Sunday, September 7, 2014

Don't Confuse Mosaic Knitting with Color Slip Stitch Knitting --They Are Different

The latest issue of Cast On Magazine includes my article on Types of Slip Stitch Knitting. Slip Stitch Knitting is a large category which includes different types of finished stitch patterns.
Categories of Slip Stitch Knitting include:
  • One color used to create a textured fabric 
  • Non-color dependent patterns-- Patterns that can use one or multiple colors but texture is the main focus. 
  • Color dependent patterns --Patterns must contain at least 2 colors and the emphasis is the color pattern created. 
  • Slip stitch patterns combined with other knitting techniques
  • Mosaic knitting, a type of slip stitch work invented by Barbara Walker.
  • Brioche knitting, a type of slip stitch work that uses yarn overs and slipped stitches to create layered, fluffy fabrics. These can be one or two colors. 
  • Double Knitted Fabric-- Typically worked in two colors but can be worked in a single color. 

Mosaic, Brioche, and Double Knitting use slipped stitches to create unique fabrics. These sub-sets of slip stitch knitting are regarded as their own separate categories of knitting.  They have characteristics that separate them from typical slip stitch work and are considered apart from Slip Stitch patterning. 

Most knitters can easily see the difference between Brioche and Slip Stitch work. It's also easy to see the difference between Double Knitting and Slip Stitch work. However, many knitters often confuse Mosaic Knitting and Color Slip Stitch Knitting.

The following chart summarizes the similarities and differences between Color Slip Stitch Knitting and Mosaic Knitting: 

Basic Color Slip Stitch Patterns
Mosaic Patterns
One color is worked at a time. Textured fabric is created. Colors are carried along the selvedge. Both use slipped stitches to create the patterning. Can be worked in rows and rounds.
Creates its own fabric through the use of varying texture. 
Worked on a base of either stockinette or garter stitch.
Uses small repetitive motifs. Patterns tend to be simple with short multiples and repeats. 
Patterns are geometric ranging from simple to complex. Multiples and repeats tend to be longer then typical slip stitch patterns.
Color contrast
Look can vary depending on how much colors contrast.
Colors must contrast.
Number of colors used
Can use 2 or more colors. Some patterns don’t require color.
Uses 2 colors.
Number of strands used per row
Most patterns work alternating colors using 1 strand similar to Mosaic, but there are patterns where more than one color is used per row using the intarsia technique. 
The 2 colors are alternated with one strand worked for 2 rows then the other color worked for 2 rows.
Color sequence
Colors may be worked for 1, 2, or more rows and alternated in varying sequences. 
Each color is worked for 2 rows first on the RS then on the WS.
Row repeats
RS and WS rows are usually different.
WS rows are worked exactly as the previous RS row. Occasionally an accent stitch may appear. 
Orientation of slipped stitches
Stitches can be slipped both knitwise and purlwise, depending on the pattern.
Stitches are slipped purlwise.
Placement of working yarn while slipping stitches (Floats)
Yarn can be held to either the RS or WS of the work when slipping stitches.
Yarn is held to the WS of the work when slipping stitches.
Combination with other stitch patterns
Can be incorporated with other techniques.
Does not combine with other techniques. Special borders have been created to work with Mosaics including Mosaic rib and Mosaic seed stitch. 
Because of their simplicity, row by row instructions work well and charts are generally not needed. If the pattern is charted, then every row will be shown using standard charting technique, using a symbol for the slipped stitch.
 Employs a unique charting system developed specifically for Mosaic Work. Each row is read from right to left and then from left to right. There are exceptions. Charts are usually easier to read than row by row directions. Typical chart will not use a symbol to designate stitch to be slipped. 

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