Brioche and fisherman's rib - techniques and introduction

Brioche stitch and Fisherman's rib

At Önling we have made a resolution to challenge oureslves with new techniques - and help you do the same! We are therefore publishing a series of blogs posts at our knitting blog, where you can explore new knitting technique. 

Today we focus on Brioche and Fisherman's rib, which is essentially the same. The two terms are sometimes differentiated and sometimes used interchangably. 

Brioche knitting and fisherman's rib have become incredibly popular in the last few years - we guess it is due to the beautiful texture you get and because both techniques add extra volume and 'chunkiness' to your knitting.

What is brioche and Fisherman's rib? 

When you knit fisherman's rib and brioche, you get a nice and clear texture in your knitwear. A sort of stripy rib effect but with more fluffiness. Also with Fisherman's rib, you get a result that is the same on both the front and back of your knitwear.

You should expect to use more yarn when knitting brioche and fisherman's rib than when knitting regular ribs.

The brioche and Fisherman's rib techniques are great for scarves, blankets, sweaters and hats where you want a bit of volume.

Petra Brioche knit sweater

3 Different techniques for knitting brioche 

The 3 most common brioche and Fisherman's rib techniques are Fisherman's rib, Half Fisherman's rib, Two-color brioche. 

Fisherman's rib (also known as shaker stitch)

Fisherman's rib: Can be knitted both with and without a yarn over, where the most common technique is with a yarn over. The two techniques give an almost identical result, the difference is that fisherman's rib without a yarn over can be somewhat tighter than with a yarn over, because here you knit in the stitch of the previous round. If you want to knit without the yarn over, watch the video about the half fisherman's rib below, which uses that version. 

Half fisherman's rib

Half fisherman's rib can also be knitted with and without a yarn over. The difference between fisherman's rib and half fisherman's rib is that in half fisherman's rib, you only knit the brioche technique on every second round. Therefore, you get a different pattern on your front and back side. You have a lower yarn consumption when you knit half fisherman's rib than in fisherman's rib.

Two-color brioche

In two-color brioche you work with two colors but only 1 color at a time. The result is a front and back, that are the same, except that the primary color, ie the stitches that 'stick out' (garter stitches) and those that are in the background are opposite on the two sides. The effect is super nice! Two-color brioche is almost its very own technique, so we are considering making a separate newsletter about it later ...

Relevant videos on brioche and Fisherman's rib 

This video by purllinkknitting demonstrates how to knit Fisherman's rib:

Watch this useful knitting tutorial by Andrea Mowry, who demonstrates how to knit half-fisherman’s rib.

Designs and patterns with Fisherman's rib: 

A good place to start with brioche knitting is the hat 'HØJ', designed by Olga Jazzy. It is a beautiful hat, with a nice, graphic pattern. It is also a good project to practice your increases and decreases in brioche knitting. We work the hat in our soft, sustainable Önling No 1 in wool and angora. All in all, an easy, small project that is super beautiful and usable.

HØJ brioche stitch hat by Olga Jazzy

September Slipover is a very popular and trendy slipover, designed by PetiteKnit. It is an easy project if it the first time you give brioche knitting a go. The September Slipover is worked from the top down in brioche stitches. First the back yoke is worked top-down back and forth with increases at both ends of the work

September Slipover by PetiteKnit, brioche knit vest

Another exciting starter project is this Ambidex scarf in two-colored brioche. Here we combine the snuggly with the fun. Knitting two-colored brioche in the softest No 2 from Önling, in beautiful colors, is both fun and addictive - remember to stop before the scarf is too long! 😉

Ambidex scarf with two-color brioche

This cozy and decorative cowl in brioche stitches is another great brioche beginner project. The pattern describes both how you can use single- and two-colored brioche stitches, and it is exciting to see the different expressions you can create with the two different techniques. Buy a yarn kit at Önling or use your yarn scraps.

Cowl in brioche stitches from Önling

Petra sweater is a fluffy, soft and classic sweater in brioche stitches. It is usable all year round, as it is classic and straightforward and it works nicely with both trousers and a dress. You can play with colors if you like, as you use two strands and qualities of yarn (No 12 and No 10), or make it more discreet if you wish. The hardest part will be choosing how many different colors to knit it in!

Petra Brioche sweater