If you’ve ever wanted to knit colorwork designs, but find the idea of stranded colorwork intimidating because of handling more than one yarn at once, then mosaic knitting might be for you: each row is worked while holding only one yarn. (Stranded knitting is not actually as hard as it looks either, in my opinion, but it’s not as easy as mosaic.)
The key to mosaic knitting is the slip stitch. Mosaic knitting essentially involves knitting two row stripes in alternating colors. You can be knitting along in one color, but when you need a contrasting color, you slip a stitch instead of knitting it. Because the previous row was a different color, it looks as if you knit that stitch in the contrasting color. In other words, you only need to hold one strand of yarn at a time while knitting, and yet it looks as if there are two colors in that row.
I’m going to demonstrate how this works with photos and words in this post; I’m also going to explain how to read the specific kind of mosaic knitting charts I like to use.
I get occasional questions about how I knit my stitch pattern swatches, and since I’ve finally settled down into something consistent, I thought I’d write up my full process.
The first thing to know is that there are actually several categories of swatches in the world. The swatches I’m going to write about in this post are not my rough draft design swatches (here’s an old, somewhat out of date post), where I figure out what the heck I’m doing, make changes as I go, and learn from a variety of mistakes. They are also not the kind of swatches that are used to help work out a full-size design. And they are definitely not gauge swatches.
These are finished objects, the swatches I knit to photograph for my stitch pattern posts. The example I’m using here is a traditional mesh patter, Star Rib Mesh. I found it in the first of Barbara Walker’s treasuries.
A while back I wrote about some ways of working double YOs on the next row. I still mostly use the standard method, working (k1, p1) in the double YO. Then Denise Plourde wrote on the Stitch Maps Ravelry group about a new method she’d come up with. Here is a description that doesn’t require a login. I find it quite beautiful. Apparently it got me thinking, because a few days after reading about that, I came up with a different way entirely.
All of these methods are ways to cope with one problem: it is impossible to knit (or purl) the two consecutive loops in a double yarnover; the structure of the stitch does not allow it. Try it: the result is a single knit stitch with two wraps around the needle, what’s called an elongated stitch.
I will probably continue using the (k1, p1) method in my swatches and charts as it is straightforward, people are used to it, and I don’t mind how it looks.
Follow this link for eight double YOs, each worked differently.
It occurs to me that it might be helpful (for other designers at least) to explain how I use my chart software to make mosaic knitting charts. For one thing, while there is a mosaic knitting format built into StitchMastery, it isn’t the one I personally prefer, so I do some extra editing to make my charts in the Barbara Walker format.
This is not a post about how to design mosaic knitting stitches; it is a post about how to produce a particular kind of chart format in the StitchMastery software. I don’t know enough about other knitting chart software to know how the methods translate.
I also use vector graphics art software for some of the final editing on these charts. Some major examples of this kind of software include Adobe Illustrator (subscription software), Inkscape (free and open source), Affinity Designer (this is what I use on our desktop computer). I usually prefer using Graphic for iOS. (They also have a version for MacOS which I have not tried.)
Last week I shared the beginning of my experiment in joining motifs with Russian grafting. My conclusion? That after steam blocking, it looks a hundred times better than I was afraid it would, but that I’m still not entirely certain that I would actually use it for a finished object, at least as I’ve done it here.
Regardless, I consider the experiment a success, because now I know what things look like. I have learned something, and that’s to be desired.
More details below.
Christine Guest recently made an interesting post about joining knitted motifs, and it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to try using Russian grafting to join motifs together.
This is just a preliminary experiment; I’m not sure yet that what I’m doing would work particularly well. Someone else might have already worked out a better way to do it – if you know of such, please link in comments!
See this post for my final conclusion!
I have a long-term project in the works that will involve a range of stitch maneuvers beyond decreases and increases. As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about names for categories of stitches. This is not helped by the different names given to these categories by different knitting authorities. It’s even worse when you realize that different people use the same word for different maneuvers!
You might think you know what is meant in knitting by a twist, a cross stitch, a cluster, a wrap, or a knot, but I have seen each of these words used to refer to multiple techniques. It’s enough to make me mutter about the utility of controlled vocabulary. But never mind, I can’t make other people be consistent. I can only settle on a list of what I want to call these categories of methods for my project.
I was having a conversation with a knitter in my Ravelry group about the difficulty of figuring out where to place beads symmetrically when all the stitches come in pairs. That is, there’s a lot of pairs of knit stitches, or a lot of double yarnovers. That conversation led to some experimentation on my part based on her ideas, my thoughts about them, and on my knitting reference books.
Periodically I like to try out techniques I haven’t used before and experiment with them. When I write about this, I call the posts my études, because they’re somewhat like the exercises musicians do for practicing.
I was browsing through my copy of Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury when my eye lit upon the Tunnel Eyelet stitch. I hadn’t really noticed it before, and when I read the instructions I was a little confused about how it worked. With many knitting instructions, I understand them better if I try them, so I did just that.