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We occasionally have a disaster - and this is one of them.

The afghan looks good. The colours are dramatic, the arrangement of squares is interesting but the optical illusion just doesn’t work. The piece is too big.

The idea had been around for a long time and came from a well-known black and white tiling where the tiles are obviously in straight lines yet appear to get closer and further apart in a very erratic manner.

We had tried to use the illusion before. We had made a hat where the tiles were embroidered onto plastic canvas. The effect worked fairly well despite being on a curved surface. We also tried it on a sweater. It didn’t work. We put this down to the constant movement in any kind of garment but realised later that this wasn’t the whole solution.

For the design to have the greatest chance of success it had to be as regular as it could possibly be. This meant it needed the precision of a knitting machine. It was made in strips, alternating black and the strongest pink we could find (We thought white would get dirty too quickly).

After the strips were made came the job of joining them together. We tried this many ways and it became obvious that it was essential for there to be a continuous black line between the pink squares, otherwise there were no lines to even begin to confuse the eye. The most accurate way was to crochet the join from the right side.

In real life, if you focus on part of the design the lines do start to move around but it is almost impossible to continue to look at one area without being tempted to look at the rest. When it is scaled down as a photograph, or seen from a long distance, it becomes easier to see the illusion.

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Knitted in strips of alternating pink and black rectangles.


Machine knitted in stocking stitch, using DK yarns.


There is no pattern

for this afghan