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Illusion Knitting

Do you remember those cards that depicted two different pictures depending on which way you looked at the card.

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Do you see on the hearts, the little hearts on the big heart?

These types of images are also possible in knitting. To create knitting that looks different when you look at it different ways, you use a technique called Illusion Knitting or Shadow knitting.

Here is an example of a scarf I made using the techniques.

Giants illusion from the topGiants illusion from the side
From the topFrom the side

The effect is most often created using two colors; changing colors every two rows. Using only knit stitches on the first row of each color and the second row of each color using purls and knits to make one color recede and one pop up to show the image you are trying to create.

The chart below is for a simple diamond to show the process. This is best worked with charts so that the knitter can see the object they are knitting.

Illusion Knit Diamond:

Diamond Top ViewDiamond Side view
From the topFrom the top


The chart squares are the light and dark colors. The biggest most important thing to remember is to knit the color squares and PURL the white squares on the WRONG SIDE ONLY.

Each row of the chart represents two rows. The first time you work a row it is all KNIT in one color, from right to left- this is the right side. The second row is either knit or purl (DEPENDING ON WHETHER THE SQUARE IS COLORED OR WHITE), from left to right, in the same color as the first row - this is the wrong side.

The next chart row is actually rows 3 and 4, which you would work in the opposite color, all knits, from right to left. Then either knit or purl (DEPENDING ON WHETHER THE SQUARE IS COLORED OR WHITE).


Join us in the forum to discuss how this works for you. Happy Knitting!

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Content copyright © 2013 by Marjorie Colletta. All rights reserved.
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