Create Illusions with Stripes and K1-Below

The Bezold Hat and Cowl set utilizes differing stripe sequences and the k1-below technique to create variations in color dominance—or is that just the Bezold Effect at work?

The Bezold Effect is an optical illusion: a color may appear to be different depending on its relationship to adjacent colors. The hat and cowl set demonstrates the effect with two colors worked in a k1-below pattern. By working this stitch pattern with varying combinations of stripes, you can produce fabrics that have a different appearance. Because both projects are worked in the round, it’s easy to switch colors every round (instead of every other row, as stripes worked flat must be).

K1-Below (K1B)

To k1-below, insert the point of the right needle into the space beneath the purl bump of the stitch that’s next on your left needle, wrap the yarn around the needle, and make a knit stitch as usual. When you do so, the new stitch traps the stitch below in a lifted position with a normal knit stitch on the needle. Having this yarn run at an angle changes the appearance of the fabric.

The Stitch Pattern

Rnd 1 *K1, p1; rep from * to end.
Rnd 2 *K1, k1B; rep from * to end.
Rnd 3 *P1, k1; rep from * to end.
Rnd 4 *K1B, k1; rep from * to end.
Rep Rnds 1-4 for patt.

Each of the swatches represents stripes knitted in a different sequence. Because of the deep texture created, one color can seem dominant, even when you’ve knitted the same number of rounds with each yarn.

Even without stripes, the basic stitch is texturally interesting, as you can see in Swatch A.

Swatch A: One color all rounds

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Swatches B and C change color on every round but, as you can see, where the color is placed makes a tremendous difference.

Swatch B: 4 rounds repeated in colors as follows: MC, CC, MC,CC

optical illusion

Swatch C: 4 rounds repeated in colors as follows: CC, MC, CC, MC

optical illusion

Swatches D and E change color every two rounds but by offsetting the pattern by one round, you change the visual presentation drastically.

Swatch D: MC, MC, CC, CC

optical illusion

Swatch E: CC, MC, MC, CC

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In this case, you’re working within the restriction of a four-round repeat. Striping patterns can be extended over multiple repeats to achieve different looks. In the hat and cowl set, I’ve chosen a striping pattern that shades from dark to light, but you can alter the pattern to customize your pieces.

BARBARA BENSON is a designer and photographer in Georgia. She is an instructor for Interweave Yarn Fest 2019. Find out more about Barbara.

optical illusion

The Bezold Hat and Cowl set by Barbara Benson. Photography by Harper Point Photography.

This article originally appeared in Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2013.

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