Crochet Colorwork

I call my business, “Ashlee Brotzell Designs”, and my tagline is, “Interlocking and Mosaic Crochet Patterns”. But what does interlocking and mosaic mean?

(Nearly) all of my designs come with the full written pattern and charts for TWO techniques: interlocking crochet and overlay mosaic crochet. (I also have a handful of designs that are only mosaic crochet or ‘regular crochet’, as in, they don’t use either technique).

Many of my older patterns used the same chart for both techniques (which meant the interlocking mesh dots became part of the mosaic pattern). New patterns have been adjusted so the mosaic version no longer includes the mesh dots or the unnecessary extra border lines. But, I have a lot more on my list to update!

Interlocking Crochet

Interlocking crochet goes by a few different names depending on the designer. Originally, I was calling mine Locked Filet Mesh (LFM) but I now refer to it as “interlocking crochet”.

This colorwork crochet method uses only chain spaces and double crochets (US terms) to create two layers of mesh that are interlocked as they are produced.

Generally, you use two contrasting colors and the two colors are worked alternately row-by-row. Because you are using only one yarn at a time there is no need to carry bobbins of yarn or cut your yarn when you use this color work technique.

There are methods of changing colors in each layer of mesh but I haven’t attempted that yet – all of my designs are meant to use a single color per layer.

Another amazing thing about interlocking crochet is that the “wrong side” creates a different image than the front! Sometimes this is done on purpose, so that you have a double-sided piece, and sometimes the back of your blanket just looks “wrong”.

In the Key I created for my patterns, I use the terms “back” and “front” to refer to where the stitches go, and I use “right” and “wrong” side to refer to which side of the blanket has the actual design (even on my double-sided designs).

Interlocking Crochet Tutorials

YouTube Playlist: Locked Filet Mesh

Full Video Walk-Thru: Small Tranquil Leaves Blossom

Center-Out (Tutorials for Interlocking and Mosaic)

Mosaic Crochet

My patterns use the overlay mosaic crochet technique. Inset is another type of mosaic crochet (but I don’t yet have patterns or tutorials for that one).

Overlay mosaic crochet uses one color of yarn per row. You do not turn your work; you cut your yarn at the end of every row.

One square on the chart equals one stitch in your project.

There are only two stitches to know for this technique: single crochet and double crochet (US terminology).


All the single crochet stitches use the back loop only.

And all the double crochet (DC) stitches use the front loop two rows down.

These dropped DCs cover the other color’s single crochet stitches to create the design.

You will only be working from right-to-left (opposite for left-handed crocheters), facing the “right” side of your blanket. Since we do not turn our work you’ll need to cut your yarn at the end of each row.

These cut ends can be hidden in an envelope border or sewn back into the project.

There are modifications to this technique but I currently don’t have any tutorials other than the basic overlay mosaic crochet method.

Overlay Mosaic Crochet Tutorials

YouTube: Read a Mosaic Chart Without X’s

Full Video Walk-Thru: February Knot Mini-Square

Ashlee’s Lazy Envelope Border

Tunisian Mosaic Crochet

Tunisian crochet is a technique where you hold lots of stitches on your (usually extra-long) hook, sort of like knitting. You can do Tunisian crochet with an inset mosaic crochet method or an overlay mosaic crochet method.

There are even multiple ways to do the Tunisian overlay mosaic crochet method!

I have one photo / video tutorial on how to convert any of my overlay mosaic crochet patterns into Tunisian mosaic crochet using a TFPDC (Tunisian Front Post Double Crochet) dropped down just like regular overlay mosaic crochet.

It is on my to-do list to create another tutorial for the Tunisian method using the TESS (Tunisian Extended Simple Stitch).

Ravelry’s Definition of “Mosaic”

According to Ravelry, you need to use the “tapestry crochet” category to find mosaic crochet patterns. They define “tapestry crochet” as a technique using multiple yarns, usually in different colors, that are carried across to create a motif; also referred to as mosaic, jacquard, instarsa, colorwork, fair-isle, or hard crochet”.
I agree with the first part of their sentence – that’s how I would define tapestry crochet as well.
I disagree that tapestry and mosaic crochet use the same reference terms. (And I think they mean “intarsia” in their list.)
They have a category called “mosaic” but the definition seems to refer specifically to knitting: “colorwork technique in which the color pattern is made by slipping stitches, with only one color is worked on each row”.
Their grammar is a bit off there, but I am focused mostly on the part that specifies slipping stitches – that is for knitting, not crochet.
As a one-woman show, I have a lot of projects on my to-do list. One thing I’d like to do is create a tutorial on how to use my charts for knitting!

Generally Accepted Definitions

From what I’ve seen, this is how the crochet community is defining the techniques:

  • Not-Mosaic Crochet: tapestry, intarsia, interlocking, and more.

From what I understand, it was Rosina Plane who managed to get the community to start using the terms “inset” and “overlay”. It is so helpful to have terminology we can all agree on!

Inset Mosaic Crochet

Currently, I do not have any patterns that use the inset mosaic crochet technique.

This method alternates between two colors (just like the other mosaic methods). Using one color you work all the way across, flip your work and crochet back to where you started. Then you grab your second color and do the same thing.

This biggest draw for this technique is the ability to crochet back and forth without cutting your yarn.

However, since each square on the chart turns into 1 stitch wide and 2 stitches tall, it must be designed in a way to keep the image from being elongated. These patterns are often repeating, geometric designs.

Comparing My Techniques

When I first started designing, I was only using the interlocking crochet method. I drew the charts and then created the full written pattern.

Very quickly, I was told I could use my charts for the overlay mosaic crochet method as well! So I used my charts and wrote up the line-by-line pattern for the overlay mosaic crochet technique.

Then I learned that mosaic crocheters expect to see X’s on the charts. You can use the charts without X’s, but most people are more familiar with the X’s so I updated everything again to include x-marked charts.

It then became apparent that although some people don’t mind seeing the interlocking mesh on their overlay mosaic crochet projects (some even prefer it), the majority would prefer their mosaic projects to have actually solid solid areas.

I have updated SOME of my patterns to include this adjusted, solid overlay mosaic crochet option. Some of my newer designs don’t have a mosaic option with the mesh dots at all. I have a long list of patterns that will get updated.

When I update the patterns, I do not remove the original mosaic pattern. Some people prefer this method and some may be in progress and I would not want to leave them without their pattern!

Therefore, you will see that ALL of my designs have an interlocking crochet option and an overlay mosaic crochet option. But, SOME of those mosaic options use the original interlocking chart and SOME were adjusted before publishing.

SOME of my listings include three file options: interlocking crochet, original overlay mosaic crochet using the interlocking chart, and an adjusted, solid overlay mosaic crochet option.

This photo below uses three different gnome squares to show the three different options.