over and over again. I finally figure out the basics of the pattern and get going after the fourth attempt. I am ecstatic. Only a week late, I should be able to finish the hat within a few more days.
I get to the crown decreases and am stymied again. Knit several rows, frog back…try again only to frog back. I google. Nothing clarifies the code I can’t decipher on the page. Other people seem to have the same problem as I do but no one offers a clear solution. Those that have figured it out don’t share the secret formula…frustrating! I do find a brilliant suggestion somewhere—use a lifeline so I can rip back quicker! After the fifth attempt, I lay aside the hat which won’t be ready for my hubby’s trip to the freezing East Coast. In these instances, I find that time away usually helps. At least I wouldn’t be tempted to rip the whole thing apart. I figure I’ll ask for help at my LYS.
Another week later, I visit my LYS. I catch them at a busy moment and they suggest I come back for their knitting ER class for $10. I inwardly want to scream but politely smile, say thanks and leave.
Now I am truly angry that I cannot figure this thing out. I’ve taught myself to knit from books and online tutorials. I’ve been able to do intarsia, fairisle and cables. Why was THIS so hard??? That day, I go back, determined to understand the pattern. I google some more in a pathetic attempt to find something new. And I do! I happen across a short video clip from a designer (Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark) who created a pattern for a brioche sweater in Interweave Knits and in this video, she explains some basics about the brioche rib stitch—that there’s always an unworked slip stitch followed by a pair of stitches (the previous round’s slip stitch and companion yarnover) that is always counted as one stitch.
This sets something off in my brain. I tackle the pattern anew and, lo and behold, I can “read” the stitches and finally understand what the coded instructions are telling me to do!
So, to help anyone else out there who might be searching for an alternative interpretation, here is my translation:
- Set-up rnd: k1, sl 1, yo -> k1, bring yarn to front and sl 1 as if to purl, then k next st with yarn still in front (thus starting the next repeat) to automatically create yo. Basically, you’re starting the next repeat and ending the previous one in one move.
- Rnd 1: sl 1, yo, p2tog -> sl 1 as if to purl with yarn in front, yo, p2tog
- Rnd 2: k2tog, sl 1, yo -> same as set up round except k2tog (always a sl st and its yo companion) for first step, bring yarn to front and sl 1 as if to purl, then k2tog with yarn still in front to create yo at the same time.
- Crown rnd 1:*note* Something that helped immensely with this row was to use markers at the end of each repeat (I wasn’t using dpns but a long circular needle and doing this helped to confirm the st count within each repeat). This helped to establish a rhythm and catch any mistakes before I started on the next row.
– [k2tog, sl 1, yo] twice -> k2tog (always a sl st and its yo companion) for first step, bring yarn to front and sl 1 as if to purl, then k2tog for next repeat with yarn still in front to create yo at the same time. Repeat one more time.
– k2tog, k3tog, sl 1, yo, sl next st and yo together as if to k2tog yb (with yarn in back), sl next st as if to knit yb, return 3 slipped sts to left-hand needle in their new orientation and k3tog tbl (though back of their loops) -> k2tog, k3tog, sl 1 (as if to purl and with yarn in front), sl next 2 sts as if to knit + sl next 1 st as if to knit and bring left needle through these 3 sts on right needle (so that left needle is in front of right needle through the sts) and k3tog through the back loops (while creating yo at the same time because yarn was in front of needles)
– [k2tog, sl 1, yo] three times -> k2tog (always a sl st and its yo companion) for first step, bring yarn to front and sl 1 as if to purl, then k2tog for next repeat with yarn still in front to create yo at the same time. Repeat two more times
- Crown rnd 2:*note* This round confused me because it was hard to tell when to consider 2 D sts next to each other as the ones to watch out for (even in the regular repeat, it looks like there are 2 D sts next to each other). But if you keep in mind that the previous rows sl st and it’s accompanying yarnover should be considered as a single stitch, then it becomes easier to see if there’s an extra D st between the sl st and the paired sts.
– Treat this round as you would Rnd 1 during the set-up. You’ll find that you’ll get through 2 repeats of [sl 1, yo, p2tog] as expected. Then you’ll hit your first 2 D sts together. Sl these two sts as if to purl and that is your sl 1 of the repeat (except now with 2 slipped sts). Go on with the pattern repeat from there [yo, p2tog]. You’ll hit another set of 2 D sts together and again sl these 2 as you would sl 1 and continue the rest of the repeat [yo, p2tog]. Finally, you’re left with 2 repeats of the regular [s1, yo p2tog] before you hit your first marker placed in during Crown Rnd 1. Repeat 3 more times.
- Crown rnd 3:*note* Again, it was hard to tell when to consider 2 D sts next to each other as the outliers. Essentially, you’ll get to a D sl st with a yo and find another D st right after. The extra step here is to k1 that D st after the k2tog (of the sl st and its yo).
– Treat this round as you would Rnd 2 during the set-up. You’ll find that you’ll get through 2 repeats of [k2tog, sl 1, yo] as expected. Then you’ll hit your first 2 D sts together with a L yo inbetween the two D sts. With yarn in front (to create the yo from the previous repeat), k2tog [the D sl st and it’s L yo], k the next D st. Bring yarn to front and sl 1 as if to purl and you’ll hit another set of 2 D sts together with a L yo inbetween. Treat the same as before [with yarn in front, k2tog, k1, bring yarn to front and sl 1 as if to purl]. Then finish the next two repeats as you normally would with Rnd 2 before you hit your first marker. Repeat 3 more times.
Once you get comfortable with the above few rounds, the rest is a repeat of the same.
I hope this is helpful for somebody out there! I’ll upload pictures of my finished hat in my next post.