Sunday, September 16, 2007

The little mistake

A little while back, one of the guys on a knitting list was having trouble with the Brioche stitch. It is a rather strange pattern, but he liked the results. However, he kept getting an extra stitch when he would come to the end of a row! It just didn't add up for him. So I set out to see why -- it seemed simple enough! haha

By following the pattern directions strictly, I was all confused, and was making mistakes. The directions were wrongly written. She would insert a yf and also a yo, which in my way of thinking, are both one and the same. By bringing the yarn forward, and then knitting a stitch, you can't help but make a YO. So putting the directions like that really was confusing! I had to re-write the directions (once I figured out what was going on) and it worked much better.

I first did the pattern with large needles, as suggested (section "a"), and it was quite interesting. I liked the result; there were possibilities here! Usually, it was used as a scarf and hat, but I can see this as a sweater as well.

I then switched to smaller needles, as I felt there was too much looseness in the fabric, and the back layer was showing through. I thought it would look better as a type of double layer fabric (section "b"). The results of that you see here:
After working this a number of times, I realized that I WAS working a double layer fabric anyway! So I switched the pattern just a little bit (not doing the YO) and I was doing plain double layer knitting!! (section "c") The word "brioche" comes from the French and means "mistake"... now I see what they mean! Someone was doing double knitting (or thinking they would) but made a slight mistake, and came up with a new pattern! That's how many of these things happen: you set out to go down one road, but things happen along the way and you get diverted and see something entirely new. Not all mistakes are bad; they are only not quite what you were expecting, that's all.

I think I would teach this by doing some double knitting first. Once you understood what was happening (bringing the yarn forward before slipping the back stitch, or after slipping the front stitch), you can see that by forgetting to take the yarn back again, you make a "mistake" or a "brioche" and have developed a new pattern technique.

There -- it's just that easy!