Tuesday, May 11, 2010


“Prime rib” is the name that Elizabeth Zimmerman gave to Brioche stitch, a stitch pattern that always involves a yarn over, slipping a stitch, and knitting two stitches together. There are many wonderful variations of Brioche stitch, but the purest and simplest form is prime rib.

I don’t recall exactly how I stumbled over the Brioche rib stitch, but it was probably when I was going through Barbara Walker’s First Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Talk about love at first knit! Here was a way to make a deep, tidy ribbing with no purling! I loved knitting the rhythm of the “yarn over, slip, knit two together” (which, when I teach this stitch to children, fits nicely to the tune of “One little two little three little Indians”). The resulting fabric knits up quickly and is thick and soft, perfect for scarves or hats.

Click to enlarge the pictures. You can fnd the pattern for the scarves (above) HERE.

By doing a little experimentation, I also discovered that I could get cool zig-zagging puddles of color in a prime rib scarf by changing the needle size or number of stitches. When I used my hand dyed sock yarn, the result was the Colorwave Scarf, pictured below and at top (click to enlarge). You can find the pattern HERE.

Brioche Stitch from Barbara G. Walker, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, 1968.

On an even number of stitches,
Row 1 (preparation row)- *Yo, sl 1, k1; rep from *.
Row 2- *Yo, sl 1, k2 tog (slip-stitch and yo of previous row); rep from *.

For a short video demonstrating this stitch, click HERE.