Hurricane Knitting, Mosaic Swatches

Mosaic knitting book

It’s been a few weeks now since we had Hurricane Ian to deal with. Knitting was what helped me keep my sanity while the power was out for four days (read more about that at the end of this page). I decided to learn mosaic knitting and knit three pattern swatches from my new (used) book “Mosaic Knitting” (link is down the page).

I’ve done mosaic knitting before, but I had totally forgotten how. It is a fun, and very easy, way to create colorwork patterns. I used some pretty wool (the red and gray swatch) and cotton for the others.

Often knitters will choose mosaic as the simple way to make colorwork patterns. This is not why I am learning it.

I love to knit stranded colorwork, or Fair Isle, and I enjoy using two colors to knit. I have made many patterns doing just that (mitts, mittens, hats, socks, pullovers). But, if I want colorwork on a cardigan, or anything that is knit flat, and not in the round, Fair Isle must be steeked and I don’t do steeking – yet. I’m thinking that mosaic is the way to go. I plan to knit a cardigan and incorporate mosaic colors.

How to Knit Mosaic Designs – Stockinette

Even beginner knitters can do mosaic. Only one color yarn is used at a time. All you need to know is how to knit, purl, and slip stitches. It’s super easy.

Find two colors of yarn to work with. One color will be represented by the dark blocks in the pattern and the other will be the light. The way these designs (the red and the blue) were knit began with doing a purl row after casting on. This puts you on the RS (right side) of the fabric.

Begin to knit, following the chart, right to left, across. You go right to left because that is how you knit. All knitting is done that way, unless you are left-handed I suppose.

The color used to knit each row will alternate. When you get to the end of the row, the same color will be used to go back to the beginning. Then, change colors for the next row.

For each row – use the color needed. If you are on a MC (main color) row – knit the black MC blocks, and slip the white CC blocks. Slipping is done purl wise. The yarn thread is always on the backside of the work. While you are knitting, on the front, the yarn is naturally behind the work and will remain there.

Mosaic knitting is one-sided with a definite wrong side.

Once the end of the row is reached, the back of that row is worked. Each knit stitch – color you are using – will be purled, and each CC stitch will be slipped (no following the chart, just do that!) – the yarn stays in front because you are working the WS (wrong side). Back to the beginning of the row.

Begin again with the other yarn color and keep alternating. Knit the white (CC) stitches and slip the MC stitches. This time you will purl the CC and slip the MC stitches on the back, or wrong side.

Mosaic Knitting Videos

Watching good YouTube videos can be very helpful. Here are a couple I found.

This video will help with the ability to read a mosaic knitting chart. She is knitting round and round, and not flat, like my swatches, so there is no mention of what to do on the wrong side of the work.

Suzanne Bryan has a good video showing how to knit garter stitch mosaic. This means you will knit all the stitches – no purling. But the yarn must be moved to the WS when doing the backside stitches.

My swatch below was knit in garter stitch. It’s bumpier and I really didn’t like the end result as much. Also, every time you slip stitches on the wrong side the yarn has to be moved to the front, and then back again to knit.

mosaic knitting swatch
Knitting stitches on the wrong side (as opposed to purling) creates a bumpy pattern.

Stockinette mosaic is flatter, and my other two swatches were done that way. Purling is done on the wrong side rows. The yarn doesn’t have to be moved back and forth, and I like the look better.

A Book For Mosaic Knitting

The Mosaic Knitting book (Amazon link), by Barbara Walker, is stuffed full of various mosaic patterns. Many pages are dedicated to explaining – very clearly – how to knit this way. I purchased a used copy and spent $21.00.

If you want to try this type of knitting for free, see this page, where I did my first mosaic knitting swatch found on a blog post. When you see how easy it is, and are hooked, then buy the book.

All images and charts are in black and white except for the cover images. I think the book could have been improved slightly by including color when showing finished work. Black and white is perfectly fine for the charts. Charts are what you will use to knit – not written directions – except for the beginning chapter where she will guide you through understanding chart knitting.

I don’t need to say more, because if you buy the book, it will all be explained in detail. You will also have access to many, many charts to use for swatching (my cotton swatches become dishcloths) and garments.

Mosaic knitting book

Hurricane Ian in a Nutshell

This is the reason I decided to do mosaic knitting. It was a good time to learn something new as I had many boring, grid-down, hours and days to get through.

On September 28th Hurricane Ian arrived on the east coast of Florida. It had left devastation along the western, gulf coast and now wreaked havoc on central and east Florida.

We got wind, but nothing like when it first made landfall on the opposite side of the state. Our gusts were around 70-90mph (we heard). The rain was tremendous, and although Florida is a huge sponge, it is also flat. This area got nearly two feet of rain within 24 hours!! That is a lot of water.

Our yard is small and cleanup was quick. Mostly we had fronds from the palm tree out front and some branches from the oaks, but nothing big. We will need a new roof, because we lost a bunch of shingles, but we were lucky because the house did not flood.

We have a generator and ran it for the four days while we were without power. It kept our fridge going so we didn’t loose food. We cooked on a single electric burner. Once the internet went out there was no connection to news or anything and it got super boring! I’m glad to have a knitting hobby for times like these.

I know many people are still dealing with the devastation from wind and flooding. Flooding was the biggest issue in my area on the central east coast of Florida, and the debris piled along the roads gives an idea of the ongoing troubles.

Please keep reading the blog

See what I am knitting, and read my pattern reviews.


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One thought on “Hurricane Knitting, Mosaic Swatches

  1. Pingback: Knitting in the Florida Heat – New England's Narrow Road

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