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:
- A knitted brioche was a decorative pillow meant for the parlor.
- Patterns for these pillows were popular in knitting magazines between 1840 and 1875.
- 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):
And Mrs Gaugain’s The Lady’s Assistant in Knitting, Netting and Crochet Work (1842):
“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)