Here’s the recipe for a rather nifty illusion. Mix almost equal parts of two DK weight contrasting colors. I used Plymouth Select DK Merino Superwash, in an olive green and a natural shade.
The rest of the recipe is just to knit and purl for a good long while, using the illusion technique of alternating the colors every two rows.
Wooly Thoughts, a/k/a Steve Plummer and Pat Ashforth, chart only the wrong side rows. But, no need to flip out even if you are chart-impaired because every stitch on every right side row is a knit stitch. And every white square is a purl. Even I can remember that…and I am easily confused by charts. I’m one of those folks who can’t make the symbol transition, typically, in charts that are knit flat rather than in the round. I have a lot of trouble training my brain that a dot on a right side row is a purl but a dot on a wrong side row is a knit. By contrast, illusion knitting charts are very easy to work with.
Bottom line. You will not find this difficult. At least not if you stick to the Wooly Thoughts patterns. I’ve done other illusions where the charting was less straightforward. The designers are correct when they say that “if you can knit, purl, and count, you can do this.”
As you knit, the illusion appears–but it only clearly appears when you look at it from the side.
Otherwise, what you see looks a bit like messy garter stitch, but with stockinette in between the ridges. This illusion is also interesting because the background color shifts near the mid-point of the blanket.
It’s tough knitting to photograph though. It turned out to be a wonderful lightweight blanket and will work well even as a carseat blanket.
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.