More Than Meets the Eye

More Than Meets the EyeMore than meets the eye…
From the front, it’s just a normal grey jumper with a patch of stripes. But from the side… suddenly you’re an autonomous robot life form from Cybertron! (More photos available on Flickr and Ravelry.)

I’m proud to report that this is the first jumper that Snookums actually requested and helped design. Somehow he saw some shadow knitting and asked whether it would be possible to knit the Autobots logo onto the front of a jumper. I pondered this. Most examples of shadow knitting are scarves where you’re looking at the design from the bottom up (like in the Dark Mark Illusion Scarf). The Snook didn’t like the idea of having to do a back-bend for people to see the image, though. So then I toyed with the idea of knitting his jumper sideways from cuff-to-cuff… but that tends to make for a rather shapeless garment, and not something that looks very good on a guy. That left knitting the logo sideways and then rotating it ninety-degrees before incorporating it into the jumper. So that’s what I did. (Read past the jump for a link to download my chart.)

The pattern I settled on was Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Seamless Hybrid” from Knitting Without Tears, mostly because I’d never done saddle shoulders before. I was also greatly inspired by Brooklyn Tweed‘s gorgeous version. (I nicked his idea for doing contrasting hems.) The yarn is Filatura di Crosa Zara in #1469 (Dark Grey) and #1494 (Light Grey). I used about 12 of the main colour and 2 of the contrast. I experimented with different ways of “mounting” the shadow knitting, and ultimately what worked best was just sewing it in as I went along. (Which meant that I was knitting back and forth and leaving a “window” for the patch, so there was definitely purling involved.)

Okay, so the final verdict. I guess I’d give this about a 9 out of 10 rating. The shadow knitting worked great, and the Zara is a dream to knit with. (It also feels incredibly soft to wear, which is very important for the Snook, who finds most wool prickly.) I’m just not 100% happy with the fit of the shoulders, though. My gauge was off from Elizabeth’s sample so I had to scale it up a little bit, and I’m just not sure her percentages for the saddles work as well this way. I think once it has a wash and a press it’ll look better though. (That’ll also help with the way the patch slightly pulls in a bit.) The Snook is happy and he has a new jumper to wear with a few weeks of winter left, so that’s all that matters!Download my chart: Here’s a PDF file of the chart Snookums made for me. Start in the lower right and follow as you would any other knitting chart. If you’ve never done shadow or illusion knitting before, basically you’re just knitting 2-row stocking stitch stripes. Nothing difficult there, right? Well, occasionally – wherever there’s a dash on that chart – you knit instead of purl on the second rows. (So you’ll have garter stitch in that spot instead of stockinette.) And that’s it!

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  1. I need that chart so it can be crocheted for my grandson…please? How could I use it the way it is…I would sc each stitch and change colors..could each box just be a sc and the marked ones carry another color?
    Thank you!

  2. Ooh, I don’t think illusion knitting works with crochet, Joy. It’s not a picture chart that you knit simply by changing colours. The picture only appears because of the combination of raised purl bumps, which I don’t think you’d get with crochet.

  3. This may be a really stupid question (I’m a crocheter and rarely knit) But when one follows the pdf pattern, do you go from left to right each time? Or do you go from left to right then right to left and make it a continual pattern. Does that make sense? I’m partial through the pattern and I’m hoping I don’t have to start over! Thanks so much for anyones help!

  4. Hello! You start in the lower right and make a continuous pattern. Since you’re turning at the end of each row, you have to switch between right-to-left and left-to-right each time. There are charts where you always start on the same side, but that’s only if you’re knitting in the round on circular needles. I hope you don’t have to start over!

  5. Thank you so much for getting back to me! I think I have to start over… But please correct me if i’m wrong, but since the illusion knitting is done ever other row, wouldn’t the worst thing that could happen would be the pattern would be mirrored? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. Or maybe I should just start over. >_

  6. Actually, I think you’re right! Since every other row is plain, all you’ll be doing is reversing the rows with the picture. So no worries; I don’t think you have to frog. 🙂

  7. Yay! Thank goodness! I finally figured out why I couldn’t see the image… I was using black and dark grey. I used the black for the dark area on the pdf pattern and the grey for the light. However, it is reversed from what I thought. It turned out to be a black transformer logo on grey. *Face palm* I guess this is my practice one… 😀

  8. Let me make sure I have this right: Did you knit the center completely seperate and then add it to the sweater or did you knit it from sleeve to sleeve? Thanks so much for sharing this pattern, my husband is going to wear this sweater out in a week!

  9. Hi Courtney – I knit the center completely separate, as its own square. Then I started knitting the jumper in the round up until the point where I wanted the patch to be. Then I casted off the right amount of stitches in the front, and from that point on I was knitting back and forth, leaving a “window” open in the middle. When I was about halfway up the height of the square, I started sewing it in (just to be sure my opening was the right size. So I’d knit an inch or two, and then sew it in some more, etc. So that center bit really is turned ninety degrees from the rest of the jumper.

  10. Brilliant pattern!!!!!!! My son is a huge Transformer fan, so this will be wonderful to knit up. Quick question … how big does the finished square end up being?

  11. Hi Becky. I’ll measure my husband’s and let you know…

  12. Grr. It’s actually vacuum packed (since it’s summer here), but I’m 99% sure it ended up being about 8″ square.

  13. Thanks for the pattern! It was my first time shadow knitting so I didn’t realise the dark colours on the chart is actually for the lighter coloured yarn and vice versa 🙁 Oh well, will try again!

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