Holiday Stitch Exchange: Marshmallow Cowl

A few weeks back, I was in my favorite clothing boutique and a knit wrap caught my eye. While it looked like ribbing on first glance, as I held it, and examined the stitch pattern, there was something different about it. The "ribbing" seemed deeper, more puffy. And there was what looked liked a set of stitches slanting beneath the main stitches. This wrap was knit loosely, so the stitches were very evident. After doing a bit of research, I came to learn this is the famous brioche stitch pattern. While at first I felt confused when reading the directions for this stitch pattern, once learned, it was very easy - and quite fun! Knitting the brioche pattern is kind of like playing scales on the piano - up down, front back. The trick is to get into the pattern of knitting brioche - and don't over think it.

As we were dyeing our new chunky yarn, Big Sky, I kept squishing it - and dreaming of it knit in brioche. I decided to make a simple brioche cowl pattern. It is full of squish and poof - and is kind of like a marshmallow! So here, I present The Marshmallow Cowl...(cast-on or queue)


Finished Measurements
28” circumference

A Verb for Keeping Warm Big Sky (100% targhee wool; 160 yards / 100g), lighthouse or color of your choice, 1 skein

One US 11 (8.0 mm) 24in circular needle

7 1/2
stitches and 12 rows / 4" in brioche stitch pattern

stitch marker, tapestry needle

K – Knit
P – Purl
SL1YO – (Slip 1 yarn over) Bring the yarn in front of the work then slip the next stitch purl-wise, bring the yarn over the needle and over the slipped stitch to the back, in position to work the following stitch.
BRK – (Brioche knit) Knit the stitch (that was slipped in the previous row) together with its yarn-over.
BRP – (Brioche purl) Purl the stitch (that was slipped in the previous row) together with its yarn-over.


Cast-on 54 stitches. Join to work in the round, careful not to twist. Place marker.

Set-up round: (K1, SL1YO). Repeat.
Round 1: SL1YO, BRP.
Round 2: BRK, SL1YO

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until piece measures 9 1/2 inches. BO in K1, P1 ribbing.

To finish, weave in ends and block.


This is just a small introduction into the world of brioche knitting. There is so much more that can be done with it - like two color knitting, garments, and more!

To learn about the brioche knitting technique, see the Craftsy classes by Nancy Marchant and Mercedes Tarasovich-Clarke. Also, Mercedes has a new book titled Brioche Chic. Lately, Stephen West has released a number of patterns which feature brioche knitting, like this one. Last week, Bristol Ivy released a large wrap called Hey, Little Songbird - which I would love to make using our alpaca / silk / cashmere yarn Floating - as the alpaca blend in this yarn drapes so beautifully when knit in the brioche stitch.

We've been asked for pattern ideas for Big Sky, lucky us, Julie Weisenbeger of Cocoknits just released two patterns in which she used Big Sky to knit these cozy samples. Kuss, a sweet little hat, which will knit up in a blink of an eye - and the Stranded Cowl which uses one skein of Big Sky and one skein of Woolfolk's Far. I am obsessed with this pattern - it is reversible, the cowl is super soft, and it provides the perfect canvas to combine color and yarn, resulting in different textures.

Let's look a little more closely at this stitch pattern.

You could also make this cowl using a strand of Big Sky and Floating, Annapurna, or Even Tinier Annapurna.

In addition to the above patterns, here are a few that would be fun to knit using Big Sky!

Tombreck Hat Pattern by Ysolda Teague
Cocoon Hat by La Maison Rililie
Quincy Hat by Jared Flood
Borough Mitts by Veronica O'Neil
Glucksburg Cowl by Silke K
Wolcott Cowl by Alicia Plummer

If you have other ideas, add them in the comment section!

On Sunday, December 7th, 2-3pm, I am giving a demo on brioche knitting. So if you would like to see brioche done in person, and to try this stitch yourself, stop on by!

Tomorrow on the blog, we continue our Holiday Stitch Exchange! Stay tuned - lots of goodies coming your way!