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11 Optical Illusions with Free Knitting Patterns

By: Caitlin Kavanaugh, Editor for

Have you ever tried making an illusion knitting pattern?  From one angle, all you see are stripes.  Look at the pattern from a different angle and a hidden design will appear.  While it might sound complicated, the technique of illusion knitting is surprisingly simple.  By carefully plotting out how you feature two different colors of yarn, you can create a hidden image in the fabric you knit.  This image, which can be anything from a knit sun to an actor's face, is only visible from an angle. This method works best with garter stitch and the stockinette stitch; both which are easy for beginner knitters to master.  Alternatively called shadow knitting, illusion knitting can also be used to create what appears like "shadows" in a knitted garment.  This is accomplished just by alternating knit and purl rows using different colored yarn.   

In honor of this unusual knitting technique, we've compiled our list of 11 awesome simple knitting patterns that all feature optical illusions.  Enjoy 11 Optical Illusions with Free Knitting Patterns in this great collection.  Look closely at each pattern - from different angels, a new design will appear.

11 Optical Illusions with Free Knitting Patterns Table of Contents

Dishcloth Patterns
Scarf Patterns
More Illusion Knits


Dishcloth and Bath Patterns

Have some fun in the kitchen with these intriguing patterns that all feature a hidden design.

Illusion Knitting Dishcloth
Sunrise Illusion Face Cloth
Follow the Yellow Knit Road
Drops of Water Illusion Face Cloth
Vintage Flowers Illusion Face Cloth
Eighth Notes Illusion Face Cloth

Scarf Patterns

Illusion knitting isn't just for the home.  Create fashionable scarves using this ancient technique; your friends are all bound to be impressed.

Double Heart Knit Illusion Scarf
Duckie Illusion Scarf
Pink Ribbon Illusion Scarf


More Illusion Knits

Whether you knit your own pillow for the living room or if you decide to tackle the intricate-looking Shadow Cardigan below, you'll love how easy it is to create an optical illusion using just yarn and your knitting needles.

Illusion Tulips Pillowcase
Shadow Cardigan





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