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Twist Collective Blog

Design Process: Why Mosaic?


by Barbara Gregory


Why do I design using the mosaic technique rather than stranded colorwork?

For me the main attraction of mosaic knitting is that is is easy and quick to work. I love the ease of zipping along the rows with a single strand of yarn, knitting and slipping the stitches. It makes this technique a good choice for knitters new to colorwork; usually the pattern requires slipping only one or two stitches at a time, so tension problems are minimized.



Some people think that mosaic knitting is slow because it seems that you work every row twice. My reply is that while the row gauge is somewhat compressed, it isn't double that of stranded knitting—you are making progress on those wrong-side rows. And all the rows are faster to work because many, sometimes 25% of the stitches, are slipped instead of being worked.

For knitters who are experienced enough to find stranded colorwork easy and quick to work, the benefits of mosaic knitting may not be evident. Here are some of the things I like about designing with mosaic knitting:

• can be easily worked flat or in the round

Perhaps influenced by my sewing background, I have a preference for knitted garments worked in flat pieces and seamed, often with a neatly fitting set-in sleeve. Mosaic knitting avoids the problem of having to read a color chart while working a wrong side row; instead the knitter reads the color of the stitches on the needle.

• can be worked in stockinette, garter stitch or some combination

I like having the ability to work all or some of the pattern in garter stitch. This is good for places where it is desirable to have pattern that won't curl, such as the yoke of the Mimico Vest and the sleeve and hip bands of Ormolu.







• works easily with intarsia

One of the things I find exciting about mosaic knitting is how easily and elegantly it combines with intarsia. As an example, consider the decoration that borders the neckline of Ormolu. The intarsia color-changes occur only on the contrast rows and the change of yarn always takes place behind the cover of a slipped stitch of the main color. And because the garment is worked in flat pieces (see above) no special “intarsia in the round” manoeuvres are needed.

• lighter than stranded fabric

Carrying a second strand of yarn as in fair isle or stranded colorwork results in a thicker fabric. While mosaic knitting does have short floats or strands every time stitches are slipped, no yarn is carried behind the stitches that are worked. The fabric is lighter and more flexible than that of stranded colorwork.

While I cheerfully admit that this technique has its limitations, I believe there is still plenty of unexplored territory within those limitations. I do knit and design with other techniques, but mosaic knitting remains a favorite.

The Wearing of the Green

Happy St Patrick's Day!


Some of our favorite reader knits, in the color of the day (all Ravelry links, thank you very much).

anNu's Cherry Fizz

Caroline's Ardent Jacket

jennp68's Vaila

Miss Barbara's Heroine

Blog Love: Advanced Style


I read a lot of style blogs, looking for ideas, and always, always wondering if I could every pull such things off. Mostly, I find that I can't because most style bloggers have an easy business making much of their young and slim subjects. And I am neither.


So I am especially gratified to discover and admire the men and women who Ari Seth Cohen befriends for the splendid purpose of his blog, Advanced Style (thanks for the tip, NYTimes). He includes his own band of regulars and contributions from near and abroad, candids and portraits alike, all in the name of demonstrating that personal style over a certain age (and a certain size) can be every bit as delicious as in the bloom of youth.



Got Thumbtacks?

Pin this one up in your locker, babies. I found my copy on the back page of Yarn Market News.


Need even more Franklin? (and who among us doesn't?) He revealed last week his medal design for the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, which you can enjoy emblazoned on the item of your choice from his Cafe Press Shop.  Franklin says the thong has been especially popular.


Grandma, What Big Needles you Have . . .

A little while ago, Rosann (rav name lingy) posted in a Ravelry forum a link to her engagement photos, which is something I see more of these days thanks to such bloggers as {frolic} and A Cup of Jo. Many couples aren't content with the usual studio portrait suitable for newspaper announcements: they put their individual touch to them, and can get quite creative.  I especially love Rosann's, and not just for the story, and how sweet her own personal wolf appears to be. 


Can you tell why I love these photos so?  (pssst, that's Mari Muinonen's Sylvi she knit for the occasion!) For a better view of the famous flowers on the back, check out the whole sequence on the Jerry Yoon website.  If you're wondering, the photographers are in San Fransisco, you lucky west coasters.