Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ellusive Illusion

I have been having such fun tackling an illusion knitting project.  It is just the right combination of simple stitches (just knits and purls, nothing fancy) and complex combinations of them to keep me interested in the process.

I heard about illusion knitting at a Knotty Knitters gathering some time ago, and finally checked out the work of Steven Plummer and his website, Wooley Thoughts.  It gave me a giggle to read the description of the process of developing these patterns:

"In 2009 we suddenly took an interest in illusion knitting. It was very different from the mathematical work that can be found on the main part of the Woolly Thoughts site. As we searched the Internet we became more and more confused by the different descriptions and decided there had to be a better way so we looked at the technique with a mathematical, logical approach. Since then we have gone on to develop our own method of charting and, by doing so, we can now create far more complex designs than anything we had seen before.
Our method of charting can be used for anything from the simplest picture or lettering through to very complex illusions such as Mona Lisa or Girl with a Pearl Earring."

 I have never contemplated combining the idea of simplicity with a "mathematical, logical approach".  Obviously, Mr. Plummer's brain works far differently than mine!  That is a good thing, as I get to enjoy the fruits of his labor and just get a fun pattern to work on.  I mean, really.  Check these examples out:

Munch's The Scream

Nefertiti, in yarn.

Goodness.  Amazing, aren't they?  It must have taken ages to work out the formula for the correct sequence of stitches to make the definition and shading "pop".  Of course, as you work it, and look directly at it, all you see is a series of stripes.  It's only as you move the work, or move past it, that you see the image appear.

Whooo oooo...mind blowing, ain't it?  My little project is much smaller than these afghan-sized pieces, of course, but it has been so fascinating to work through the process.  My plan is to block thoroughly, and have it framed for a Christmas gift.  (Hence, I shall not be showing any examples of my own work here--spoiler alert!)  It isn't a knitting technique for the faint of heart, as you really are working on a leap of faith that it will, in fact, work out.  I can't wait to see the look on the recipient's face when it is unveiled!

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