Mosaic crochet is a surprisingly easy way to create colourful fabrics with two yarn colours. The technique produces an on-trend geometric effect, reminiscent of tiled floors. The best thing about mosaic crochet is that it is fundamentally made with stripes of colours, meaning you can create patterns without changing colours mid-way through a row.
Starting in issue 110 of Simply Crochet, we’ve got a very exciting new crochet-along by Rosina Plane of Rosina Crochets – The Magic Carpet CAL! This 7 part crochet-along is a fantastic introduction to mosaic crochet, and is hooked up in gorgeous West Yorkshire Spinners 100% British wool yarn. Rosina Plane has designed many popular mosaic crochet designs for Simply Crochet magazine, and has designed this CAL so that you make up the throw step-by-step, working an inset and overlay crochet panel with each part of the CAL, and abracadabra – you’ll end up with a stunning throw. You can find out how to get involved in the Magic Carpet CAL here.
In this tutorial we’ll show you all the basics of how to do mosaic crochet with step-by-step picture tutorials and videos which you’ll find below, but you can also use these links for if you want to jump ahead to a specific part.
Inset Mosaic Crochet – In this technique you’ll alternate colours every two rows. These rows will mostly be worked in double crochet, but to create a tiled effect with these pairs of rows, you’ll also work chain lengths and a special stitch called a mosaic treble.
Overlay Mosaic Crochet – In this technique you change colour on each row, rejoining and fastening off each individual row so that all rows are always worked with the right side facing. Again your rows will mostly be worked in double crochet, but your tiled effect is created by the use of back loop double crochet and front loop treble crochet stitches.
How to read a mosaic crochet chart – the majority of mosaic crochet patterns will include a chart, but there are different styles of charts for overlay and inset crochet, we’ll show you how to read both!
How to make your own mosaic crochet chart – Once you’ve mastered the basics and know how to read mosaic charts, you can get creative and start designing your own mosaic charts! We’ve got some handy tips to help you do this!
If you’re not familiar with any of the abbreviations used in the tutorial, you can find everything you need to know in our Crochet Abbreviations and UK/US conversion guide.
How to do Inset Mosaic Crochet
If you’re following along with the Magic Carpet CAL you can also find an expanded version of this inset mosaic crochet video by Rosina Crochets here which contains some helpful advice for the Cal as well as some handy tips and tricks!
To get started, you just need two yarns in contrasting colours and an appropriately sized hook – we used DK yarn in red (Yarn A) and cream (Yarn B) with a 4mm hook. You’ll also find it helpful to have four stitch markers.
Start by using Yarn A to make two rows of 22 double crochet stitches. To do this, ch23, dc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn. Ch1 (does not count as st throughout), dc in each dc across. On the final dc of the second row, change to Yarn B on the final yrh, turn and your work should look like this. At the end of every even row on a mosaic crochet piece, you’ll need to change to the contrasting colour yarn on the final yrh of the final dc. There’s no need to cut the yarn though, you can just carry it up the side or back of the work instead.
Now work Row 3 with Yarn B: ch1, dc in the first 3 dc, ch3, skip 2 dc and mark these 2 sts with stitch markers, dc in each of next 12 dc, ch3, skip 2 dc and mark these 2 sts with stitch markers, dc in each st to the end.
Turn and continue with Yarn B for Row 4: ch1, dc in each of the first 3 dc, ch3 over the top of the ch-3 sts on the row below, dc in each of next 12 dc, ch3 over the top of the ch-3 sts on the row below, dc in each of rem dc to end, changing to Yarn A on the final yrh of the final dc. Turn and your work should look like this. Now you’ll be ready to try making a mosaic treble…
How to do Overlay Mosaic Crochet
Check out our handy video on how to do overlay mosaic crochet or see below for our step-by-step picture guide. If you’re following along with the Magic Carpet CAL you can also find an expanded version of this overlay mosaic crochet video by Rosina Crochets here which contains some helpful advice for the Cal as well as some handy tips and tricks!
To start overlay mosaic crochet, you will need to make a normal row of dc stitches. In this example we’ll start with white yarn and work with 12dc stitches, so ch13 then dc into the second chain from hook and each chain along. Fasten off.
Now using your next colour (red in this example), you need to rejoin into the first stitch you made of the last row – make sure you always have your right side facing throughout your inset crochet project. To do this make a slipknot and put it onto your hook, then work a dc stitch into the first stitch – this is called a standing stitch, you don’t need to join with a ss or ch1…
…then work a dc in each stitch across and fasten off.
Using the next colour (white), again dc into the first two stitches of the last row (having two solid dc stitches at the start and end of your fabric will help it to be more secure and give you a nice edge)…
…then work a back loop double crochet (bldc) into the next 8 stitches,
… and finish with a normal dc in the last 2 stitches (working under both loops), then fasten off. If you look closely you’ll be able to see the unworked front loops of the 8bldc on the previous row – these are the key to inset mosaic crochet!
As usual, take your new colour and work 2 normal double crochet stitches in the first 2 stitches of the last row. Now we’re going to start making our overlay mosaic crochet pattern. You’re going to work a front loop treble crochet stitch into that first unworked front loop 2 rows down – this will often be abbreviated to a FLtr2d, and we’ve marked it so you can see exactly which stitch it goes into…
…wrap your yarn around hook, insert your hook from the bottom going up through the front loop…
…and complete your treble as normal….
…next we’re going to work a back loop double crochet into the next 6 stitches (be careful to make sure that you skip the dc stitch behind the treble you just made). Once we’ve made those 6 bldc stitches, we’re going to make another front loop treble crochet stitch. It can get a little confusing where to work your stitches, so if you’re unsure just count along the front loops of the row 2 rows down. So in this example, we need to skip 6 front loops to account for those 6 bldc stitches we just made…
…and front loop treble into the next front loop…
…then just finish your row as usual with 2 normal double crochet stitches, and fasten off.
Let’s work our next row. As usual, take your new colour of yarn and work a normal double crochet into your first 2 stitches…
…work a back loop double crochet stitch into the next front loop treble stitch….
… now we need to make a front loop treble crochet stitch into the next unworked front loop along (this one should be pretty obvious, but again if you’re in doubt count your stitches, and try to make sure that you’re not working into the front loop that is behind the treble on the last row)…
…next work 4bldc stitches along (again don’t forget to skip the double crochet stitch behind your treble stitch). Next we’re going to make another front loop treble crochet stitch in the next front loop, so you can count those stitches again to make sure you’re going into the correct loop…
…then we need to make one more bldc stitch in the next stitch…
…and finish off as usual with 2 normal double crochet stitches and fasten off!
That’s how to do the basics of overlay mosaic crochet, if you’re working from a pattern you can just follow your chart for the remaining rows.
Now that you know how to do both the inset mosaic crochet and overlay mosaic crochet techniques, the next step is being able to use a chart that sets out where to place each of these stitches to create a specific mosaic pattern. Mosaic crochet charts can look a bit confusing to start with, but once you know how to use them you’ll find them surprisingly simple, and you can even start designing your own.
How to read an inset mosaic crochet chart
The above chart is an example of the piece we did in the inset mosaic tutorial above. In this chart, each row counts as 2 rows. The key to mosaic charts is remember that you don’t change colours mid-way through a row, so when you see colours mid-row on a chart these are obtained by the mosaic stitches. So for example, on row 3 and 4 where you can see the circle chain symbols (and would make those chains on both row 3 and 4), although the background behind is red, row 3 and 4 is a white row so your chains will be white. When you come to row 5, you’ll make those tr3d mosaic trebles which will give you that colour change. Although each row on this chart represents two rows, you would only make those tr3d on row 5 only.
Occasionally you may see inset mosaic charts that are a bit different and look like the example below.
In this alternative example where each row counts as 1 row, each square represents the size of 1 dc stitch, but not every square is worked as a dc stitch. The elongated rectangles show you where the mosaic trebles are worked instead of dc stitches to create the pattern. In practice, you’ll only use the chart as a guide for where to skip dc sts and work chain lengths instead – dc into each dc, dc into each mosaic tr, and where you encounter a chain length, look 3 rows down and work a mosaic tr into a skipped dc.
How to read an overlay mosaic crochet chart
Overlay mosaic charts are similar to inset charts in that the colours are designed to show you the final result, but it’s the symbols that are the really important part. With an overlay mosaic crochet, remember that the majority of your dc stitches will be bldc stitches, so it’s important to be aware that your normal dc stitches have their own specific symbol.
You also need to remember that your FLtr2d stitches are going two rows down – so for example, if we look at the F symbol on row 4, the square below it on row 3 is actually going to be a white bldc, but is shown as red because your FLtr2d from the red row 4 is going over this and being worked into the front loop of the dc below on row 2.
Follow these guidelines and suggestions for making your own chart, then set your imagination free!
- You can make charts with squared paper and a pencil, or with an app where you can colour in the squares.
- Start by making a chart with simple two-row stripes for inset or single-row stripes for overlay, then plan your vertical links.
- Start and finish with two plain rows of dc for neat edges.
- To anchor the stitches of a row, the first and last dc must be worked in the main colour: Yarn A for Yarn A rows, Yarn B for Yarn B rows. If necessary, add these stitches to each end of the row.
- For a more pleasing look with inset mosaic crochet, it’s best to make the vertical links at least two stitches wide.
- Remember that dc stitches are not perfectly square, so the finished piece will look slightly wider than the chart once hooked up.