Easy Colorwork Technique: Mosaic Knitting

As editor of Knitscene, I like to try to introduce readers to new techniques—or maybe to reintroduce more experienced knitters to techniques they’ve put out of mind for the moment. Sometimes this means I get to learn along with the readers. In Knitscene Winter 2014, we included a small section on mosaic knitting, which I’ve never done before. I’m a huge fan of stranded colorwork, but mosaic knitting never really came onto my radar until I received a submission from Ann McDonald Kelly using this easy colorwork knitting technique.

I immediately fell in love with Ann’s use of a bold color motif to add interest to an otherwise simple scarf pattern. I thought “this is really cool, but doesn’t really fit in with what I have for Fall, so maybe I’ll build a story around it for Winter!”

Ann not only worked up the Neon Mosaic Scarf she submitted, as well as the Tessellating Leaves Stole (more on that later), she also wrote an excellent article breaking down mosaic knitting in a way I think anyone can understand. The trickiest part of mosaic knitting can be the charts—some people show each line of a chart, while others condense two lines into one, because each line is essentially the same. Ann explains the difference in charts and how to work them in her article in Knitscene Winter 2014.

If you want to ease into mosaic knitting a bit, try working Katya Frankel’s Ravenna Cowl. Katya used slipped stitches in a similar effect to get the waves of color. And Kathleen Sperling worked mosaic knitting in garter stitch for her Otranto Cowl.

In January 2014, I hosted a Tessellating Leaves Stole knitalong. Whether you’re a master of mosaic knitting or knitting your first colorwork project, you’ll have a great time working this colorwork technique.

Tessellating Leaves Scarf

Tessellating Leaves Scarf

You can also download Joanna Johnson’s excellent Mosaic Knitting Basics video. Joanna’s a frequent contributor to Interweave magazines as well as a wonderful knitting teacher, and I learned so much just from watching this video. Joanna walks us through the basics of mosaic knitting—if you can knit stripes, you can work mosaic colorwork—and talks about how to choose colors for mosaic projects. Included in the download is the pattern for her adorable Freddie’s Blanket, a plaid-like project suitable for beginners.

—Amy Palmer

Posted October 24, 2014. Updated February 25, 2019.

Start knitting colorwork today!


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