This is a cowl of my own design. I adapted charts from Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor. Do excuse my hand in the one picture. It was the only way I could show the actual pattern. This will be entered in The PassioKnit Spinner Podcast‘s Use Your Books KAL
First up is my first try. It turns out that moving the yarn to the front before slipping a stitch on knit rows is very important. You can see that I got halfway through before realizing that. That swatch got frogged. I did another one the correct way.
The next two are the front and back of my current swatch. As you can see on the front, I messed something up. I’m not sure what I did. Last night I put it down to go make supper and I thought that I’d finished a row. I picked it up again later and found my yarns on opposite sides of the work. I thought that meant I didn’t finish the last row. So I did that, and I thought I did the right part but evidently not. I’m not about to start over or try to rip back. That’s the reason I’m swatching and not making a whole project. I’ll probably use these swatches as mug rugs or hot pads even if that does seem an awful waste of good fibers. But I have to remind myself that the animals are growing more, more sweaters will end up in the thrift stores and I have more yarn than I know what to do with right now anyway (and just bought 3 more sweaters to unravel a few days ago.)
I’m swatching instead of making a whole project because of the potential for mistakes. That’s my 5th try on the second swatch and the first time I got beyond 6 rows. Most of the time I messed up somewhere in the first 3 rows. Had that been a whole project (with a lot more stitches) it would have pissed me off so much to have to frog and retry so many times. Knitting a swatch and having to frog was just a bit frustrating instead of making me mad.
I originally learned to knit by making swatches (I have a bag of acrylic swatches around here somewhere) for at least a month before attempting my first real project. Learning Brioche is almost like learning to knit for the first time. It’s a little bit familiar but a whole lot different and strange. I wouldn’t exactly call it hard but it takes a lot of concentration (and swearing and mumbling to myself as I talk my way through the stitches). It gets easier. I can now do the basic rows without too much mumbling, although I do need to keep my attention from wandering.
It’s worth the frustration. Seeing the pattern come together. Seeing the different dominant colors on each side. The feeling of accomplishment for achieving something that seemed so difficult before I started. Know that I will eventually be able to make some of those gorgeous patterns I’ve been seeing. Yes, it’s worth learning Brioche. And not as hard as it looks.