How to Read Mosaic Knitting Charts

Mosaic knitting is a colorwork technique using only 1 color at a time. The charts for mosaic knitting are just a little bit different from other colorwork charts. Learn how to read mosaic knitting charts in this video tutorial!

How to read mosaic knitting charts

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What is Mosaic Knitting?

Mosaic knitting is sometimes also called slip stitch knitting. Using the magic of slipped stitches, you can knit each row using only one color at a time. You just slip the stitches that should not be in the color you are currently using.

stairstep mosaic texture

You can do mosaic knitting with more than 2 colors, but for this tutorial, we’ll use a 2-color pattern.

Colorwork Charts

For most colorwork techniques, charted patterns are more compact and simpler to read than written instructions. Different colored squares on the chart show you which color you should use for that stitch.

How are Mosaic Knitting Charts Different?

Pairs of Rows

We are only working with 1 color at a time, and carrying the unused color up the side of our work. For a flat piece, we need to knit 2 rows (a right side and a wrong side row) in each color, in order to get back to the starting edge and pick up the next color.

If you’re knitting in stockinette, the wrong side stitches will be purls, and if you’re knitting in garter, the wrong side stitches will be knits. As far as colors go though, the right side and wrong side row of any particular pair will be exactly the same. On many mosaic charts, including the ones we are looking at, each line represents 2 rows instead of 1.

Row Color

Each pair of rows is knit in 1 color, the other color is not used for that row. For a clean edge, the first stitch of each row is usually worked in the color of that row. That means you know which color to use by seeing which color is the first stitch on that row of the chart. For 2-color knitting, they will usually alternate (though they don’t strictly have to).

Chart showing right and wrong side rows

Slipped Stitches

As you go across each row on the chart, you will see stitches in a different color than the one you are using. If the pattern is written correctly, each should be the same color as the stitch below it. To carry that color up into your current row, you slip that stitch. Sometimes the charts will indicate the slip, and sometimes they will just assume you know to slip it.

How to Read Mosaic Knitting Charts

  • Determine if the chart shows 1 row per line or 2 rows per line. You can tell this from the line numbers.
  • Determine if you should knit the wrong side rows or purl them. This should be specified in the pattern.
  • Determine the color of the pair of rows. This will usually be the same as the color of the first stitch. Pick up that color and start to knit.
  • For each stitch, if the color on the chart matches the color you are using, knit it. If it does not match, slip it.
  • On the wrong side row, knit or purl each of the knit stitches, and slip each of the slipped stitches.
  • Pick up the other color, and repeat the process for the next pair of rows.

Mosaic Sampler Blanket Mystery Knit Along

Knit along as we make a blanket in 6 sections! Each section will be a different mosaic knitting pattern in two colors. Join in the fun and enter the giveaway too!

Mosaic Sampler Blanket MKAL on Stitches n Scraps

How to Read Mosaic Knitting Charts – Video Tutorial

Watch This Video on YouTube

How to read mosaic knitting charts

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  • Sylvie

    I like your tutorial and helps me a lot.
    Could we made a mosaic knit pattern with a image like colouring book or same image in your video in double knitting (clover)?
    …and how we made please?

    Have a nice day

      • Scott Schneider

        If I have a mosaic pattern, and want to double-knit it instead .. (mosaic would use a single row of pattern, but you go over and then back, using the mosiac rules, with the same color – then switch colors, and repeat) .. from your comment to Sylvie .. I would look at the mosaic line – double knit it across (using the DK rules), coming back, I would “invert” my colors (as per the DK rules). So both techniques would use a single row of b/w pattern, and “knit that row twice” (according to the appropriate rules)?? [I did a great deal of searching – this is the first clue I had on how to do this, so thanks in advance!]

      • Scott Schneider

        Hmm .. I was a little off in my previous comment .. in looking at a scarf pattern I used for DoubleKnit – the DK patterns have consecutive rows that are DIFFERENT (but you do invert the colors) – say Odd rows = A color=K and Bcolor = P – even rows would be a *different* part of the pattern, and then also switch the colors. But, Mosiac patterns have one row showing that has to be done twice .. so I would use that same row [going back the other way] as my “second” DK row, with the reversed colors … right?

        • Pia Thadani

          with DK, you don’t have to go back over the row twice! Think of it this way…

          with mosaic, you knit all the sts of one color first (slipping the others), then knit those slipped sts in the other color – so the combination of the 2 rows actually works each st once.

          with DK, you are working all the sts in one pass, with the appropriate color, so you do NOT need to knit the row twice. The difference is each square on the chart would be 2 sts – one of each color, one for the front layer of fabric and one for the back layer. Did you see the double knitting tutorial I linked in the earlier comment? It shows exactly how to work DK with this kind of a chart 🙂

          • Scott Schneider

            Ah, *perfect*!!! (I did see that link, but didn’t pay attention to the fact that the answer was right there!!) – I worried that “my solution” would stretch it vertically {it would!}. Many thanks! I’m usually swatch-allergic, but this time I’ll try one (to remind myself how to do the DK {did 3 scarfs, but awhile back – did the Star Wars scarf!} – and to make sure the mosaic-turned-to-DK result looks good enough to continue. Thanks so much!

  • Pat

    Pia, Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! Your video explanation of how to read a knit mosaic chart saved me from ditching my project mid stream. You cleared up my confusion totally concerning the pattern repeat and got me back on track. You were my port in a storm! Thanks! Pat

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