Ombre Brioche Pillow Pattern & Creative Process

I freaking love these pillows. They honestly might be my favorite thing I've ever made. The marriage of the stitch pattern, yarn, & function is just so spot on & they are the coziest, loveliest addition to any room.

I love all of Brooklyn Tweed's yarn, but I especially love Arbor. It's incredibly lofty & springy, & the color palette (based heavily on major artists, I might add) is exceptional. They have an impressive array of very chromatic neutrals, which was perfect for this project as it was again for my sister, who, as you can see from the Erin Crop Top, is a big fan of neutrals (pattern found here, finished goods found here).

Erin recently moved cross country, & in addition to her graduation present being a specially designed top, her birthday present was a set of pillows for her new apartment (I know, she gets spoiled with knitwear). I was able to design these pillows while on our family vacation in Banff, Canada, which meant that she could approve every step along the way.

Step one was sitting with the yarn & figuring out what the heck it wanted to be. I debated on using all six of these shades in one pillow, but decided that splitting them in half would be better (& would also give her two pillows instead of one). I was hesitant to start swatching, because I just really liked carrying around these pretty yarns & I honestly didn't want to un-skein them! I could truly hang these on my wall & use them as art, they're so dang gorgeous.

I knew that she wanted brioche stitch incorporated into the design, as we had seen a beautiful brioche hat knit up at Stitch Together Studio (a lovely yarn store in Marion, IA - close to my family home) that she loved. After I (kind of) got over my attachment to the aesthetically pleasing twisted skeins, I wound them into balls & started swatching.

I did some syncopated brioche first (which can be found in the design of the Everyday Infinity Cowl), but Erin & I agreed that it wasn't as fluid as we wanted it to be. Instead, we went with a version of the swatch you can see above: simple 2 color brioche with cleverly altering knit & purl colors to create a fade.

I tried to explain the difference in the knit & purl stitches to Erin, but she told me to speak to her like she was stupid since she had no idea what I meant. So, I'll do the same thing I did to her for all you non-knitters reading this: there's a stitch that pushes up & is elevated (that looks like a "V") & a stitch that pushes down & is a bit hidden. Starting the color change first with the pushed down stitch & then with the pushed up stitch allows for a more gradual fade.

After completing the swatch, it was pretty much all smooth sailing. Like I said, this yarn is a dream - it basically flew off my needles. Brioche is also an incredibly satisfying stitch pattern, & if you're a knitter who hasn't tried it yet this is a great pattern to start with! There are no increases or decreases, just color changes as simple as adding a new color to create a striped scarf.

And the color options are endless! Erin's pillows are neutrals, of course, but I created one in a fade of blues to navy (available for purchase here) & I'm dreaming of knitting up a yellow fade as well. Arbor has a lovely palette but the shades are not variegated, & I'd love to see this project knit up in some variegated ombres, perhaps using Madelinetosh DK Twist or Quince & Co Phoebe.

The samples that I made all have sewn backs, but if you don't want to deal with sewing fabric to knits (it's a little weird at first) or don't have a sewing machine, the pattern also includes an option to knit the piece in the round & have an entirely knit pillow.

This pattern is made to fit a 12"x18" pillow insert (perfect for resting behind your neck while sitting on the couch, I've found) & is available for purchase here and on Etsy & Ravelry. As I mentioned earlier, there is also a completed blue pillow available for purchase on Etsy.

Enjoy a few more beauty shots of the pillows below, featuring Jeni(of the Jeni Cami)'s unbelievably beautiful dog, Louise.