Shadow Knitting: September Book Review

Shadow Knitting by Vivian Høxbro is a new addition to the Guild library.
Shadow Knitting, aka hidden or optical knitting is a simple but effective technique for creating a raised pattern in your knitting using a combination of garter and stockinette stitches and light and dark coloured yarns. The secret design is revealed when you look at the knitted fabric from different angles. Vivian says that the technique creates more subtle patterning than say Fair Isle or Intarsia. She was inspired by a Japanese knit.

Previously I borrowed Vivian’s other book called Domino Knitting (aka magic squares) from the library. There are several techniques that are common in the books, which made it quite easy to follow for a relatively new reader of knitting books and patterns. For me it was a natural progression from Domino to Shadow.
The basic techniques of shadow knitting are:

  • only use knit and purl stitches
  • always use at least one light and one dark colour
  • knit with only one colour at a time, alternating dark and light rows
  • keep patterns as large and simple as possible
  • use a chart for patterns to keep place of purl patterning, (stitch markers help too)

So far I’ve only managed to make the pot holder (made one in magic squares too!) it’s basic, but it looks quite good. And Vivian gives a good tip that a large piece must be knitted before the shadow patterns begin to show. Definitely not instant gratification like the magic squares, but an intriguing technique none the less. Her web site,, has more shadow knitting designs according to the book.
Anthea Stewart

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