Easy Increasing and Decreasing in Two-Color Brioche Knitting

This is part two of my Whimsy North Knits Brioche series. For all of the posts in this series click here. Today we are going to go over increasing and decreasing in brioche knitting and how to create intricate-looking brioche knit pieces.

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I have to admit that it took me a few years of knitting brioche to get up the courage to try and do anything more than straight simple brioche knitting. Then I started researching more intricate patterns and purchased Nancy Marchant’s books Knitting Fresh Brioche and Brioche Lace and realized it wasn’t actually as hard as it looks!

My Pink Sky at Night Shawl uses Increases and Decreases to create a wave pattern.

The Basics of Increasing and Decreasing in Brioche Knitting.

There are a few basic principles to keep in mind when increasing and decreasing in brioche knitting. The first is that brioche is made up of a multiple of two stitches. It is a form of ribbing essentially and with that you will need to increase or decrease by multiples of two.

The increases and decreases I will be showing you today deal mostly with increasing or decreasing a multiple of two stitches and one looks at how to increase by four.

Squishy fun brioche looks like cable knitting and is created only with the increases and decreases listed in this tutorial.

Video Tutorial – How to Increase in Brioche Knitting

See the video below for full step by step instructions on how to do a 2 st increase and 4 st increase. I have also included written directions below it.

Increasing in Two Color Brioche Knitting.

Let’s talk increases first. Increases in two-color brioche knitting end up looking like a little tree to me. There is a trunk coming up that is suddenly split into 2 (or 4, 6 … etc.).

Here are some typical brioche increases and the instructions to knit them. You can view the video above to watch how this is done.

brkyobrk = (2 st increase) – brk1, leaving st on LH needle, yo, then brk1 into the same st.

br4st inc = (4 st increase) – (brk1, yo) twice, brk1

As you can see with increases it’s pretty straight forward. You brioche knit (brk1) then yarn over (yo) and repeat that process for the number of stitches you want to increase, ending with a brk1. Super simple, right?

Next let’s take a look at decreases.


Video Tutorial – How to Decrease in Brioche Knitting

See the video below for full step by step instructions on how to do a right-leaning decrease and a left-leaning decrease. Written instructions are listed below it.

Decreasing in Two-Color Brioche.

Here is where things get slightly more complicated. If we speak in terms of the tree example again decreasing looks like the two branches of the tree coming together into one, however, the tricky part is which way do the branches lean?

Two main decreases in brioche knitting are the Right Leaning Decrease and the Left Leaning Decrease. They are written and explained as follows:

brRsl dec = (2 st decrease, slanting right) – slip the first st knitwise, knit the next st, pass the slipped st over, place the st on the LH needle and pass the following st over. Place the st back on the RH needle.

brLsl dec = (2 st decrease, slanting left) – slip the first st knitwise, brk the following two sts together, pass the slipped st over.

For step by step instructions on how to complete these take a look at the video tutorial above.

With both of these decreases you are only decreasing by 2 stitches, however, when they are completed and you take a look at the final fabric, one leans to the right and one leans to the left. Take a look at the swatch photos below to see what a right and left-leaning decrease look like.

This example shows a 2 stitch increase towards the bottom followed by a 4 stitch increase above that and then two right-leaning decreases towards the top. You can tell they are RIGHT leaning because the main set of stitches leans over the decreasing stitches toward the right.
This swatch shows a similar set-up with a 2 stitch increase towards the bottom, a 4 stitch increase above that, followed by 2 LEFT leaning decreases towards the top. You can tell they are left-leaning because the main trunk of stitches leans over to the left.

Now that you know a few additional brioche techniques what brioche pattern will you try next?!

For more Brioche Knitting Check out the following: