Photo of Steve Plummer

Praying Hands Illusion Shawl

from Woolly Thoughts Illusion Knitting
(6) Name: 'Knitting : Praying Hands Illusion Shawl
Praying Hands Illusion Shawl
Praying Hands Illusion Shawl
Praying Hands Illusion Shawl
Praying Hands Illusion Shawl

Basic Skills Necessary:

  • Knit
  • Purl
  • Knit two together
  • Knit into front and back

Pattern Description:

When you look directly at illusion knitting you see only stripes. When you look from an angle the hidden picture is revealed.

This pattern has instructions for making a shawl or a wall-hanging. Alternatively, you could make the shawl and hang it on the wall when you are not wearing it. One of the photos shows the shawl hanging on the wall.

This illusion is based on a drawing by Albrecht Drer. It is commonly known as The Praying Hands but is also known as Hands of the Apostle. The original drawing was a preparatory sketch, nearly five hundred years ago, for a painting on an altarpiece which was later destroyed in a fire. It was on blue paper, which is why we chose blue for the shawl.

The image is often seen in the form of an engraving which is why we chose copper colours for the wall-hanging.

The versions shown in the photos were made in Double Knitting (DK) yarns. You could use other yarns but this would change the overall size. The shawl is about 140 cm (56") wide and 70 cm (28") deep excluding the edging. The wall-hanging is about 48 cm (19") wide and 70 cm (28") high.

Some of the photos show what you see when you look straight at the knitting.

Illusion knitting (which is also known as shadow knitting) is very easy. It uses one yarn at a time and only basic knit and purl stitches.

Sizing / Finished Measurements:

  • Shawl: 140 cm x 70 cm (56" x 28") excluding edging.
  • Wall-hanging: 48 cm x 70 cm (19" x 28")


  • Shawl: 270 metres (300 metres) DK in each of two colours
  • Wall-hanging: 400 metres (440 yards) DK in each of two colours
  • Other yarns can be used
  • Needles slightly smaller than recommended for your chosen yarn

You Will Also Need:

  • Stitch markers

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