Peek-A-Boo Shadow or Illusion Knitting

Halloween is fast approaching. This holiday is known for its ghosts, goblins, vampires, witches and other things that go bump in the night. Do you fear what might be lurking in the shadows. Is something really there or is it an illusion? Shadow or illusion knitting is what is happening.


 When viewed on an angle, the design in the knit appears, similar to viewing a hologram. This is the result of  using two contrasting colors of yarn, knitted in a two row striped pattern. The purl stitches (raised) block out the knit stitches (flat) and obscure the pattern.        


The design can be incorporated into a scarf,or on a sweater, it’s up to you.  If you have plans for using this effect for Halloween, let’s get started.

You will learn how to knit an illusion pattern as well as design a pattern of your own. For this example, we will be using the word “BOO”.

It is recommended to use sport weight ( 14 wpi) or worsted weight (12 wpi) yarn. Commercial or homespun yarns that  have an even thickness with little texture work well. Thick/thin yarns obscure the effect. Try using a size smaller needle then you would usually, for that weight yarn. It is better to knit tighter for this type of project.

The trick to shadow knitting is in reading the pattern. Each single row in the pattern represents 4 knitted rows. The first two rows (1 and 2) are of the pattern in your main color and the next two rows (3 and 4) are of the image in the contrasting color. Upon completion the pattern will be 4 times the original design.


Graph 1

Start with a piece of graph paper and copy some clip art, or draw a picture or a geometric design onto it. Refer to Graph 1. The design should be kept simple. Start with the bottom of the design and work towards the top. Assign each line a number… the first design line will be 2, the second design line will be 6, the third design line is 10, the fourth design line is 14 etc. (keep adding 4 to the previous line). You will explode each design line into four rows. (The design line will always be on the second of the four rows.) On another piece of graph paper the first line will be blank. Refer to Graph 2. Start the design on line 2. Line 3 will be blank. Line 4 will be the background (the negative of the design). Start reading and knitting the pattern from the bottom left, so you will have:


row 1 (5,9,13…): blank =  color A    knit entire row

row 2 (6,10,14…): design =  color  A   knit blanks, purl dots

row 3 (7,11,15…):blank  =  color B    knit entire row

row 4 (8,12,16…): background = color B    knit blanks, purl dots

Cast on 14 stitches, this is row 1. Row 2: 2K 10P 2K. Row 3: 14K. Row 4: 2P 10K 2P….continue

Remember: Purl the dots

Carry the yarn color change up the side.

I’m going to go now. You can find me on the couch, hiding under a blanket, with a candy apple, watching a spooky movie. Happy Halloween!


2 Responses

  1. Whoaaa that is incredibly impressive. What an effect!

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