Under the Dutch Skies: a 2-color brioche shawl

For something so beautiful, it sure was a pain to knit! I keep thinking, why was Champagne Bubbles (also 2-color brioche, but with bonus! lace!) so much easier? I think because Champagne Bubbles is quite narrow, so it was no big deal to tink a few rows, if I made a mistake or dropped a stitch.

With this project, however, the rows just kept getting longer and longer and longer. Dropping down to fix mistakes proved impossible because it’s hard (impossible?) to tell which yarns go in front/back in this type of double knitting. Tinking was dreadful, because each pattern row is created by knitting the work 4 times. Arrrgghh! So, I’d mess up a decrease somewhere, find the mistake the next time I’d need to decrease above it, and as a result, would have to tink hundreds of stitches (half of them having overs), and GAH.

Someone left a brilliant comment on my Instagram, cluing me in to using dental floss to create an instant lifeline. The trick is originally Clara Parkes‘. It was a life-saving tip, and gave me the push I needed to finish the work. I put in lifelines frequently, and used them frequently, as well.

Pattern: 2-Color Under the Dutch Skies Brioche Shawl by Nancy Marchant. Some noteworthy changes that I made are as follows:

  • I used the darker color for the LC, which is kind of like the “main color” in 2-color brioche. Typically the LC is worked using the lighter color.
  • I changed the edging. I was really bothered by the edging in the original; it seemed to lack that signature center point. I read and re-read Evelyn Clark’s Knitting Lace Triangles a thousand times, and finally figured out how to alter the 2-color brioche pattern to make a point in the center.

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock Yarn in Esoteric (about 315 yards) and Great Grey Owl (about 320 yards). Gorgeous yarns. Esoteric has a bit of variegation to it (one of the reasons I didn’t want it to be the “background” yarn), while Great Grey Owl is solid.

Needles and finished dimensions: Using US 6 needles, and after blocking, the shawl came out 53″ across the top, and 26″ from top edge to the point. I also used a cable needle (a super simple Susan Bates one) to make the big, central decreases, which merged 8 strands of yarn into 1.




11 thoughts on “Under the Dutch Skies: a 2-color brioche shawl

  1. Vanessa

    It’s beautiful and, from my point of view (since I did none of the hard work) well worth the effort.

  2. Alix

    Oh my goodness, that is the most beautiful everything–colors, pattern, workmanship…
    If I ever accomplished anything the likes of this, I would just hang it where I could see it and smile at it all day!!!
    Thank you for showing us the magnificent result of your work.

  3. Marny CA

    MY suggestion is to *never* use dental floss as a lifeline – it is meant to cut through dental plaque and would VERY easily slice through yarn.

    But that’s only my own sightings of what others have said over the years.

    Personally, I use a thin yarn that is a contrasting color from the yarn of the item. Sock yarn would be good. Thread a yarn needle and when all is considered correct, slide the yarn needle through all the loops on the left needle – leave the lifeline – and continue knitting the next row.

    Add another lifeline as often as you feel necessary – and leave those already in – just in case.

  4. Amy

    Beautiful! So glad you stuck with it and finished. 🙂

    I am surprised that you had not heard of lifelines – perhaps not enough lace in your life! 🙂 I usually use crochet cotton for my lifelines, so you don’t have to worry about wool “grabbing” as you pull it out (especially important on those longer rows). Certainly is faster than having to tink, which I absolutely have to do on lace – all those twisted yarnovers boggle my mind.

    I agree that the bottom center was unappealing on the original pattern. Your modification looks lovely.

  5. Duni

    Wow- that is gorgeous! Your perseverance is inspirational. I’m about to embark on my first brioche, so fingers crossed!

  6. Kat @ felinity knits

    1. That is beautiful.
    2. You have the patience of a saint/stubborn perseverance of, er, something less saintly. Either way, I do not have (but wish I did) what it takes to face knitting this shawl. So in conclusion:
    3. Well done you. It’s amazing.

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