Welcome back to our brioche knitting tutorial series! Now that you’re familiar with the basic brioche knit stitch, brioche knitting in the round and two-color brioche knitting, we’ll show you how to decrease your stitches in brioche knitting.

Decreases in brioche knitting are useful for shaping garments or creating more elaborate brioche stitch patterns. In this tutorial, we’ll show you two ways to decrease stitches. These decreases work equally well when knitting brioche stitch flat or on circular needles.

Abbreviations and Definitions

L= Left

R= Right

YO= Yarnover

BRK= Brioche Knit: Knit the next stitch together with its corresponding YO from the row below.

BRK3tog= Brioche Knit 3 together: Knit the next knit stitch and its corresponding YO together with the following purl stitch, return the stitch just worked to the L needle, pass the second stitch on L needle (with its corresponding YO) over first stitch. Return completed stitch from L to R needle. (2 stitches decreased)

BRSSSK= Brioche Slip Slip Slip Knit: Slip 1 knitwise (this is a knit stitch + its corresponding YO) from L to R needle, slip another stitch from L to R needle (this is a purl), BRK 1 from L needle, pass the slipped stitches over the stitch just worked. (2 stitches decreased)

Knitwise=As if to knit. When slipping a stitch knitwise, insert the R needle into the stitch from front to back, as if you’re going to knit the stitch. This will turn the stitch around, as opposed to slipping a stitch purlwise (inserting your R needle from back to front) which doesn’t turn the stitch.

Let’s break down each decrease into steps, starting with BRK3tog. Working in brioche stitch, you will have just slipped a purl stitch to the R needle, and your working yarn will be in front of your work (see the first photo in the series below). The photos that follow show you how to knit the next knit stitch and the yarnover on top of it with the following purl stitch.

Next, slip the stitch you just worked back to your L needle. The following stitch on the left needle will be a knit stitch with a YO on top of it; pass that stitch and its YO over the stitch you just worked. Finally, slip your completed BRK3tog stitch from the L needle back to the R needle.

You’ve just knit together a knit stitch with a yarnover, a purl stitch, and another knit stitch with a yarnover, decreasing by a total of 2 stitches. The BRK3tog decrease leans to the right. For a left-leaning brioche decrease, try BRSSSK.

To work a BRSSSK, you’ll start having just slipped a purl stitch from L to R, with your working yarn in front of your knitting. Slip the next stitch (a knit stitch) and the YO on top of it knitwise from the L to R needle, then slip the next stitch (a purl stitch) from L to R knitwise.

BRK the next stitch on the L needle. Next, pass the slipped stitches (with their corresponding YO) from the R needle over the BRK stitch you just worked.

Again, you’ve just decreased by 2 stitches, but this time your decrease will lean to the left.

With brioche knitting in the round and these two decrease stitches, you have all the skills you need to make a Skipp hat. Knit in fluffy Loft yarn, the Skipp hat pattern is a great project for mastering brioche knitting on circular needles, and experimenting with stripes and two-color brioche stitch.