Overlay Mosaic Crochet Tutorial: Center-Out

I love how there is always something new to learn! Our next trick is overlay mosaic crochet from the center-out!

I recommend you get familiar with how basic overlay mosaic crochet works BEFORE attempting to work from the center-out. I also want to point out that my tutorials are tailored to my patterns – other designers may have different styles of charts and written instructions and I can’t guarantee that my tutorials will be applicable to those patterns.

All of my patterns are written up for two techniques, and this tutorial is no different; to see the center-out interlocking crochet tutorial, click here.

Original, Bottom-Up, Cut-at-the-end-of-the-row Overlay Mosaic Crochet Tutorials:

NEW Center-Out Overlay Mosaic Crochet Tutorials:

There’s a lot of information offered here; use this Table of Contents to help you find what you’re looking for!

Benefits of working from the center-out:

  • no need to cut the yarn each row!
    • this also means no need to add an envelope border to cover the tails!
  • you don’t need to start with a million chains in your foundation row
  • it looks amazing with yarn that changes colors gradually (like these cakes from Canadian-owned Panda Yarns)
  • you can work until your yarn runs out instead of having to decide how wide your blanket will be before you start
  • it’s fun to learn more skills
  • final outer border line can be in whichever color you prefer
  • helps keep the square even on all sides (sometimes when working back and forth like normal your square ends up taller than it is wide = tension issues)

How to determine if a pattern will work from the Center-Out:

  • Chart needs to be square, not rectangle
  • Patterns need to be designed with this technique in mind (as in, you can’t just grab a random chart image off Pinterest and expect it to work)

How to determine which color to use first:

The best piece of advice I can give is to look at the pattern. The key on the chart and the written instructions should be where you get the information of which color to use first. Most of my patterns begin with the darker color in the foundation row. You can usually think of the MC as the pencil lines I’ve drawn – but please look at each pattern carefully because I do have a few that don’t follow these guidelines.

For the center-out technique we need to look at the center dot to determine which color is going to be our foundation “round”. Remember, the colors need to contrast well so that the image shows up clearly.

When working from the center-out we will look at the dot in the center and call that the “Main Color” (MC). “Contrasting Color” (CC) will refer to the other color.

Yarn weight of each color needs to be the same, but the technique will work with any weight of yarn. You can adjust hook size based on your own tension and preferences. If you use a different weight yarn, you will need to use a hook size that is appropriate for that yarn. The finished size of your square will be different than mine if you change yarn weight, hook sizes, or simply have a different tension.

KEY (US crochet terminology)

MC = Main Color: blue in chart

CC = Contrasting Color: white in chart

ch = chain: yarn over and pull a loop through

SC = single crochet: insert hook, pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook

DC = double crochet: yarn over, insert hook, pull up a loop, *yarn over, pull through two loops* twice

MR = magic ring: place yarn across the front of your fingers with the tail hanging down, wrap yarn over and behind your fingers, cross yarn at the top of your hand towards your wrist, insert hook under first loop on the back of your hand and grab the second loop, pull the loop up and chain to keep it in place. View my video tutorial or photo tutorial online: AshleesLint.com/magicring

Special Stitches Used

Take note of the way I use upper case and lower case in my patterns!

sc = SC into Back Loop only

dc = dropped double crochet: DC into Front Loop of stitch in the round below, skip the sc stitch that gets hidden behind this dropped stitch

scC = single crochet corner: SC into Back Loop Only of previous round’s corner chain, chain 1, SC into the same Back Loop again

dcC = double crochet corner: do a dropped DC into front loop of previous round’s corner chain, chain 1, do another dropped DC into same front loop again. The next stitch, if it is a dc, will use this same front loop as well.

Overlay Mosaic Crochet Technique from the Center-Out

  • The front of your work is always facing you (this is the right side, the side showing the design)
  • Yarn colors can be anything you like
    • They need to contrast well (try a black and white photo to see if they are too similar)
    • They need to be the same weight (size/thickness)
  • Foundation round counts as round 0 – it is a magic ring with 8 single crochets in it; uses the MC
  • Do not cut your yarn at the end of each round, carry it up through the corner stitch
  • Even-numbered rounds use MC; odd-numbered rounds use CC

Foundation Row:

Crochet 8 single crochets in a magic ring, use an invisible join to close the circle.

Alternatively, chain 2, then do 8 single crochets into the 2nd chain from your hook, use an invisible join to close the circle.

Changing Colors

One of the main benefits of doing overlay mosaic crochet from the center-out is that you don’t need to cut your yarn!

To join your contrasting color yarn to your foundation round that you just completed, simply pull the new yarn through the loop on your hook and pull the MC yarn tight. Tighten the new loop on your hook and chain 1 to lock it in place.

The loose tails will need to be woven in, or knotted. But I usually wait until at least round 3 because then there’s room to actually weave the ends in.

Your Main Color (MC) Foundation dot in the center will loosen if you do not secure the tail from that magic ring!

Each stitch in the pattern is either a single crochet in the back loop (abbreviated to simply sc in my patterns) or a dropped double crochet in the front loop two rounds below (abbreviated to dc in my patterns). The dropped double crochets will always be using the front loop of the same color (as in, if you are using blue yarn you will be picking up the front loop of the blue yarn from the round below).

Reading the Chart

The chart for my Center-Out Tutorial Square

A Key for the chart is also included in the FREE PDF download.

Basically, an X on a square means you do a dropped double crochet (dc in my patterns) and no x means it is a single crochet in the back loop only (sc in my patterns). The row numbers tell you which color of yarn you’re using: Main Color (MC) is blue on the chart, Contrasting Color (CC) is white on the chart.

The corner stitches are shown as light blue or light grey on both sides of each row; when you repeat the chart for each side of your square make sure you are only doing ONE corner stitch between sides. An asterisk (*) on a corner means it will be a dcC, otherwise it is a scC. Corner stitches always have a chain space between each sc or dc. The next row’s corner stitches will be made into the back loop of the chain stitch.

I show detailed instructions in my PDF Photo Tutorial and on the YouTube Tutorial.

Tips and Tricks

DON’T FORGET THE FINAL STITCH OF EACH ROUND! The final stitch seems to “hide” in front of the color changes and can be easy to forget.

You may wish to lock in your dropped double crochets (to eliminate the flap on the back). I have a tutorial on that here: https://ashleeslint.com/2021/07/06/mosaic-locked-double-crochet/ and I also go over it in the YouTube tutorial for Center-Out.

The downloadable PDF has many photos to walk you through the tutorial. The video tutorial on YouTube is an hour long and there are timestamps in the description so you can jump to whichever round you are having problems with.

Learning new skills can be difficult, take a break if you’re feeling frustrated and try again later. Watch the video tutorial. Ask for clarification and help in my Facebook group: Ashlee Brotzell Designs. Don’t give up! You’ll get it eventually!