Monday, March 12, 2012

on mosaic knitting

Yesterday I finished a sweater !
It's this sweater, by the way. I've had it on my queue for two years (and had the yarn on stash for just as long), and I managed to knit it in just under a month. I have no finished photos yet, it still needs blocking and some buttons to be sewn, but I thought I'd give a small explanation on a very interesting technique I learned while doing this project.

It's called mosaic knitting. Now I've been knitting for a few years and had never heard about it till I started this sweater, so my guess is that it might not be exactly common knowledge.
Basically it's a very simple method of knitting colorwork. You work with two strands of different colors, but you only use one at each time, meaning you work one right side and one wrong side row in each color, alternating every two rows.

When I started the front of this sweater I had a hard time understanding this at first. The pattern itself doesn't explain it, and while trying to follow the chart that was provided I probably frogged those first couple of rows a dozen times till I decided to use mr. google and clarify this mystery.

So the technique itself is actually very simple, once you get the hang of it. Starting with color A, for example, you follow the chart by knitting all the stitches in that color, and slipping all the stitches - keeping the yarn in the back -  in the alternate color (color B). On the wrong side, you do the same: purl all the stitches that were knit and slip the ones that were slipped (which means that each slipped stitch is actually slipped twice) with the yarn in front. On the next right side row, you change to color B and work the next two rows just the same, following the chart.

This is how the reverse side looks like ...

And basically that's it. You don't have to fiddle with two different strands as you would in regular colorwork, and it is very quick to knit once you understand the rules. This herringbone pattern in particular was easy to memorize, which is very useful when you're doing shaping with several increases and decreases (which the original pattern didn't specify but I decided to add in).

More details on mosaic knitting here and here.


Nutsue said...

After reading your blog I'm looking foward to see your pullover completely finished!

tibby said...

You explain the technique wonderfully!!
I'm going to try right away to learn.

PlusOneFashionista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PlusOneFashionista said...

Houndstooth patterning is also done via slip-stitch method, with two colors. I am working on a sweater now that is off-white and navy. I completed a hat in off-white and brown and red and off-white. Love the design that gives you the biggest bang for the buck. I'll try your method next :)

PlusOneFashionista said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PlusOneFashionista said...

If you would, please explain the stitch patterning that you used for the Herringbone effect. I'd love to try this pattern for a hat. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Well, I'm going to give it a try. Did a very tight colour-work piece a la Zimmermann; obviously need more practice! But this looks pretty do-able.

Unknown said...

I really want to do this stitch (herringbone) as a cushion cover for my son's new home. I just can't seem to get to grips with the pattern.
Do you have a chart I could follow please?
thank you Susan