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Mental Blocks

The World of Illusion Knitting

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Every time you look at this optical illusion afghan you will see something different!

Make sense of one part and something else will go wrong.

The eye is always trying to make sense of what it sees but this afghan constantly confuses the brain.

There is nothing intrinsically mathematical about this design but we learned a long time ago that anything that forces children to use mathematical language to explain a point has to be important for mathematical development. Window Boxes certainly makes them talk and within a very short space of time they need the words to express the ideas

Look at a window as the end of an open structure such as an open tube and it provides opportunities for looking at 3D shapes and starting to think about what is inside and what is outside.

If the windows are on the front of tubes and we are looking into the tubes how do those ‘roofs’ or ‘church towers’ suddenly loom up? Can we be inside and outside at the same time?

Should the boxes be going away from us in opposite directions? Are we looking at boxes with windows in front of them, or are we looking at square tubes with a thick purple end section?

What about the shapes between the windows. Is it merely a series of multi-coloured squares, with holes in the centre? Or stars? Can a square be the top of two boxes at the same time?

Scroll down for more information about

Window Boxes



A New Angle

Making Waves

Best of Both Whirls


Tower Blocks

Rule of Three


Some sections are made by picking up stitches from existing shapes and knitting on.  Those sections are then stitched together  and the squares stitched into place between them.


Four toning colours are needed, in any yarn. Two form the sides of the boxes, the third is for the windows and the fourth is for the ends of the boxes.The first two colours should be of equal intensity, neither being more obvious than the other. The third should be darker, the fourth lighter.

Change the size of the afghan by adding more blocks.

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