Casting on for brioche

If you're like me, you love working brioche stitches, but aren't as crazy about the oft-suggested Italian cast-on. While it's pretty easy to work, it's not always easy to work from. It can be hard to tell which strands are the stitches and which strands are the strands between stitches.

I prefer a tubular cast-on, which is beautiful for any k1-p1 rib. And it also makes a tidy-looking and clear start for a brioche project.

A standard tubular cast-on, however, is a too snug for the spacious brioche stitch, which is why I've adapted tubular cast-on techniques especially for brioche knitting. On this page we work a tubular cast-on for 1-color brioche projects worked flat. Also see these links for

- 1-color brioche in the round
- 2-color brioche worked flat
- 2-color brioche in the round

Tubular Cast-on for 1-Color Brioche - worked flat

With smooth waste yarn cast on half-the-number-of-stitches-desired, plus several spare sts. (The spare sts help to stabilize the start and end of rows, for a tidier edge.)

Slip the first couple of waste-yarn sts;
with working yarn purl a number of stitches equal to half-the-desired-number-of-stitches rounding up (for instance, if 23 sts are desired, purl 12);
turn, leaving remaining waste-yarn sts on needle.

Row 1: Knit to end of working yarn; turn.

Next Row: P1, * ytb, locate purl bump between 1st and 2nd sts of first working-yarn row,

insert left needle tip from top to bottom

and knit it tbl (untwisted),

purl the next stitch;

rep from * to end.

Cast-on is complete, and desired number of stitches should now be on needle.

The other side (the RS) should look something like this, all ready for brioching!

Following are typical brioche setup rows.
If you're new to brioche, you'll find some basic Brioche Terms at the bottom of this page.
Brioche Setup Row 1: K1, [slyo, k1] to end.
Brioche Setup Row 2: Wyf sl1, [brk, slyo] to last st, ytf sl1.

Brioche Row 1: K1, [slyo, brk] to last 2 sts, slyo, k1.
Brioche Row 2: Wyf sl1, [brk, slyo] to last st, ytf sl1.
Repeat Brioche Rows 1 & 2.

Here we are after a few rows of brioche knitting.

To remove waste yarn:
Starting at the looped end of the waste yarn, pull the strand closest to the working yarn, drawing it through.

once that strand has been pulled out, the wast-yarn cast-on row will fall away.

RS cast-on edge

WS cast-on edge

Brioche Terms

Basic Brioche Abbreviations
brk - brioche knit: Knit next double-stranded stitch with both strands together, as if it were one stitch.
brp - brioche purl: Purl next double-stranded stitch with both strands together, as if it were one stitch.
slyo - create a yarnover while at the same time slipping a stitch: Ytf, sl 1 (purlwise), bring ytb above the needle so that it crosses diagonally over the top of the slipped stitch.

Notes on the slyo: The slyo results in a double-stranded stitch (the slipped stitch together with its yarnover will form a narrow "X" above the needle) and those double strands will be worked together on the next row or round - either as a brk or brp, or as part of an increase or decrease.

Depending on ones knitting method, the slip and the yarnover portions may be worked nearly simultaneously.
- When the slyo is worked before a knit or brk stitch, the yo is a partial yarnover, moving just from front to back above the needle, ready to work the knit stitch.
- When the slyo is worked before a purl or brp stitch, the yo forms a complete yarnover - moving from front to back above the needle, then to the front under the needle ready to work the purl stitch.

Brioche increases
brinc - brioche increase: Brk 1 leaving left st on ndl, yo, brk 1 removing st from ndl (increases 2 sts) (aka: brkyobrk).
dbl-brinc - double brioche increase: * Brk 1 leaving left st on ndl, yo; rep from * once more, brk 1 removing st from ndl (increases 4 sts) (aka: brkyobrkyobrk)

Brioche decreases - Important note: When working the following decreases, the double-stranded slyo from the previous row or round is treated as one single stitch.
brLdec - left leaning brioche decrease: Sl 1 knitwise, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over knitted stitch (decreases 2 sts) (aka: brLsl dec)
brRdec - right leaning brioche decrease: Ssk, slip stitch just worked back onto left needle, pass 2nd stitch on left needle over slipped stitch, slip stitch to right needle (decreases 2 sts)
(this decrease has a similar result but is worked somewhat differently than a brRsl dec).

More Resources: These terms are just a few basics. For a comprensive guide to all things brioche, see Nancy Marchants lovely website: