Most of us are familiar with the gorgeous twists and turns of knitted cables. Did you know there are ways to get those pretty twists without using a cable needle or even crossing stitches?
With brioche trending in knitting lately, we thought we’d take a look at faux cables that use the brioche technique.
We call them “faux cables” because you don’t actually create the cable using a cable needle.
With brioche, the increases and decreases trick the eye. See the brioche cable above? It might look like the stitches are crossing, but they’re not. Some rows have both an increase and a decrease on them, and that’s what makes the faux cable. For every stitch increased, there’s also a decrease, so the stitch count doesn’t change.
Let’s take a look at a few of the increases and decreases you’ll need to know to make these faux cables.
Before you dive into this faux cable, some knowledge of brioche is helpful, like sl1yo and brk. Note, too, that these increases and decreases are worked flat. (The rules for working in the round are slightly different, so keep that in mind if you’re knitting rounds instead of rows.)
Brioche increase stitch: Brkyobrk
This stitch increases the stitch count by two stitches. If you’ve tried lace knitting, this increase is similar to some of the yarn-over increases you’ve probably stitched.
In brioche knitting, increases are usually worked on Row A.
On the next A row, insert the needle into the next sl1yo. Remember that a sl1yo is actually two stitches on the needle, but it’s treated as one stitch. It will look like you’re inserting the needle into two stitches.
Brk1 into the stitch, but don’t drop the stitch from the left needle just yet.
Add a yarn over (yo) to the right needle, still not dropping the stitch from the left needle.
Insert the needle into that same stitch again (remember it’s a sl1yo that looks like two stitches)…
…then end the increase by adding a brk into the stitch. You can finally drop the stitch from the left needle. You’ve increased two stitches, thanks to the extra yarn over and extra brk.
You’ll see those three stitches on the right needle after you drop the stitch.
When you reach that increase on Row B, just work a sl1yo into the brks, and work a plain knit stitch into the yarn over.
Brioche decrease stitch: Brk3tog
This is a decrease that slants to the right, kind of like a k3tog in traditional knitting. This will decrease the stitch count by two stitches.
Insert the needle knitwise into the next three stitches, making sure to include any yarn over wraps from the sl1yo on the previous row. (It will appear that you’re inserting the needle into five stitches, as seen in the photo above, but it’s actually counted as three stitches.)
Knit the three stitches together, resulting in just one stitch.
You’ll see the stitches grouped together after you complete the stitch.
Brioche decrease stitch: Sssbrk
This decrease slants to the left, going the opposite direction from a brk3tog. This is kind of like a ssk (slip, slip, knit) in your usual knitting. This will decrease the stitch count by two stitches, just like the brk3tog.
Slip the next three stitches knitwise, one at a time, onto the right needle. Be sure to include any yarn over wraps from the sl1yo on the previous row. (Check out the photo above and you’ll see that it looks like you’re slipping five stitches, but it actually just counts as three stitches.)
Slip the stitches back to the left needle…
…then knit all three stitches together through the back loop, resulting in just one stitch.
In combination, all three of these shaping brioche stitches can help you create all kinds of beautiful lines and curves in your brioche knitting. They may look like cables in some cases, but they’re actually just sneaky increases and decreases that create those twists!