Our featured designer today is Nancy Marchant! We’re excited to have her and show you some examples of the beautiful Brioche Knitting she’s done over the years. Brioche knitting creates reversible ribbed fabric and can be done with one or two colors. It’s a very cool technique and adds a lot of texture, both visually and by feel. Nancy has some great information on her website about One-Color Brioche and Two-Color Brioche. Nancy is Briocher on Ravelry.
Loopy: We’re so glad to have you here today! How long have you been a knitter/knitting brioche and who taught you to knit?
Nancy: My mother taught me to knit as a young child and I have never stopped. That means I’ve been knitting for more than 60 years. My first published brioche pattern was in Vogue Knitting Magazine in 1992.
Loopy: It’s awesome you’ve stayed with the hobby ever since you learned! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Nancy: Scarves and shawls. And since I love to design new stitches, I also like to make samples. For me, a scarf is just a big sample.
Loopy: There’s a lot of space to be creative in scarves and shawls. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Nancy: That’s a difficult question because I don’t really consider knitting a challenge. What is a challenge is quite often trying to figure out what a designer is trying to say in their instructions (and how, as a designer, do you explain things).
Loopy: I can totally relate. It’s always a joy when a designer has clearly articulated their instructions. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Nancy: I had my first pattern in Ladies Home Journal Needle & Craft Magazine in 1976. It was a crazy crocheted jacket using 12 different yarns/colors. I think because I grew up in rural Indiana, where a yarn store didn’t really exist, I was forced to design knitwear from a photo and use the yarn that was available (in one of the 8 colors offered!).
Loopy: Wow! It’s fun to have so many color and yarn choices now 🙂 Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Nancy: I guess it might be “Winter Birch”. I have several designs that I really like but have never published because there is no repeat in those patterns. I would have to chart/write up every row and some of these scarfs have 600+ rows.
Loopy: Winter Birch is a stunning scarf. I can see why it’s your favorite. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Nancy: Just the original designing is my favorite part. I really have to force myself to write everything down while I am designing and then translate it later into a written pattern and chart.
Nancy: I am a retired freelance graphic designer. This makes writing knitting books quite easy for me.
Loopy: It’s very cool both of your careers have been in the creative space. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Nancy: I am not retired from knitting and creating new stitch patterns. I do this at my leisure so it’s not full time and not at all difficult.
Loopy: Does anyone else in your family knit?
Nancy: My mother was a quilter and started the “Piecemakers” quilting group that quilts in the Pioneer Building at the Indiana State Fair every year. My two daughters aren’t interested in textiles at all.
Loopy: How special your mom was involved in that! Are there other hobbies you enjoy?
Nancy: I really like to read and cook. I guess you could say that I’m quite domestic.
Loopy: Home is where the yarn is after all 😉 What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Loopy: Oh, that sounds fun! Now I want to go there. Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Nancy: Probably a night person. That’s when I settle in and knit or read. I like coffee, I knit English and love mottled solid colors combined with multi-colors.
Loopy: Those solid and multi-colors are really a fun combo. Anything else you’d like to add?
Nancy: Happy brioching!
Nancy has provided us with a coupon code (loopybrioche) valid from today through next Friday, for 20% off her individual patterns of your choosing. She’s also offered the chance to purchase more than one pattern with the discount if you’d like to take advantage of it! You can find Nancy’s patterns here. (Coupon valid from July 21 – 28).
Some yarns you might like using for Brioche Knitting:
Worsted: Cascade 220 Superwash, The Fibre Company Cumbria, Uncommon Thread Lush Worsted
Sport: Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy, Shalimar Enzo Sport, Wollmeise Blend
Fingering: Berry Colorful Yarnings Self Striping, Cascade Heritage Silk, Into The Whirled Pakokku, Loopy Solid Series
Choosing Colors: In Brioche, we do recommend using yarns with enough contrast to easily see the difference. It’s common to use two solid colors, but it’s also very fun to do one multi color and one solid. We suggest looking through the projects on Ravelry to see some examples. We’re also more than happy to help you choose some yarns!
If you’re looking to start learning Brioche, we’d recommend Nancy’s Bebeb Scarf.