If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to knit with two colors, mosaic knitting is a great technique to try first.
Haven’t heard of mosaic knitting? Well, you wouldn’t be the first. Of all the forms of colorwork knitting, mosaic knitting may be the least well-known.
This fact puzzles me as it is the easiest knitting technique to use when you want to knit with multiple colors. But don’t worry. I’m going to explain what mosaic knitting is, how to do it,along with its benefits and drawbacks. I’ll also provide links to projects you can get started on now. So let’s get to it.
Origins of Mosaic Knitting
It may surprise you but this knitting technique has been around for less than 60 years. Invented by Barbara G. Walker in the 1960s, this method involves slipping stitches in your knitting. And while slipped stitches weren’t a new thing, they hadn’t been used before for color knitting.
Is Mosaic Knitting Hard?
What makes mosaic knitting so appealing is its simplicity. If you can knit and purl, if you can slip a stitch, then you can learn this technique. It’s that easy.
Let’s talk about how it is done.
What is Mosaic Knitting?
Mosaic knitting uses multiple colors to create geometric shapes by slipping stitches. You'll use two contrasting colors, sometimes more, to create this clever effect.
The difference between other color knitting techniques is that you work with a single color for two rows or rounds before switching to another. This makes color knitting so much fun for knitters who want to explore colorwork the easy way.
In slip stitch knitting, there’s no fiddling with how to hold two colors at one time. There’s no fussing with how to change colors when knitting or how to switch between the two . Also, you won't have to worry about trapping floats. It’s just slipped stitches and knitting or purling.
That’s what makes this technique great for knitting beginners. The only other technique you’ll need to know is how to slip stitch.
How to Slip a Stitch
If you can purl a stitch, you can slip a stitch. It’s that easy.
To slip a stitch in knitting is simple. First, you insert your right needle into the next stitch on your left needle as if to purl. Next, you transfer that stitch to the right needle without working it. Then you continue working your pattern.
That’s it. You’ll repeat this as many times as your pattern calls for.
There are several ways you may find slip stitch abbreviated in patterns. The box below lists the ones used on mosaic knitting.
Benefits of Mosaic Knitting
- Compared to other colorwork techniques, it is the easiest to do.
- You can knit flat or in the round.
- You work with only one color per row or round.
- Requires two contrasting colors, but you can work with more.
- It has fewer floats than Fair Isle knitting.
- You don’t have to worry about catching your floats.
- The fabric it produces is not as dense as other stranded knitting projects.
- Uses less yarn than other colorwork techniques.
Drawbacks of Mosaic Knitting
- Using slipped stitches requires more attention to tension. The slipped stitches will need to stretch out as you continue to work the pattern.
- The pattern cannot have unlimited slipped stitches between worked stitches. The yarn will become stretched and the pattern will distort.
- You may have to adjust your gauge and needle size to prevent puckering.
- Your finished product will require a good blocking to smooth out the stitches.
Ready to try your hand at mosaic knitting? These free slip stitch knitting patterns will get you started.