Illusion Love Cushion by Steve Plummer

What is Illusion Knitting?

So, Have you ever heard of illusion knitting and wondered what it was? I recently was designing a baby blanket for my daughter. She asked for a giraffe in all yellow. As I was planning her pattern I discovered the hidden images in these shadow knitting designs and can not get enough the fun and mystery of it all.

Quite simply, illusion knitting or sometimes called shadow knitting are hidden pictures within a striped designed blanket, scarf, pillow, or any other pattern you can think of. Whenever you look at the picture from the front you will see nothing but stripes, when you look at it from the side, top, or bottom the picture is revealed to you.

Black White Giraffe Head

Black n White Giraffe Illusion Afghan Pattern

How it works is with 2 contrasting colors as in the giraffe above black and white. One color is the main color that will be the background the other color contrasting that will pop out. The pattern is worked in stockinette and garter stitch rows. You will always work the background color in garter stitch. However, you alternate between the stockinette and garter stitch in the main color for the image to appear. Wherever the main color in the pattern is stockinette it will fade into the background. Wherever the main color in the pattern is garter stitch it will pop out and create the picture.

You can have a simple image or more intricate works of art and designs. There a multitude of patterns available on Ravelry or you can get creative and design your own. Illusion patterns are perfect for your favorite teams or sayings and for teens or adults who want something stylish but fun. I’ve included a couple of fun Valentine pattern links Illusion Love Cushion by Steve Plummer and Love Hearts Illusion Blanket and Cushion by Steve Plummer from Ravelry’s site that you may like.

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I’m also giving you the pattern for the giraffe above. I created it but I have not had a chance to knit it yet. I hope you have fun with this exciting project. He’s black and white but nothing says your giraffe has to be, so feel free to make yours any color you choose just remember it has to be 2 contrasting colors such as brown and cream, they would be quite nice.

Illusion knitting requires four rows knit for every row in your design.
This is a two-color pattern, utilizing light and dark to make a specific image. If there’s poor or little contrast, your image won’t turn out well.

Choose your colors with the same thing in mind when you go to knit your piece, as colors that blend together will be terrible for the illusion technique. Combinations that are striking are best, e.g., black/white, black/red, yellow/blue, pink/blue, etc.

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You’ll start by casting on and knitting a full row:

  1. Using your first or main color (Color 1), cast on and knit a full row.
  2. Then follow your original chart and knit the light boxes and purl the dark.
  3. Change to the second or contrasting color (Color 2) and knit across a full row.
  4. Following the same original chart row as before, purl the light and knit the dark.

Change back to Color 1 and repeat the above 4 lines for each row of your original pattern.

Here’s your FREE PDF Black N White Giraffe Illusion Afghan Pattern

When you are finished you will have a fun illusion giraffe image wall art or blanket from FADesignCharts Patterns. Enjoy!

Happy Knitting!


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