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Mental Blocks

The World of Illusion Knitting

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An optical illusion afghan or wall-hanging.

The name comes from a quote by Albert Einstein:

The mere formulation of a problem is far more often essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science

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A New Angle


The choice of colours is important for the effect to work. One colour must look as though it is a ‘shadow’ of the other.

The third yarn can be any light, bright colour that looks as though it could have light shining through it.

Any type of yarn can be used.





Making Waves

Rule of Three

Tower Blocks




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Order of Magnitude


The squares are knitted individually and stitched together.

The coloured centre of each piece is worked as a mitred square. The two sides are worked separately but are linked together as they are knitted.

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The version in the photos is only about one metre square. If you want to make it bigger, the pattern gives instructions for changing the overall size in a variety of ways. It also gives several variations of the design

This afghan was knitted by Karen Basen-Engquist in Houston, TX.

I liked the pattern - it was a good project to take with me when I travel, because I could just take a few squares. I made it for my nephew’s high school graduation. It seemed like it would make a good dorm room afghan. I wanted to do it in his school colors, but he took too long to decide, so I went with the white and gray - am very glad I did, as I think it turned out well.



KellyK made this colourful version as a baby blanket. These are the notes from her Ravelry project:  

12/18 I’m trying working the blanket backwards, CO 72 with 2 main colors and decreasing in the middle every other row, while also doing an intarsia crossover.

12/19 My plan was only good in theory. Intarsia in garter st looks odd where the colors meet. Creates a crooked line. So, Im being a good girl and following directions. :)

I am finding it useful to twist the picked-up edge stitch on the darker color. I insert my L needle from the back of the work, then knit into the front of that stitch. It creates a tighter join and looks neat.

1/16 Finished the last of the 25 blocks. Almost 1 month, although modular knitting always feels like it goes by faster for me. Will start picking up for the edging tomorrow!