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February 23, 2008
Illusion Tulips 1 is a great example of Shadow Knitting which is not a very known technique. From the front, only the stripes appear, while from an angle the lovely flowers forms. =MuseSusan came up with the pattern herself and is kind enough to share it!
Featured by Myana
Suggested by flutterbyfae
MuseSusan's avatar

Illusion Tulips 1

I've added the chart for this illusion to my scraps, here, along with some more general tips on illusion knitting and on this pattern in general. Please share if you use this pattern or are inspired by it! (And of course, please credit me if you use the pattern. :-) )

So this is a project I've been planning since sometime last spring, when these wonderful tulips bloomed again in the garden, which coincided with my seeing a picture of something called illusion or shadow knitting. Of course I had to try it, and the tulips seemed like an excellent subject.

Illusion knitting is, as you can see, a technique in which you pick two colors and knit stripes of them in such a way that, from the front, only the stripes appear, while from an angle a picture forms from the stripes that are visible. It's extremely easy to do--just knit two rows of each color, the first row always knitted, and in the second row, knit if you want that color to appear and purl otherwise (a grid helps to chart out the image and figure out which stitches to knit or purl). From the right side the purl bumps form the image.

A couple of things I've learned while experimenting for this project:
• You can (as you can see) use more than one color, but it helps to have one color that is always the background, and only vary the foreground color (or vice versa). Otherwise the illusion doesn't work as well.
• On the second row of each color (the row that actually creates the illusion) a single purl stitch or a single knit stitch won't show up right. You need at least two knits and two purls in a row in order for the purl bump to stick out and the knit to be hidden.

This was knitted with Caron Simply Soft yarn and took about three days, several hours each. I decided to make it into a pillow so that I could use the other side for another illusion idea I'd had, also involving a tulip, which you can see here!
Image details
Image size
576x521px 281.02 KB
Shutter Speed
10/16 second
Focal Length
11 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Sep 30, 2007, 5:55:15 PM
© 2007 - 2022 MuseSusan
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I would love to attempt this new knitting technique, but like others, I can't find the pattern. Can anyone please help.
Thanks, Susan
shardesg's avatar
I came here to get a knitting pattern for the Tulip Illusion. You speak about your pattern, but there are no instructions available. Where do I find them? Thanks
how much yarn did you use to make this, and what are the measurements?
I can download the picture, but can't get the pattern and have been directed here from 7 websites as here is where the pattern is
Nezusagi's avatar
Very amazing!
hert's avatar
Great illusion.
Moyruh's avatar
Ha, I remember seeing this a Long time ago here on dA, and thinking it was cool then. Just found you on Ravelry and found my way here again to go "I remember that tulip pillow!"
Great job!
MuseSusan's avatar
Cool, thanks for remembering! I've been a lot more active on Ravelry than here recently, but it's nice to see crossover between the two sites!
Moyruh's avatar
: ) You are very welcome. I saw the illusion knitting and I think its something I want to try, but we will see. Your Tulips are a great example for those of us who want to learn the technique. : )
MuseSusan's avatar
Have you seen Steve Plummer's work? He's one half of WoollyThoughts and he's been doing a bunch of really elaborate illusions recently, including very detailed pictures from Harry Potter, etc.
Moyruh's avatar
Yes! I have! They are insanely awesome! I wouldn't think it would be possible to do with only 2 or 3 colors, but he does. My favorite is the tiger. Once I figure out how to do the technique, I want to make the tiger for my husband. I think he will love it. Steve is in a word, genius! He is very talented. :)
cave-baby's avatar
atelierashes's avatar
that is REALLY cool... i don't think i've ever seen this technique before. nice work.
MuseSusan's avatar
:-) Thanks! It's not a totally uncommon technique, but I haven't seen it all that often.
pocket-full-of-posy's avatar
this is so awesome! I totally have to try this! And tell my knitting club friends :D
MuseSusan's avatar
Definitely give it a try! I'd love to see if you use the technique!
pocket-full-of-posy's avatar
I'll post it if I do!
osagelady's avatar
Congratulations! :heart:
osagelady's avatar
You're welcome!
GossamerInnocence's avatar
That's ridiculously cool. Makes me wish I could knit. :D
MuseSusan's avatar
:-) You could learn! There are some good books out there, or you could take a class!
GossamerInnocence's avatar
I plan on it, some day. I used to know when I was really little, since my grandma started to teach me before she died. Thanks for the encouragement! You give me something to aspire to. :)
Jonyx's avatar
Thats really cool.
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