What is Overlay Mosaic Crochet?
Overlay Mosaic Crochet is a technique where you use one colour per row, snipping the yarn at the end of every row.
It is called Overlay because all stitches, unless otherwise stated, are worked into the back loop only, leaving the front loop open so you can overlay stitches from previous rows, into that front loop - thus creating the pattern.
You always work on the right side facing you, never turning your work.
This technique does create a lot of ends, and I'm not sure there are many people in the world who enjoy actually weaving in the ends but worry not. There is a double (sometimes called an envelope) border that is created to hide all the ends safely inside. This double border also frames your project nicely and gives it a great deal of stability.
Mosaic Crochet Rules
The following instructions are all using US terms.
Every row is worked with ONE colour.
Every stitch has one stitch worked into it, so in the written instructions, if you see 5DC, 2SC, you work one DC into the next five stitches, then one SC into the next two stitches.
Fasten and snip the yarn after each row.
Always work on the front side only – mosaic crochet does not require you to turn your work. Start the next row from the right-hand side on every row.
BS means border stitch. This is a SC through BOTH loops.
A blank box means you will work a SC in the BACK LOOP of the stitch in the row below.
A box with an X means you will work a DC in the FRONT LOOP of the stitch two rows below.
Charts are read from right to left (unless you are lefthanded, therefore you can read them from left to right)
Written instructions are read from left to right.
Any long rows of DCs will result in a flap on the back. This is totally normal, so don’t panic thinking you’re doing something wrong. There are ways you can anchor the DCs, so you don’t have the flap.
The back of your blanket will have a striped effect. Again, this is totally normal. There is a way you can make it reversible and there are various videos on YouTube explaining the reversible/negative stitch
Please feel free to download these guides to print out at home
How to read mosaic charts
Mosaic charts can be a little confusing when you first look at them, but they’re simple to read once you understand what you’re looking at.
On the chart below, the pattern of green and white boxes you see is how it will turn out once it has been crocheted.
You always crochet the row with the colour shown on the right-hand side - A or B. It doesn't matter what colour is in the chart, you just need to look out for the Xs or blank boxes.
An X is a front loop double crochet (treble crochet in UK terms)
A blank box is a back loop single crochet (double crochet in UK terms)
You don’t change colours halfway through the row to create the pattern (unless doing tapestry mosaic crochet)
When reading a chart, you start at the bottom right of the chart and work all the way across to the left of the chart.
As shown below, you use one colour per row – all the way along. Fastening off at the end of the row and starting the next row again from the right-hand side.
Row 9 - Colour A - FLDC in the stitches with an X. BLSC in the blank stitches
Row 8 - Colour B - FLDC in the stitches with an X. BLSC in the blank stitches
Row 7 - Colour A - FLDC in the stitches with an X. BLSC in the blank stitches
Row 6 - Colour B - FLDC in the stitches with an X. BLSC in the blank stitches
Row 5 - Colour A - FLDC in the stitches with an X. BLSC in the blank stitches
Row 4 - Colour B - FLDC in the stitches with an X. BLSC in the blank stitches
Row 3 - Colour A - FLDC in the stitches with an X. BLSC in the blank stitches
Row 2 - Colour B - There are no X's so you SC in the back loop in every stitch
Row 1 - Colour A - Work your starting chain, then turn and SC into every chain stitch
You only repeat the stitches within the red box
How to read the written instructions
BS - Border Stitch – Single Crochet through both loops
SC - Single Crochet in back loop of the stitch in the current row
DC - Double Crochet front loop of the stitch two rows below
The table of written instructions for each pattern tells you which row you’re on and which colour to use on that row.
In the example below, row 1 is highlighted in white; therefore, you are crocheting the whole row in colour A.
Row 2 is highlighted in green; therefore, you are crocheting the whole row in colour B.
Once you have finished a row, you can use the checkbox to tick it off. So you remember which row you are currently working.
In the written instructions for this pattern, you first create the beginning border stitch (shown in black).
Then you work the stitches between the red asterisks in order and repeat as required.
Once you have worked all the repeats, you work the final border stitch (shown in black)
BS. *SC, 15DC, SC, 15DC* BS.
First Border Stitch
All stitches between the red asterisk * are your repeat. Work the stitches in order, then repeat as required.
Final Border Stitch
Tapestry mosaic crochet
If you wish to try the tapestry mosaic technique, there are a couple of videos on YouTube by some very talented designers that can help you.
This video by Daisy Knots explains how to do mosaic tapestry crochet in UK Terms - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK-Fx8BcsE8
This video by Heather Noble explains how to do mosaic tapestry crochet in US Terms - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVHbdiDN1FA
The chart below is how my patterns will look should they require more than one colour in a row.
Remember that the chart shows you what the pattern looks like ONCE it has been crocheted.
Colour A sometimes covers the stitch from the previous row, so if you are unsure when to change colours within a tapestry row, please refer to the written instructions also, as this details the colour of each stitch.
Tie on both colours when creating your border stitch, and carry the 2nd colour along, trapping it within the stitches as you go.
Work up to the stitch before where the 2nd colour stitch starts.
Complete the last yarn over of the stitch with the new colour you want to use.
Drop the old colour and pick up the new colour. Pull the new colour through the loops on the hook to complete the stitch.
Continue working with the new colour, carrying the old colour along the back of your work.
Repeat the process as needed for subsequent colour changes in the pattern.