Optical illusions are meant to deceive the eye. Unfortunately the camera does not always do justice to them. Designs that work well in real life are often less impressive on the page. Some designs need to be seen at a particular size, or from a certain vantage point and this effect may be destroyed by a photograph. Optical illusions generally work better on flat pieces such as afghans, wall-hangings and cushions. Any movement changes the way the design is seen so the effect is usually lost. See more illusion sweaters on the Irrationals page. The technique known as Illusion Knitting is very different from representing an optical illusion on a piece of knitting. See our World of Illusion Knitting site.
Cubes are a popular form of optical illusion. This design looks good at all sizes and from all angles. It is easy to reproduce in three or more shades, with cubes of any size. It is made entirely in garter stitch from squares and parallelograms. It can be made in any yarn to fit anyone. Instructions can be found in Woolly Thoughts. See Cubism afghan and Cubism cushion.
The careful placing of the coloured shapes make this a stereogram (Magic Eye). Look ‘through’ the design and some colours appear to be floating on the surface and some are in the background. The effect can easily be seen on the finished garment when it is laid flat. The photograph shows the front so you probably will not see the effect as it is broken up by the button band. When the jacket is worn, the effect can only be seen if the person stands still. There is no pattern available for the jacket but we do have a pattern for a Stereogram cushion, which could be adapted. We also have a small booklet about drawing Sterograms.
This machine-knitted sweater was inspired by Roman Mosaics. It is another way of depicting cubes. It appears to use three colours but there are only two. The top faces of the cubes consist of alternate stitches of the two colours.