A colleague and I got chatting about alpaca jumpers. He told me that his white alpaca jumper always gets strange stains that seem to come out of nowhere and that another of his has got moth holes. I love alpaca and therefore, because you can’t let things go to waste, I offered to mend it. So he brought it in. I noticed it was a kind of Brioche stitch and said it would be difficult but doable. Sometimes I really don’t know what I’m letting myself in for. When I had a closer look at home I noticed it was some sort of honeycomb brioche (well, so I thought). I think I last knitted a brioche stitch more than 20 years ago and certainly not a complicated one like this. I wasn’t prepared to flaunt it, so I decided I had to undergo some training. I first looked up the stitch pattern and did a little swatch, which wasn’t too painful, but wasn’t enough for me to really understand the pattern. I had to do something bigger.
I had wanted to make hot water bottle covers for my mother and my brother for Christmas but hadn’t got round to it. What better excuse to make them, though after Christmas, then to try a stitch pattern. I got out the rest of the light blue wool that I had used for my mother’s Curve of Pursuit afghan and got started. I really struggled with this pattern. Sometimes a stitch seemed to disappear and I couldn’t figure out what had happened. And then two thirds along the way I saw I had made a very visible mistake at the bottom. I had knitted a yo in the wrong row. So, there I was fighting with myself what to do. Shall I open that column up and try to fix it? Would I be successful? Or would I fail and have to rip open everything anyway? Or would I be able to live with that mistake? Or more importantly, would my mother be able to live with that mistake? Or would I just cut the yarn, fix the mistake and try and thread the ends? Being completely crazy I chose to open up the column and… succeeded. I’m still mightily pleased with myself. When I got out my colleague’s jumper to fix it I noticed I had practiced the wrong brioche stitch. It looked more like Moss brioche stitch, but the principle is much the same.
gray cover: 1 skein 100 g gray Ethical Twist yarn (70% wool, 30% alpaca, 240m/100g,)
light blue cover: 100g light blue wool slub (100% wool, about 12 wpi)
Notions: double pointed needles size 5 mm, 5,5 mm and 6 mm . Threading needle.
Gauge: honeycomb brioche (done on 6 mm needles) 11 st x 19 rows (gray) and 10 st x 18 rows (light blue) = 10 cm square.
The cover is knit in the round without any increases or decreases. To shape the corners smaller needles are used. Because there are so many different hot water bottles out there no measurements are given. Remember though to make and wash a swatch so that you don’t end up with something of the size of a children’s jumper in the end. As small as a project may be, wash your swatch!
The honeycomb brioche stitch is taken from ‘the brioche stitch’ website but adapted for knitting in the round.
With 5 mm needles cast on 24 stitches (or any even number of stitches needed). Knit 24 stitches on one side then knit 24 stitches out of the bottom of the cast on stitches on the other side. Knit in the round from now on.
Foundation round 1: *k1, yf sl1 yo purlwise, rep from *
Foundation round 2: *k1, k the stitch behind the yo and sl the yo purlwise, rep from *.
Round 1: * yf sl1 yo purlwise, brp1, repeat from *
Round 2: * k the stitch behind the yo and sl the yo purlwise, k1, repeat from*
Round 3: * brp1, yf sl1 yo purlwise, repeat from *
Round 4: * k1, k the stitch behind the yo and sl the yo purlwise, repeat from*
Repeat rounds 1-4 twice then switch to 6 mm needle and knit until the next corner is reached. Switch to 5.5 mm needle and knit rounds 1-4 at least once. End with round 1 or 3.
Start the neck by kfb for every yo and pfb for every k in the round below.
Then ktb and ptb every round for about 20 cm or as long as required.
Cast off and thread.