©Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer 2021

©Pat Ashforth & Steve Plummer 2021

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My first illusion knit was a scarf for my daughter Isabella a few years ago, from a free pattern I found on Ravelry which featured skulls on the bottom. So, when I found out earlier this month about a local community arts challenge with the theme of, "FACES," I thought, hey, I can knit a face! So I started searching for patterns.

I found Steve Plummer’s free pattern, "Lady with an Ermine-Head” and started knitting that. But then I felt that since I was entering an art contest, it would be better if I developed my own project from scratch, rather than just knitting from someone else's pattern. So that meant I had to make my own illusion knit pattern! I spent too much time on the web and YouTube looking for instructions and then finally took the plunge.

First I wanted to find a photo that wasn't too detailed, so I chose one of my daughter's head shots (she's an actress). Then I converted it to black and white and found a way online to make a grid out of it.

And then I got knitting! Each row in the grid actually consists of four rows. The first row of each color is just knit across. Then the pattern is worked back along the wrong side rows. So you knit two rows in one color, and then two rows in the other color, changing the knits and purls depending on which color you want to show up. My 90-row grid actually consisted of 360 rows of knitting!

The deadline to enter the arts challenge was November 1st, and I started this project around October 10. I figured I'd have to knit about two hours a day to get it done in time. And then, I ran out of yarn!

I ordered more yarn and knitted a couple of quick hats while I waited for it to arrive. It was nice to finish something!

Then, back to this project. I had to knit pretty far in before I could really get a sense that the illusion knitting was working. I knitted a little border on it and blocked it a bit so it would lay flat. The ends still curve in a bit. I will probably mount it to a dowel or a board for display in the arts challenge, if it gets selected. Yes, I made the deadline and entered the contest on October 30. I’m really happy with how it turned out! Thanks to Pat and Steve for their inspiring work!

Ilene Puente


Please note that Ilene was inspired by Woolly Thoughts designs and tutorials.
The method she used is not the same as that described in the tutorials.