Burping & Barking


This is a good book.  It covers every conceivable variation of Brioche stitch, with carefully labelled photos and with diagrams on single colour, multi-colour, cables, increase and decrease you could ever need.  So the reasons that it left me in a confused and sulky mess are all the fault of my own stupid brain!

Luckily I remembered KnitWit’s praise of YouTube (something not around in the 90’s when I learned) and one 2 minute clip from “the bearded knitter” later I was well on my way.

It is really quite difficult to re-wire your brain after a decade of knitting a particular way, especially when introducing a different (but tantalisingly familiar) approach. Then add to that newly written concepts such as burp and bark… 

I felt exactly the same way when I first tackled lace and had to cope with the idea of holes being a planned, good thing and it mattering which way my decreases went (especially as it never occurred to me that they leaned either left or right).  But I am stubborn and using face cloth cotton I cast on and fearlessly jumped in.


So here it is, after (literally) hours of re-starting, swearing and cursing – I give you a piece of knitting that pigging-well looks like mistake rib! 

Seriously, I was boggled by the amount of effort that I had put in to get something that looked only “nice” (with a bit of a dodgy edge).  Ladies and Gentlemen, I had officially mastered “barking” or BrK (Brioche knit stitch). 

The original plan was to do one complete wash cloth in bark and then cast on a new one to try two colour-work.  By this stage that seemed a crazy amount of work and knitting on was far too tempting, so the end result is a little odd (but sort of looks like a toy piano!).


So onto “burping” or BrP – Brioche Purl (no, I am not making this up, this is what the book calls them!).  This is where Brioche comes into its own as it allows you to make two coloured rib with the second colour laying flat (or peeking) through.  As there are no floats, both sides look rather nice.


Front view with yellow dominant.


Back view with orange dominant.

The fabric feels nice and spongy (which is unsurprising considering it is two layers thick).  The biggest head-messing step I had to master is that this has to be knitted on a circular needle in the flat because each row is worked in pairs.  So you BrK the yellow, slide the work along the needle and then WITHOUT TURNING BrP the orange.  You THEN turn the work and BrP the yellow, slide the needle back and BrK the orange. 

It is reasonably logical when you are knitting to work out which colour is being knitted or purled, but on a long-term project (I’m thinking scarf) you must use some kind of marker to remind you which yarn is supposed to be used next.  Any advice?

For now, I am going to have a little lay down in a quiet room and with a nice, simple pair of socks.



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