©Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer 2021

©Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer 2021

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Is it possible to crochet illusion designs?

It is possible to create illusions using Tunisian crochet. We have tried this and, because crochet is more chunky than knitting, we were unhappy with the amount of detail that can be included. There are web sites with some information and we have been told that our simpler charts can be used.

Update: The Woolly Thoughts group on Ravelry has information from other people who have successfully used our patterns for crochet illusions.

Can thick yarns be used?

Any thickness of yarn can be used. If you use very thick yarns you may need to stand further away to see the illusion to best effect.

If you are thinking of using your illusion as a floor rug, the yarn must be suitable for walking on without flattening, otherwise your design will not be visible when it has been walked on for a while.

What yarns do you use?

Our favourite yarn is Stylecraft Special DK. It is a very inexpensive yarn and comes in 56 shades. It is 100% acrylic so can easily be washed and dried. Unlike some yarns, there is no variation in thickness or softness between different colours. Knots are very rare.

Illusions work equally well in acrylics and natural fibres.

What needles do you use?

Our favourite needles are KnitPro interchangeables. We use them for everything we do. We have cables in all the sizes in the range but it is not necessary to buy the longest cables as shorter cables can be joined with connectors. The smallest size in the interchangeable range is 3 mm so when we are working with finer yarns we use KnitPro fixed circulars.

Pat’s preference is to work on the shortest needle that all the stitches will fit on to. This does not allow the work to be spread out so, after every ten ridges she knits on to a larger needle, spreads out the work to make sure there are no mistakes, then knits back on to the shorter needle.

Steve’s preference is always to work on a needle where the work can be laid flat at any time.

How do you use stitch markers?

All of our illusion patterns are marked with red lines every ten stitches and every ten ridges. Placing stitch markers on the needle helps to make sure you know where you are.

Steve’s method: Place stitch markers every 20 stitches.

Pat’s method: Use colour-co-ordinated markers every ten stitches. 10, 30, 70, 90, etc. have white markers; 20, 40, 60, etc. have pink markers; 50, 100, 150, etc. have blue markers.

What do I do if I want to put pictures on both ends of a scarf?

One option is to knit the scarf as two identical pieces and graft them in the centre.

Alternatively, when you are ready to start the picture at the second end, turn the chart upside down. The two pictures will not be exactly the same but the differences are so slight that you would only notice them if you were to put them side-by-side and compare them closely.

If you want to create a mirror image of the original picture, you can keep the chart the same way up and work from the top downwards. Do not do this with any chart that has lettering or other directional design.

Would an illusion knit make a good floor rug?

We haven’t tried this but we believe that walking on the illusion would flatten the ridges of knitting and the illusion would soon become very blurred.

Does the illusion have to be on a flat surface?

Some geometric illusions still work, to a certain extent, even if they are not completely flat (See Tea Cosies). It is much more difficult to see a picture if it is not flat.

Can I add lettering?

Yes we have a pattern for several alphabets, in different orientations.  

Do the yarns have to be solid colours?

For a very simple ‘block’ design you can use a variegated yarn for the background and a solid for the design. Once you add shading to a design (as in our portraits and art works) a variegated yarn confuses the shading and it will not be as effective.

Two variegated yarns can be successfully used together in some circumstances (See Honeycomb Shawl).

Can illusions be knitted in the round?

Yes, with a little modification. The Gift of Life is an example of a scarf knitted in the round, with two sets of lettering.

The Woolly Thoughts group on Ravelry has a lot of useful information about illusion knitting. It is free to join and open to anyone.