MKB Project No. 11: Getting Started

The eleventh pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (1843, First Series, pp22-23) is for a Brioche.  As a footnote to the pattern, Miss Lambert notes that it is:  “So called from its resemblance, in shape, to the well known French cake of that name.”   The pattern doesn’t say what a knitted brioche actually is, but based on the instructions, it seems to be some kind of cushion or decorative pillow.  It is knit using the brioche stitch.

I decided to do some research before tackling this project to see what I could learn about Brioches and found this great post by Curls and Q where I learned the following:

  1.  A knitted brioche was a decorative pillow meant for the parlor.
  2. Patterns for these pillows were popular in knitting magazines between 1840 and 1875.
  3. In other publications, a knitted brioche was also known as a Moorish Brioche or a Turkish Brioche or cushion.

I also found a few images of Brioche’s in some other publications, including Miss Lambert’s The Hand-Book of Needlework (1842):

Cover - HBofNW - Lambert HBofNW - Brioche Image p200

And Mrs Gaugain’s The Lady’s Assistant in Knitting, Netting and Crochet Work (1842):

 Miss Gaugain Capture
In this book, as well as providing a colour image of the finished cushion, Mrs Gaugain describes the Brioche Cushion in a delightful way:
“The brioche, when made up, is exactly shaped like an orange, indented at top and bottom, which is done by the fastening of the rosette as will be described; the divisions, when worked, resemble the divisions of the orange when the peel is taken off.” (The Lady’s Work Book, p. 35)
Mrs Gaugain also provides a full page of details (it is a little intimidating, I might add!) on how to assemble the completed Brioche which I will likely need to reference upon completion of the knitted portion of the project.
So now that I have some idea of where this pattern will lead me, it is time to take a look at the pattern in detail and figure out what needles and yarn I will need to use.

One thought on “MKB Project No. 11: Getting Started

  1. This sounds like it will be an interesting project to make. I think I’ve seen those sorts of pillows in older detective movies. I can’t wait to see what you come up with using the pattern.

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