What Is Mosaic Knitting? An Introduction to Color-Knitting’s Best Kept Secret

Welsh Blanket Boomerang by Susan Ashcroft

Mosaic Knitting – Color-Knitting’s Best-Kept Secret

What is mosaic knitting, you ask? I don’t blame you for wondering. Mosaic knitting is a little-known yet wonderful and easy way of knitting with two colors.

Mosaic knitting is so easy that anyone can do it. That's because you never have to knit with two colors at once, which makes it perfect for beginners (or anyone who has not yet tried color-knitting).

Mosaic 2
A beginner mosaic pattern

Speaking of not trying color-knitting, most knitters wait far too long to make the attempt, thinking that it’s hard. But even if you think you're ready for color knitting, it's hard to know where to you jump in and start. The answer, as you might have guessed, is mosaic knitting.

Slipping Stitches Makes the Color Design

Mosaic 1
Like all mosaic knitting, this swatch uses only 1 color at a time

If you can knit and purl, you can do mosaic knitting.

I’ll show you how to do basic mosaic knitting in my next blog post.

For now, just know that the only other technique you need to know besides knitting and purling is super-easy: slipping stitches.

How to Slip a Stitch in Knitting

How to Slip a Stitch in Knitting – Sl 1

Instructions: To slip a stitch, abbreviated “Sl 1,” insert the right-hand needle into the stitch as if to purl (with needles tip-to-tip), and slide the stitch from the left-hand needle to the right needle without knitting or purling it.

Animated demo of how to slip a stitch in knitting
How to Slip a Stitch in Knitting

It’s absolutely this easy. And now that you can knit, purl, and slip a stitch from one needle to the other, you're ready to see why it's worth learning mosaic knitting.

What Can You Make With Mosaic Knitting?

Welsh Blanket Boomerang by Unitwo
Mosaic knitting makes playing with color easy

Why would you learn mosaic knitting, you might wonder? What if you are not a beginner – is it still a good choice? And can you truly knit anything cool with it?

After delving deeply into all aspects of mosaic knitting over the past months, I can tell you that the answer is Yes!

Mosaic Knitting Patterns for Beginners

The cool thing about mosaic knitting is there's something for everyone. If you’re a beginner, you can start out and, with very little practice, knit cool stuff like the dishcloth below or this trio of dishcloths.

Ballband mosaic dishcloth by Nokkis
An Easy 6-Row Mosaic Pattern: Ballband Dish Cloth

See the textured, almost "woven" look? It's not a must for mosaic knitting, but there’s not really any way to get this same textured effect without mosaic knitting.

Textured fabrics and geometric patterns are where mosaic knitting truly shines.

A zigzag striped pillow with a self-striping yarn
Stripes Brigade Easy Mosaic Throw Pillow Pattern

Even as a beginner you’ll also be able to knit my own Stripes Brigade mosaic throw pillow pattern (above), included in my upcoming Fantastic Mosaics video ebook (more on that below).

Mosaic Projects for Intermediate and Advanced Knitters

If you’re an intermediate knitter, you can make color-knit fingerless mitts, hats, blankets, and triangular shawls without having to read charts or do Fair-Isle knitting or Intarsia.

Mosaic Fingerless Mitts
"Prickly" by Melissa J. Goodale – Easy mosaic plus Knitting in the Round

If you’re an advanced knitter or you’ve done Fair-Isle knitting before, knitting from Mosaic Charts will be a new kind of challenge for you. Once you learn it, you can knit sweaters, socks, shawls, and blankets with this technique – all without having to hold and manage multiple strands of yarn at once..

Dovetail Shawl by Judy Marples
Mosaic charts + self-striping yarn = gorgeousness

All it takes is learning how to think about charts in a new way – mosaic charts don’t show you the color you’re to knit with, but whether or not to slip a stitch.

Experienced knitters will enjoy studying mosaic knitting in-depth and getting to the core of how mosaic charts work (and how they make you a total charts ninja when you're done!).

Fun Projects You Can Knit With The Mosaic Knitting Technique – Beginner to Advanced

Mosaic Knitting - Patterns to Try

Cick to follow my Mosaic Knitting pinboard on Pinterest

From top, counter-clockwise:

  1. Sprocket Baby Blanket – a flat charted design
  2. Ballband Dishcloth – a beginner dishcloth pattern (no chart)
  3. Mosaic Socks – a simple charted pattern in the round
  4. Interpolate Shawl – a charted shawl that you can get a kit for on Etsy

Can you believe all these projects were knitted with just one yarn at a time? It’s hard to imagine it, but that’s the beauty of mosaic knitting.

I give you lots more suggestions for mosaic patterns for practice in my upcoming mosaic knitting video class, Fantastic Mosaics (see below).

It’s Ok If You've Never Heard of Mosaic Knitting – Neither Had I!

For some reason, mosaic knitting is a little-known style of color knitting. Even many experienced knitters have never tried it.

I first tried a mosaic knitting pattern when my roommates and I embarked on an adventurous mosaic-knit Christmas stocking spree inspired by the Family of Funky Stockings from Handknit Holidays one winter.

I only wish I had known then what I know now from putting together this video class, especially about tension and choosing yarn!

ill-fated mosaic Christmas stocking spreeIf you look at my picture, you’ll see that I did not do a good job choosing the contrasting color. The problem is that it exactly matches one of the colors in the self-striping yarn – a big no-no because you can't see the pattern. You can’t tell from here, but my tension was not great, either. Luckily, you’ll get to learn from my mistakes!

My ambitious first attempt aside, I’m convinced that mosaic knitting is the perfect way to introduce new knitters to color-knitting.

In my next blog post, I’ll give you an easy pattern with which to try out mosaic knitting, plus a video and photo tutorial from the course so you can get a taste of that, too.

Coming Soon: Fantastic Mosaics –
KnitFreedom's New Mosaic Knitting Video Class

Intrigued? You'll be learning all this and more in my upcoming video class, Fantastic Mosaics, coming March 28th.

The cover of KnitFreedom's mosaic knitting video ebook

Stay tuned (and be sure you're signed up for the newsletter) because not only will you get an email when this new course is available, you'll learn how to join the giveaway for a free copy plus more prizes (and one-on-one time with me!).

Leave a Comment

What is your experience with Mosaic Knitting? Have you ever heard of it? Done it? Have a project you’d like to try? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.


Related Course: Mosaic Knitting

Mosaic knitting is a color-knitting technique that’s perfect for beginners. It requires just knit and purl in order to make stunning one-, two-, or many-color designs.

In this short and easy video guide, I walk you through how to create beautiful color knitting projects without learning harder techniques like Fair-Isle knitting.

51 thoughts on “What Is Mosaic Knitting? An Introduction to Color-Knitting’s Best Kept Secret”

  1. I have learned so much from you especially about trying new things. I am 71 and started knitting again a few years ago. Been trying my hand at Fair Isle and Intarsia. Fun but requires great concentration.
    Have heard of mosaic knitting but had in mind Mosaic tiles.Lots of pieces to put together. This sounds exciting. I’m looking forward to it. LOL I am staying with my 96 year old mother. I can hear her already. What do you need another course for? You still haven’t finished my socks. Love ya!

  2. I have been knitting for nearly 7 years. I finally tried stranded knitting this year before Christmas, made hats for each grandchild, which turned out quite well, for a noob. I am inspired by your blog on these other variations on color knitting. Mosai and slip-stitch, here I come! Thank you, Liat!

  3. Hello Liat!
    I’ve tried 2-colour knitting before with dubious and in 2 cases very laughable results. My knitting kept getting narrower and narrower … truly humorous, if it weren’t for the fact I bought the yarn and pattern as a kit. 14 colours, 9 pattern blocks, and not one ended up being a block! Can you say trapezoid? Perhaps parallelogram? I knew you could.
    You’ve helped me overcome and rise above some bad knitting habits in the past, so with your help I’ll give mosaic knitting my best efforts again … maybe even complete my kit!

    1. Hi Steve! You’ve got me laughing and smiling over here to think of your “blocks” project, because it reminds me of my first Fair-Isle project.

      I was knitting a Fair-Isle mitten and didn’t realize I was pulling the yarn too tight. The stitches were so tight that kept going down a needle size to be able to fit the needles into them. By the time I finished the mitten the bottom was the size of an adult mitten and the tip would fit a child! No amount of blocking could rescue it.

      Will you post a link to the kit and pattern you are talking about? I’d love to see it. And in any case, I know that together we can help you overcome your two-color curse… ;)

      1. Steve, I can laugh wholeheartedly with you. Have just finished a pair of socks for my self and was concentrating very hard on maintaining tension and even stitches. I congratulated myself on how well they looked. the foot was fine. The heel and leg were a masterpiece of even stitches. THEN I tried to put them on. That’s right tried. The beautiful heel would not go over mine. I could not get them on.,.Good thing to have a sense of humor.

  4. New to color knitting and have always been intimidated by Fair Isle. Am so excited to learn Mosaic Knitting to take my knitting to the next level.
    Thank you for making learning how to knit a fun and easy!

  5. I adore mosaic knitting! I’ve done it for probably 25 years. Love the pattern development ease and how subtle or bold doesn’t matter, the results are beautiful! I’ve always used handspun, and love the unpredictability of the colour shifts. So glad Barbara’s work is once again coming to the fore!!

  6. Liat, I am incredibly excited to try mosaic knitting. Your blog and videos have helped and improved my knitting abilities so much.
    As Minneta mentioned her inability to read charts, I too have been unable to figure them out. Looking forward to the chart reading video as well. Thank you!

  7. Glad to see you doing this. I have tried slip stitch knitting, now with a fancier name and liked it. However, my brain does not wrap around reading the charts well and look forward to your clear teaching on this aspect of the technique.

    1. Hi there,

      I know what you mean about the charts. I hope you like the video I have prepared for you on mosaic charts – it’s very thorough!

      I’m excited because I put picture-in-picture images of the chart itself and the pieces that I’m referring to next to my hands in the video as I’m knitting, so you’ll easily be able to follow along with what I’m doing.

  8. I’m hoping that I will be able to reproduce Blackwork stitches using the Mosaic Knitting technique, once I learn it. It looks perfect for Blackwork. I am SO in love with geometric patterns! Thank you once again for providing a fascinating learning tool and technique for us lovely knitters.

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