How to read those intriguing mosaic knitting charts? Well I am going to use this chart (by Barbara Walker, who coined the term Mosaic Knitting) as our working example. And I will be going step-by-step, very slowly. Once you get it, all the mosaic knitting charts will be a breeze.
But first, let us do a summary refresher on some Mosaic Knitting basics.
Summary: Mosaic Knitting Basics
- Mosaic Knitting is deal for repeatable, charted designs.
- Mosaic Knitting is generally worked in knit (not purl) stitches only and slip stitches.
- It produces a thicker fabric than just stockinette stitch but is still soft and drapable. Ideal for afghans as well as jumpers.
- It does not produce an identical, reversible fabric. But it does not have long floats on the back, which is good.
- No need to change colours mid-row.
- Always start off with one (foundation) row in the MC (Main Colour). This is usually not shown on the chart.
- Each charted row on the chart represents 2 rows of knit.
- All slip stitches are slipped purl-wise.
- The stranding yarn when making slip stitch should always be on the back of the work. That means that on the RS (right side), when making the slip stitch, the thread should be at the back. And on the WS (wrong side), when making the slip stitch, the thread should be at towards you.
- Generally worked with 2 colours; each colour worked over 2 rows at a time.
- When charting, generally chart the [number of stitches for the repeatable pattern] + 3
Reading Mosaic Knitting Charts
Note: You can use any colour but for convenience I will just refer to the 2 colours as Black and White.
Even tho it is usually not shown on the chart, we always start off with one foundation row. If the starting square is black, then the foundation row (R0) is in white.
R1 & all odd rows (RS) – read from right to left
R2 & all even rows (WS) – read from left to right (But really, you won’t need to read on even rows. As I will shortly explain)
A Sq-Row is a Row of Squares – representing 2 rows of work.
A sq-row is a Row of Squares. And each sq-row represents 2 rows (worked in one colour). (R1&2; R3&4; R5&6; etc.)
Identifying Which Colour per Sq-Row
The right-most square of each row of squares identifies the colour you will be working with.
Reading the Sq-Rows
Let’s start reading the chart. Starting at the bottom-right of the chart.
- Black Sq-Row:
R1: Whenever you see a black square, you knit.
When you see a white square, you slip stitch (purlwise).
- R2: Then on the next (even) row (still in black), you do exactly the same. You knit every black stitch and slip purlwise every white stitch on your needle.
- White Sq-Row:
R3: Whenever you see a white square, you knit.
When you see a black square, you slip stitch (purlwise).
- R4: Then on the next (even) row (still in white), you do exactly the same. You knit every white stitch and slip purlwise every black stitch on your needle.
Note: you will have noted I am sure that on all the even rows, you don’t need to refer to the chart at all. Just follow the colours already on your needle.
And that’s all there is to Reading Mosaic Knitting charts! One of the easiest way to do colour knitting. Thank you Barbara Walker!
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