Illusion Knitting

A few days ago, Cathie, a fellow list member, asked me about Illusion Knitting on the Bond. That got me interested in this technique again, I always enjoy a challenge! I had seen pictures of this on the net before but never investigated further as to how it is done, especially since it said that a garter carriage was required. Well, thanks to Cathie, I checked further and found Milla's site, she has quite a few pretty patterns for illusion knitting and also describes how to convert her charts to hand knitting. Linda's site also has a picture of a sweater knitted in this technique as well as instructions for making your own patterns. Both ladies were kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Since I could not immediately figure out how to do this on our machine, I did a small hand knitted sample and the fog slowly began to's a child's sweater that I knitted on the Bond using the chart below. To knit the heart pattern by hand click here:

When you look at the sweater from the front, you see red and white vertical stripes and a shadow of what appear to be white hearts, but as you turn it sideways, you'll see a solid white background with red hearts. It's really amazing, I had never seen this before! Here is how it works:

You use two contrasting colors, one for the background and one for the pattern. For the chart below, you would start with red yarn and knit two rows. You then reform all the stitches ( use the latch hook tool just as you would in ribbing) represented by red squares on Row 2 of the chart to knit stitches. Only the stitches of row 2, not the ones from row 1! Then you knit two rows with white yarn and reform all the stitches represented by blue squares on Row 4 to knit stitches also. This process is repeated throughout. The red reformed stitches, in my chart, will make up the hearts, the white reformed stitches will make up the background. You basically end up reforming an entire row of stitches in all every four rows.

With a garter carriage this naturally goes much faster and an entire sweater can be knitted with an allover pattern like this one. The sweaters must always be knitted sideways, otherwise the effect would not be there. On the Bond, I would stick with a front panel knitted in this technique. You could knit the back and sleeves the normal way and then add the ribbings. Or you could knit the entire sweater sideways but knit everything but the front panel in one or the other color. You'll have vertical stripes on the front and the pattern will appear and reappear as you turn, really interesting! Or you could just make a sample and let your friends wonder how you did it! :)

Here is the Chart:

The pattern stitch repeat is 16 sts and 72 rows and begins with column 2 on the left side. There is more than one sideways repeat of the pattern as I wanted to knit a large enough sample. Yarn used was Red Heart 4-ply and keyplate 3.



I still haven't found a quick way to add numbers to the pictures, so you would want to mark the row and stitch numbers. It also helps a lot to mark the stitch numbers on the needle bed. A multiple latch hook tool comes in handy, but the sample can be done without it. Let me know if you have any questions and what you think if you try this technique!



Click here for another Illusion Knitting Sample

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This page was last updated on - 16 Feb - 2004