Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mosaic Knitted Pouches Tutorial with Guest Kate of Needle and Spatula

we've got our 2nd guest reader post up today. kate from the blog "needle and spatula" wrote me a sweet email asking if she could come on and share an adorable tutorial for mosaic knitted pouches. i loved the look of them. the fact that they were done with mosiac knitting seemed fun as i have never done that and also that they look felted but they are not was fun too! i could see these being addicting to make as little hostess gifts, xmas pressies, teacher gifts, shower gifts - basically anything you need a stylish little handknit pouch for!

kate blogs over at needle and spatula where she shares all her creative adventures in crafting, cooking, & gardening. kate quilts, shares tutorials and she also has an etsy shop of the same name where she sells sewing patterns, pouches, purses, and more! there's patchwork and free motion applique galore - love it!

now let's hear from kate...

Hi! I'm super excited to be joining you all today. I have been reading luvinthemommyhood for a while but I always feel a bit like I don't belong... because I am actually not a mom yet! But I love sewing and knitting, and I make lots of gifts for friends' babies (and my 8 month old nephew!), and I just love Shannon's blog! She has the best roundups and I always feel inspired by the weekend wishes... it often makes me want to run out and buy some vintage pyrex and sheets. So I hope you don't mind me hanging out with you in the Mommyhood :).

I loved the idea of the knitting vs. sewing matchup when Shannon did it last fall, so I was super excited to see that she was doing it again and had even launched a spiffy new site for the occasion. I am as much a sewer as a knitter (and lately have been mostly sewing!) so I love seeing all the tutorials and the roundups. As they starting rolling in this year I thought the knits could use another person duking it out on their side, so even though I love them both I got in touch with Shannon with this idea for a fun knitting tutorial that I am thrilled to be sharing with you today. Although, I confess, it does have a sewn lining, so it is a bit of a crossover project... but lets still count this on the knitting side, OK?

These fun pouches would make a great first colorwork project because they use a neat technique called mosaic knitting where you actually only knit with one color at a time. The color patterns are created using slipped stitches, so you don't have to worry about holding both yarns at once and how to carry them across the back or any of that business (although if you wanted to knit these that way, you could - they would turn out a little differently though). You can read a great overview of Mosaic Knitting on Knitty, and if you get really into it you can even get whole books of mosaic designs like this one from Barbara Walker.

The basic idea of mosaic knitting is that you knit a row in one color, slipping all the stitches that are going to be the other color. Then you knit (or really purl) back on the wrong side knitting and slipping the same stitches. Then, for the next row you use the second color and just go ahead and knit the next row in the chart - knitting the stitches that are supposed to be that color and slipping the other stitches, and then doing the same on the wrong side. This means that the stitches you slipped before just pull yarn from the rows before and the rows after to fill in the gap - so you can get a pretty dense fabric, which is great for a sturdy item like a pouch.

I love using color-changing yarns like Noro's Kureyon and seeing how the colors develop as you knit, and I think it's even cooler when you use two strands and they are both changing at once like in this project. As you can see from my pouches, depending on the amount of contrast between the two strands the design can be fairly subtle or can really stand out! If you don't like having both colors change at once, you could knit this with one color changing yarn and one solid, or just with two solids.


Finished sizes:
Large square pouch: 5.5" x 5.75"
Small square pouch: 3" x 3.75"
Medium zigzag pouch: 4.25" x 5.5"

Gauge is not super important for this project, so if you usually knit close to gauge you should be fine with the size needles called for in the pattern. If you knit loosely you may want to go down a size to get a denser knit.


1 skein Noro Kureyon yarn or other worsted weight yarn (either color changing or in 2 contrasting colors)
Size 6 needles (straight or circular)
Size 7 circular needles + 1 extra size 7 needle (straight, circular or DPN are all fine) - or just 1 set of size 7 needles will work too with an extra step
Tapestry needle
6" or longer zipper
Fabric for lining (optional)
Sewing pins, thread and hand-sewing needle or sewing machine

Mosaic Knitting Pattern Charts can be downloaded here.

Instructions for squares design:

Decide which color of yarn you want to be "black" and which you want to be "white" in the chart (I will refer to these as black and white from now on). I like to pull apart my skein of yarn to see how the colors will change, and then divide it into two sections and line them up next to eachother to get a preview of how the colors will line up:

CO 67 stitches (43 st for smaller pouch) with size 6 needles and black yarn, and knit two rows (garter stitch). Switch to size 7 needles and connect white yarn and knit one row, then purl one row as indicated in line 1 of the chart (stockinette stitch). Knit the next two rows with the black yarn following line two of the chart - eg, on right side row: *knit 3, slip 1 purlwise (sl 1), repeat from * until last three stitches, k3; then on wrong side row: *purl 3, sl 1, repeat from * until last three stitches, p3. Knit the next two rows with the white yarn following line 3 of the chart - eg, on the right side knit 2, *sl 1, k1, repeat from * until the last two stitches, k2; then on the wrong side purl 2, *sl 1, p1, repeat from * until the last two stitches, p2. Continue following the chart in this manner for 3 full repeats (1 and a half repeats for smaller pouch) or until piece measures desired height of pouch, ending with row 1 or row 5.

See how the slipped stitches alternate with the knitted stitches?

Split the stitches between the two ends of the circular needle with 34 stitches on one side and 33 stitches on the other. Fold the knitting together with right sides facing and the two needles parallel. Using your third size 7 needle, bind off stitches using a three-needle bind-off.

Turn the pouch right side out and sew up the side seam using a mattress stitch. I put the seam 1 1/2 stitches in from the edge so that the pattern would be maintained but you can do whatever works best for you. Weave in the ends.

To make the fabric lining, lay the knitted pouch down on top of a folded piece of your lining fabric, with the fold along the bottom edge of the pouch. Cut out the lining piece so that it is 1/4" wider on each side and 1/4" taller than the knitted pouch. Sew the two sides with a 1/4" seam, leaving the top open, and then fold down the top edge about 1/2". You can also omit the fabric lining and just sew in a zipper if you prefer an unlined bag.

Put the lining inside the pouch and then line up the zipper between the lining and the pouch, pinning in place. You can shorten your zipper first if you need to by stitching back and forth over the new stop point and then cutting it off 1/4" past the stop point.

Then stitch through all the layers, just below the top edge of the lining. I did this both on a sewing machine and by hand, and found it easier to keep everything lined up and looking nice with the handstitching (using a backstitch). This one I machine stitched:

And this one I hand stitched:

Instructions for Zigzag Design:

The zigzag design is actually knit as a longer piece and then folded in half at the bottom - so the two sides are different colors. If you wanted it to be the same on both sides you could modify the design to work with the construction used for the squares bags. Here are the two sides of my zigzag bag:

To make this bag, with size 6 needles cast on 33 stitches, knit 2 rows in color you want to have on the top edge (which will be your white on the chart). Join 2nd yarn using size 7 needles and knit row 1 on the chart (and repeat on return purl stitches) - see instructions for squares design above for a more detailed example of how to follow the mosaic pattern chart. Continue knitting in design until piece measures twice the desired height of the bag (8.75" for the size bag shown above). Switch back to size 6 needles and knit two rows using color you want to have on second top edge, then bind off all stitches.

Fold the piece in the middle, lining up the two top edges, and seam both sides with mattress stitch. Weave in yarn ends. Follow instructions above for lining the bag.

Enjoy your finished pouch or pouches!

Maybe you want to use them to store your essential knitting notions?

Or to hold your jewelry when you travel?

Or to hold a collection of foreign coins?

Thanks again Shannon for having me!

thanks so much for writing kate and for sharing your fab pouch pattern! i love it! so handy to have! this would even be cute for storing your knitting notions inside your knitting bag. you guys can find more kate here...

*blog *etsy shop *flickr *twitter *facebook *ravelry

what would you use these knitted pouches for? your fave yarn of the moment? have you done mosaic knitting before?


  1. Super Cool! Thanks for sharing such a fab tutorial. These are going on my knit list!

  2. very cool, I've never seen this type of technique before, it's very neat!

  3. Wow! What a gorgeous project! I haven't tired mosaic knitting but it looks fabulous! Looks much easier than intarsia or fair isle. I will have to give it a shot! Thanks so much.

  4. I love what you did with the Kuryeon yarn. It's beautiful!!!


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