Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Shawl


I didn’t design this, so I think I can say without boasting that this shawl is amazing. Heck, even if I did design it–or especially if I had–I could boast that this is one amazing illusion knit.

This is Steve Plummer’s incredible “Harry Potter’s Deathly Hallows Illusion” shawl. He’s WoolhelminaToo on Ravelry. The pattern is downloadable on Ravelry. Plummer has a very helpful website that sets out lots of information on illusion knitting, which some prefer to call “shadow” knitting. Especially for Plummer’s work, illusion knitting is more apt. He’s a knitting magician!

Here’s a video Plummer and Pat Ashforth (Woolhelmina on Rav) prepared to show off the Harry Potter illusion.

Honestly, if this were the Middle Ages we all might be burned at the stake for such knitting! Is that about the coolest knitting effect ever?

I’ve done simple illusion knitting before, like Elizabeth Fallone’s Spider Scarf and Donna Druchunas’s Hidden Cat Scarf. My first introduction to illusion knitting was Shetha Nolke’s Alien Illusion Scarf from Debbie Stoller’s first Stitch ‘n Bitch book. Taking nothing away from those more simple illusions, Plummer’s work is definitely several cuts above.

This shawl will be a holiday gift for a particular Harry Potter fan I’m very fond of. Yep, that would be Isaac’s mom. Here’s Isaac, just a few weeks old, wearing the Sorting Hat Grandma Me knit and felted for him. (Isaac sorted into Gryffindor, by the way).


My shawl follows Plummer’s pattern exactly, except that I decided not to add a border or fringe. The edges were very tidy and, though initially the ends curled a tad, a bit of steam solved that. To keep your edges neat, when you start a new color just enforce a rule that the new color always is added by going under the old color. Or, for that matter by always going over the old color. The point is just to be consistent.

And be sure to use stitch markers across your row. Every ten stitches works really well because that’s how Plummer’s pattern separates the stitches as the rows progress.

My shawl is knit in Plymouth Yarns Worsted Merino Superwash Solid, in gold and burgundy–the Gryffindor colors, of course. The yarn comes in many pure solids and has great stitch definition. For illusion knitting, solid colors work best and stitch definition is important.


Harry proved devilishly difficult to photograph. But you can see the illusion fairly well here even though it’s photographed almost straight on. In worsted weight, it’s a large-sized shawl. It could do double duty as a wall hanging. And it will make an interesting conversation piece just laying around on the back of a couch.


That’s the Deathly Hallows symbol on each end of the shawl.

Plummer’s directions on “how to” are excellent and very clear. Even if you’ve never worked this style of knitting before, if you know how to knit (every right side row is knit stitches only) and to purl you’ll be able to do this. The charts are small and you will need to enlarge them or work on a tablet with an App such as Goodreader or IAnnotate. In fact, the patterns have recently been updated to accommodate such Apps.

This was such a fun knit! I’m eager to try another. Possibly Mona Lisa. The Beatles would be a great wall hanging. But Plummer’s Hagrid’s shawl, that’s very special too. Albert Einstein is interesting for sure. Hmm.

Illusion Knitting

catIllusion knitting is the trickster technique of the knitting world.  It can’t be new.  Nothing can really be new in knitting, can it?  But my first experience of it was  knitting Elizabeth Fallone’s Shadow Spider Scarf in Shelridge Farm’s worsted weight yarn.   Knitters would say that yarn has a wonderful hand. I knitted most of the Spider Scarf while Steve and I stayed at Insel Haus on Michigan’s Bois Blanc Island during a weekend in January.  We were the only guests at Christa and Shelby Newhouse’s wonderful rambling B & B.  Christa is a master knitter and regularly teaches or hosts knitting retreats at Insel Haus.  We lucked out and were able to take a ferry over from Cheboygan.  The winter was mild.  The Straits of Mackinac hadn’t yet frozen.  Someone on the island needed a piece of heavy equipment so we hitched a ride with it.  Had to charter a small plane to get back though.  That was an interesting flight, flying unpleasantly low over the waves.

So, the way you knit an illusion is you trick the eye with alternating contrasting  colors knitted (and purled) in sets of four rows.  When you look straight at the scarf, you see what looks like somewhat messy garter stitch.  But look at it at with your eyes scanning its length and the motif appears.  In Fallone’s pattern, the illusion motif is big spiders creeping the length of the scarf.  Debbie Stoller’s  edgy first “Stitch ‘n Bitch” handbook contains Shetha Nolke’s cool Alien Illusion Scarf.  You knit, and pretty soon Roswell type alien heads appear, big dark eye sockets and all.  Here, in Donna Druchunas’s Hidden Cat Scarf, it’s cat faces that emerge.  Fun stuff, this knitting.  My version of the cat scarf is knit using Michigan’s own Stonehedge Farm Shepherd’s Wool, soft merino wool spun in East Jordan, Michigan.  That’s on the sunset side of the state, not the sunrise side closest to Long Lake.  Still good Michigan wool.  I’ll imagine some of the sheep grow their wool on the sunrise side.  Could be.  Could be.