If you have researched mosaic crochet on the internet, you may have noticed that there are in fact at least three different crochet techniques, all of which are frequently described as ‘mosaic crochet’.
This of course creates a bit of a problem in providing a definition of what mosaic crochet is, but the following hopefully explains what they all have in common:
Mosaic Crochet is a form of colourwork where the design is created without switching colours within a row / round.
You will have a base ‘fabric’ of dcs, and will work one or two rows in a single colour, before switching to another colour for the next one or two rows. The design is created by making long stitches (usually trs) into lower rows, thus covering some of the background stitches with a contrasting colour, and creating the illusion of a colour change within the previous row(s).
I have created a short tutorial which includes step-by-step photos and instructions for working the same simple chart in each of the following techniques, so you can see the differences between them, and the finished effect.
You can download free PDFs of the tutorial below [updated 28 February 2022 to include instructions for envelope border]:
Note: I have given each of the mosaic crochet techniques a different name, as having all so many different techniques with the same name is very confusing!
I would like to stress that these are not official names, merely my way to hopefully help you to differentiate between them.
I would also like to stress that this is by no means an exhaustive list, and if/when I become aware of different mosaic crochet techniques I will update this page / tutorials accordingly.
Inset Mosaic Crochet
Inset mosaic crochet involves leaving ch-sps in rows using the first colour, and these are filled in by “in-setting” longer stitches (usually trs) in the next RS row in a contrasting colour, leaving the ch-sps unworked behind.
Inset mosaic crochet is usually worked using 2 rows of each colour, turning your work at the end of each row, so the unused colour can be carried up the side of the work, hence minimising the number of ends needing to be woven in.
Overlay Mosaic Crochet
Overlay mosaic crochet is constructed from a base fabric of rows of back loop dcs, and the pattern is created by “over-laying” longer stitches (usually trs) into the unworked front loops of lower rows (usually 2 rows below).
Stitches are worked with the right side of your work always facing you, so if you are working in rows, yarn must be cut at the end of each row.
This of course results in a LOT of ends, but they don’t necessarily need to be woven in: for example try using an overlay mosaic pattern worked lengthwise to make a scarf – the ends can simply be trimmed to make a fringe at each end, or you can use an envelope, or double, border to encase the loose ends.
Jacquard Mosaic Crochet
Jacquard mosaic is a variation on overlay mosaic crochet that I developed specifically to be worked in a single colour, turning at the end of each row, so there are no loose ends to deal with.
Spike Mosaic Crochet
In this form of mosaic crochet both sides will look virtually identical, so it is ideal for items such as scarves or blankets, where both sides are likely to be seen.
As with inset mosaic, this is usually worked using 2 rows of each colour, so the unused yarn can be carried up the side of the work, but in this technique the base fabric is rows of simple dcs, and the pattern is created by working longer sts (usually trs) into lower rows, working over the rows in between to create a spike effect.
If you like mosaic crochet, and want to find out more, and share photos, hints and tips with other like-minded crocheters, please join us on facebook, in the group 'Mosaic Crochet World'