My husband deftly caught the hint I dropped, and got me a new knitting book for Christmas: Knitting Brioche, The Essential Guide to Brioche Stitch. I have been wanting this book for a while, and was so pleased to get it! I have looked over Brioche Stitch patterns before, but haven't really played around with the technique. So, as soon as things settled down after New Year's, I picked up needles and yarn, and began knitting a two-color brioche stitch scarf. I like this technique: it creates a thick, cushy, warm, reversible scarf, with mostly Color A on one side, and mostly Color B on the other.
Brioche Stitch is knitted in a rather unorthodox way, compared to most knitting. Yarnovers are combined with decreases on every other stitch across each row, and the rest of the stitches are slipped. On any row, one only works half the stitches, and the remaining stitches are worked on the next row (if you have knitted a double-knitted tube on two straight needles, it's kind of like that).
This technique goes more slowly than standard knitting, and it also uses more yarn; but it produces a special fabric. I particularly like the effect when using one solid yarn and one variegated yarn, as in this scarf.
I was very impressed with the thoroughness of Nancy Marchant's book. She gives detailed, photo-illustrated instructions for the basic brioche technique, including cast-ons and bind-offs that work well with the method, increases and decreases, crossing stitches for cabled effects, and a separate section on working with more than one color in brioche. Then the fun begins: A wonderful Stitchionary (55 pages!), showing all kinds of brioche effects. The book also includes a chapter on the design elements of brioche knitting, and 25 projects to make using brioche techniques.
The technique takes some practice to perfect, but I learned fairly quickly how to do the basic technique. I'm looking forward to trying some of the more complex stitch patterns in the book!