INTRO TO OVERLAY MOSAIC CROCHET
Mosaic crochet is a fun and easy way to create beautifully intricate patterns, all using single crochet (SD) and double crochet (DC) stitches, without having to change colors in the middle of a row. There are two types of mosaic crochet, interlocking and overlay. This tutorial will guide you through the basics of overlay, and get you on your way to following patterns and charts. I’ll also show you how to create secure border stitches, and an easy way to weave in your tail-ends for a clean edge.
In overlay mosaic crochet, the design is worked from the front side only, from right to left (or left to right for left-handed crocheters). Each row alternates between two contrasting colors, either A or B. You can use any combination of contrasting colors to create these designs.
The mosaic pattern is created by working all SC stitches into the top-back loops of the same row, and dropping down all DC stitches into the front loops of the row below of the same color. This is where the term “overlay” comes from. The DC stitches are covering up the SC stitches from the previous row, allowing you to overlay different colors and create very complex looking patterns.
In most mosaic crochet patterns, the mosaic design does not start until row 3. You will need to start with 2 SC rows, 1 row in color A, and 1 row in color B, both worked into the top-back loops only. This will give you a foundation to start working your mosaic stitches. Refer to your specific chart pattern to find the appropriate number of chains to start with.
The numbered columns on the right and left sides of the chart are color coded with the color you will be crocheting the entire row with, either A or B. This chart starts with color A for row 1 (white), and color B (pink) for row 2.
* You will only be reading the symbols on the chart (X’s in this pattern), and not switching colors in the middle. The colors in the center of the chart show you where the DC’s are being dropped down from the row above. This only serves as a reference, and will show you what a finished row looks like after you’ve added the next row in the chart.
The chart above shows 17 stitches across. You will also need to add two more for your border stitches. Start your foundation chain with 19 chains ( 17 + 2 ).
Chain 1, and SC into the second chain from the hook. SC into the top-back loops for all remaining stitches. You should have 19 SC total.
At the end of the row, tighten your last SC. Chain 1, and tighten again. Cut your yarn leaving about a 2-3” tail, and pull the yarn through.
Row 1 complete
SECURE BORDER STITCHES
Because each row starts with a new color, you will be adding border stitches at the beginning and end of each row. The border stitches also help to keep your edges straight, and gives you a clear point along the edge to add a wide finishing border, fringe, or for attaching to another panel.
An easy way to secure your next color to the row is to flip the tail into the first loop before starting your border stitch. This locks your tail-end in without having to use any knots.
Insert your hook into both loops of the first stitch, and hook your yarn. Pull the yarn through to make a loop on your hook.
Hook the tail from the back and pull all the way through the loop. Do not tighten!
Insert your hook back into the loop, and begin your first border stitch.
Chain 1, SC back into the same stitch.
First border stitch completed
For Row 2: SC into the top-back loops for all 17 stitches. At the end of the row, add a finishing border stitch.
FINISHING BORDER STITCH:
SC into both loops, tighten.
Chain 1, and tighten again.
Cut your yarn leaving about a 2-3” tail, and pull the yarn through.
Row 2 Completed
All the fun begins on row 3!
Looking at the chart, you will be reading each row from right to left. Each box represents a stitch. All DC stitches are marked with an “X” and all SC stitches are blank.
All SC stitches will be in the top-back loops of row 2, and all DC stitches will be in the front loops of row 1.
Here’s where the first 7 stitches will be placed in this row. Remember to start and end each row with a border stitch.
The first stitch in the chart has an “X” indicating a DC. Yarn over and insert your hook into the front loop of the first stitch in row 1 after the border stitch.
First DC for row 3 completed
The next stitch in the chart is also a DC. Add your next DC into the second stitch here.
The third stitch in the chart is blank, indicating a SC. Add a SC into the top back loop of the third stitch.
SC stitches 3, 4, and 5 completed
Follow the chart for the remaining stitches in the row, and finish with a border stitch.
When adding DC’s, you will be skipping the stitches behind it from the previous row. The number of stitches at the top of the DC’s should match the number of skipped stitches behind it. This is very important to keep track of, especially when adding long rows with multiple DC’s, or when you get into more advanced special stitches.
Row 3 completed
Start row 4 with color B, and add a border stitch. Following the chart from right to left, the first 2 stitches are SC, followed by 1 DC, 1 SC, 1 DC, 2 SC. Follow the chart for the remaining stitches in the row, and finish with a border stitch.
Row 4 completed
Start row 5 with color A, and add a border stitch. Following the chart from right to left, the first 3 stitches are SC, followed by 1 DC, and 4 SC. Follow the chart for the remaining stitches in the row, and finish with a border stitch.
Row 5 completed
Start row 6 with color B, and add a border stitch. This row has all SC stitches and no DCs. Add 17 SCs across and finish with a border stitch.
Row 6 completed
Start row 7 with color A, and add a border stitch. (This row has the same sequence of stitches as row 5.) Following the chart from right to left, the first 3 stitches are SC, followed by 1 DC, and 4 SC. Follow the chart for the remaining stitches in the row, and finish with a border stitch.
Row 7 completed
Start row 8 with color B, and add a border stitch. (This row has the same sequence of stitches as row 4.) Following the chart from right to left, the first 2 stitches are SC, followed by 1 DC, 1 SC, 1 DC. Follow the chart for the remaining stitches in the row, and finish with a border stitch.
Row 8 completed
Start row 9 with color A, and add a border stitch. (This row has the same sequence of stitches as row 3.) Following the chart from right to left, the first 2 stitches are DC, followed by 3 SC, and 2 DC. Follow the chart for the remaining stitches in the row, and finish with a border stitch.
Row 9 completed
You can continue the pattern taller by repeating rows 2-9, or finish your sample with row 9.
FINISHING THE EDGES
The nature of overlay mosaic crochet means you will have tail-ends on the sides. There are many different ways for handling these. You can hide them, wrap them along the edge, add fringe to camouflage them, or weave them into the back. I tend to make a ton of pillows, so the tail-ends are always hidden on the inside! Here I will show you an easy way to weave them into the back, which is best for when you want a clean edge.
When working with very short tails, it’s best to weave your needle into the back first, then insert the tail into the eye of the needle.
Skip over the border stitch and weave your needle into several stitches of the same color on the back, making sure you’re not sticking into any stitches that show on the front.
I like to weave in all of the tails first, then I trim all the excess. This way you’re not switching back and forth between scissors and the needle.
I hope you've enjoyed learning overlay mosaic crochet! There are so many wonderful patterns out there, and I hope you check out some of the patterns I have listed on my website! Links to my Etsy and Ravelry stores through the patterns page.
Thanks and happy crocheting!