First KnitBits of the New Year!
01/01/19                            #794
Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2019! There's no telling what this year will hold for any of us, but hopefully it's full of great things—including leveling up your knitting and crochet skills! We recently asked some of our Facebook followers what techniques they were hoping to tackle in the new year, and we've compiled some of the top answers into this email, with videos and blog posts to help you get started.
Far and away, most of the comments on that Facebook post mentioned brioche knitting. Brioche creates a beautiful fabric and is one of those things that always looks harder than it really is. If you can work a 1x1 rib, a yarnover, and a slipped stitch, you can knit brioche. Here's a video that Emily made a few years ago for a pattern called Torrey, in which she demonstrates how to work brioche stitch for Continental knitters (pickers).
For those of you who knit English-style (throwing), Norah whipped up a video demonstrating how she works the brioche technique. It's the same overall method, but it looks and moves a little differently depending on how you hold the yarn.
If you'd like to practice your new skill, the Calafia pattern is free and very easy to work. It calls for two colors of Berroco Briza® held together, but you could easily adjust the pattern to use a few shades of any DK- or worsted-weight yarn, such as Berroco Ultra® Wool DK—maybe hold a strand of Berroco Andean Mist® with it to get that lovely halo! 

If you've mastered the basics of brioche knitting, take a look at Lygia and Cephei! Both use two color brioche with decreases (and increases, in Lygia). There are videos to help you get started with Lygia in our How-To Video center.
Another technique that popped up quite a bit in our informal Facebook poll was steeking. If you're not familiar with steeking, it's a technique most frequently used to create colorwork cardigans. Instead of working the colorwork pattern back and forth in rows, which means working colorwork on the purl side, you instead build a few extra stitches into the body of your garment, knit it in the round, and then cut those stitches up the middle when it's all finished. Please note: you can absolutely knit a colorwork cardigan flat—our own Amy Christoffers prefers to work her cardigans back and forth and wrote a blog post about it. But some of us prefer knitting the cardigan in the round (I am on record as a person who really hates to purl and I can't explain it) and then cutting it open. It's not as scary as it sounds! 

Once again, Emily comes to the rescue—she turned her Helen sweater into a cardigan by knitting the body flat and then steeking open the colorwork section. In this video, Emily demonstrates how to reinforce the steek using a crochet hook (you can also use a sewing machine if you have one handy) and then cutting open the steek.
My best advice for learning to steek? Knit a colorwork swatch (flat or in the round, whatever makes you happy), then practice reinforcing the steek and cutting it open. Doing this on a swatch for the first time is a lot less stressful than doing it on a completed project. Berroco doesn't have any patterns that specifically call for steeking, but many cardigans knit with yarns from our partner brand Lopi call for steeking. I knit and steeked the Ankeri cardigan last year using Lopi Einband and I love my cardigan! There is also a pullover version included in the pattern.
Download This Week's Free Pattern
This week's free pattern is a great choice for newer knitters. Olive is an easy knitted poncho knit lengthwise with alternating columns of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch. One end is joined to the body to create the opening for the head and neck. Knit this simple layering piece with Berroco Vintage®.
What skills are you hoping to master this year?

Happy knitting,

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