Held Double

Flexes fingers…stretches arms…ok, this is all stuff I’ve said before, so totally feel free to skip right over this if you’ve been here a while.  But just in case you’re new, here’s the spiel on the cast on.

Yup, I totally cast on over two needles held together.

Before anyone screams or cries into their tea or sends me worried messages…don’t panic, I know that doesn’t make the cast on any looser or stretchier.  To make the cast on looser, you need more space *between* one stitch and its neighbor. But casting on this way does make each individual stitch a tiny bit *taller*.  And that makes my cast on a better match to the stitches I make on the rest of the project.

See, I’m a pretty loose knitter.  So the loops of yarn I make are a good bit bigger than the needles I make them with.  BUT…for some reason I’m a tight cast-er on-er (no, not a word, but you get what I mean).  So if I just use one needle to cast on, the loops of yarn I make in my cast on would be way smaller than the loops of yarn I make my regular stitches with, and that’s no good.

So, casting on over two needles helps balance them out.  I could get the same result by casting on over one much larger needle.  But that would require digging such a needle out of the needle cage (and runs the risk of inadvertently then using that big needle as I start knitting, which you wouldn’t think would happen, but I can say with certainty that it can).

So, this works for me, and I know how/why it works.  If you knit tightly when you cast on but loosely otherwise, it might work for you too.  But if all you need is for your cast on to be bigger around, then you have to leave more space between stitches instead!

That’s going to work out nicely…

Pretty sure we need more brioche.  And I’m pretty sure this is going to be the way to do it.

That orange is some seriously deep stash.  The company is, alas, apparently out of business…and normally that means I would not use the yarn, but it’s a common enough base that it won’t be hard to find an equivalent yarn.  And my goodness but it’s too pretty not to use.

All my suspicions are confirmed by the swatch (insert ‘yay swatch, swatch is important, swatch is useful’ peptalk right about here).  That is, indeed, going to be smashing.

Yarns are Punta Yarns’ Mericash in color HP66 and Malabrigo’s Rios in Sabiduria. ⠀

I mean I suppose technically it’s more ribbing…

So now we’re at the bit where I more or less…well…have to knit ribbing again.  And I’m not quite sure why an inch of ribbing at the bottom, before the fun bits, feels like endless purgatory, but three inches of ribbing at the top feels like zipping towards the finish.  But somehow it does.

So I’m not actually minding tooooooo much.  Though if we’re being honest, it’s still not my favorite bit.

Perhaps my uncharacteristic stoicism is because it means it’s just about time to do the crown.  And I have a suspicion brioche crowns are their own special kind of magic!

Oh, and let’s see…some pre-emptive answers to possible questions.  Yarns are by Ontheround, Everyday DK in Natural and Plush Single in Ring of Fire.  And you totally could do more of the wee flower pods instead of switching back to ribbing.  I’m just fond of having things happen in threes, so that’s what I did. But you could do just one or do it the whole way up the hat if you were so inclined.  There will be a pattern (but I’m running it by lots of folks more familiar with brioche than I am first…because I don’t want to lead anyone astray).

The fun bits

The ribbing is never my favorite bit.  In fact, the ribbing is the bit I sternly make myself do because I know I will like wearing the finished thing better as a result.  But really…my heart is in it for the swirly middle bits.

Though to be fair, I was rather pleased with myself for being comfy enough with brioche to reach the ‘yup, ready to be done with the ribbing’ stage right on schedule.  I’m pretty sure you can’t be both bored and scared at the same time, so if I got to bored, then I’m well past scared, right?

But now I’m on to the fancy bits, and oh but wow do I love them!  In fact, I’m going to be all shameless and just flash the pretty.  Because I’m tickled!

Oh, and before I forget, yarns are Ontheround’s Everyday DK in Natural and Plush Single in Ring of Fire.  And they are yummy!  Brioche is totally going to get me to experiment with more adventurous color combos over time, but for now, I’m going with bright and high contrast, and magical orangey bits and mellow neutral totally work!

Dive in

Perhaps you remember the other day? When I was very very very mean and told you that there was a decent chance that some of the reason you ‘could never do that’ was because you kept telling yourself you can’t?  Right…so let’s talk about that some more.

Earlier this year, when our house was invaded by absolutely lovely, skilled, kind people doing extremely noisy, dusty, disruptive things to deal with the aftermath of the burst pipe, I decided I’d deal with the chaos by teaching myself two color brioche.  Because that’s a reasonable way to cope.

So I did!  I watched some videos and read some blogs (this walkthrough is great) and knit some swatches and swore a bit and possibly squinted a lot and after an hour or two I was feeling competent.  So I cast on for a hat.

That pile of swatches up there?  That’s more or less every single bit of brioche I’d knit before I said ‘ok, time to stop swatching and do a project’ (the orange and white one is the same yarn I used for the hat, so it more or less counts as a gauge swatch).

And you know what, it worked.  No I mean it really worked.  It’s just yarn, so the potential for disaster is pretty low.  But there’s really not any drama at all.

It wasn’t any harder than sorting out cables or lace or slipped stitches or any other knitting thing (yeah yeah, I know it looks hard, I put it off for years because it looks hard…but it I can sort it out in an afternoon, so can you).  In fact, it was mellow enough that my traditional “oh god, ribbing, I’m so bored of ribbing, can I do the pretty bits yet?” feelings kicked in right on schedule.  I’ll show you the pretty bits soon!

So…pep talk part…whatever that knitting thing is you’re sort of intrigued by but you’re worried it’s going to be hard?  How about you go spend an hour or two this week reading about it.  Because I suspect if you do that, you can have something on your needles in no time!