A while back, I used to join a group of knitters for a Tuesday night knitting session at a local restaurant. It was fascinating to see what the other people were creating — they were all far more experienced than I, and I had a great chance to learn. (Alas, I stopped going because of time constraints…)
One of the knitters at one of those gatherings was knitting a gorgeous scarf. When I questioned her, I learned that it was Nancy Marchand’s Hosta pattern, in two-color brioche stitches. I immediately went home and bought the pattern. Shortly thereafter, I bought yarn.
And my two-color brioche scarf has languished.
I’ve picked up the pattern at least half a dozen times. Every time I read it though, I get caught up in Marchand’s terminology. I absolutely canNOT understand the stitches she describes, no matter how many times I read the pattern or read her website. I get cranky, and I start to cast aspersions (“She only wants me to buy her book!”)
But I was bound and determined to make my Hosta scarf.
But first, I wanted to learn how to knit faster. Every knitter I know is faster than I am. (I produce beautiful, even stitches, but I’m sloooooow.) I knit English, which is slower than Continental, and I’m considering learning Continental (but I’m afraid that I’ll “break” my English sense memory if I do…) Still, I started watching “speed up your English knitting” videos.
And lo and behold, I made a discovery: I have been doing my knitting All Wrong. I have not been wrapping the yarn around my fingers in any way (much less one of the dozens of ways I’ve now seen illustrated) to tension the yarn. Instead, I was affecting regular tension with the way I was throwing the yarn — effective, but slow.
I struggled with a couple of wrapping techniques and I’ve found one that works for me. It *does* speed up my knitting, and it will more, and I’m confident it will do moreso as it becomes even more second nature. So, with that hurdle accomplished, I turned back to brioche…
First, I found other patterns that described the single color brioche stitch, using traditional knitting terms, rather than Marchand’s new terminology. Sure enough, one finally pierced my knitting fog, and made sense. I was practicing on lousy acrylic yarn, but I was able to create a decent run of brioche.
Next up, I looked for two-color brioche non-Marchand instructions. I found several plain scarves and read through page after page of instructions until I found one that made sense to me. I struggled a bit more (with two colors of hideous acrylic yarn!) but I finally managed that technique!
And then, I turned back to my Hosta pattern. I spent a couple of nights trying to “translate” the Marchand instructions, looking at how she describes brioche stitches and how my other patterns describe them. I cast on the initial three stitches about a million times. I swore. A lot.
And I ultimately decided that the Hosta pattern is not for me. At least, not now.
Alas, when I searched for other beautiful two-color brioche scarf patterns, *every* *single* *one* that I liked was a Marchand pattern. Finally, I discovered one that was interesting, but it was a single color pattern (with lots of cables, another thing I want to work on.)
And, finally, a lightbulb went off in my dim little head.
And so, I am now working on transforming my one-color brioche cable scarf into a two-color one. After many false starts, I *think* that I’m on track. Only time, and a few more evenings in front of the television will tell!
And someday? I might go back to the Marchand instructions yet again. But for now, I’m putting that pattern at the bottom of my storage drawer!
Mirrored from Mindy Klasky, Author.