Collage of handknit items with text overlay reading "Fasten Off YAL Designer: Nov 25th - Dec 31st"

Fasten Off Yarnalong Starts Today!

The Fasten Off Yarnalong, an annual off-Ravelry stitchalong, begins tonight (at 9pm ET), and I am once participating as a designer.

There are 109 designers participating this year, with patterns for knitting, crochet, and Tunisian crochet. The event will kick off with a sale of 25% off select patterns from participating designers, with code FO2022. All my individually priced patterns will be on sale in my Payhip, Ravelry, and Etsy shops (note that the event will be run off Ravelry).

The discount period will last through December 8th, so there’s no pressure to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday if you’d rather enjoy family time. The Yarnalong itself will run through December 31st.

You can find all the details on how to participate, and search the database for designers and patterns, at the link below. If you’re planning to knit a few holiday gifts this season and would like some company, and fun games and prizes, come join me!


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New Fall Knitting Patterns

I’m delighted to have three new fall patterns just released as part of the Valley Yarns Designer Series. I designed these around the theme of Fall on Campus, with an eye on creating easy wardrobe pieces you’ll turn to again and again.

The first pattern is the Campus Cardigan (pictured above) – a modern take on the classic v-neck cardigan featuring a relaxed fit with straight shaping, colorblocking, and set-in pockets. Knit in Valley Yarns Northampton, this cardigan is sure to become a wardrobe staple.

The cardigan is knit in one piece from hem to underarm, then back and fronts are worked separately and joined with a 3-needle bind off. Sleeves are knit flat and seamed. The pattern is available as an individual download or a kit, and the finished chest size ranges from 34 – 66 inches with a suggested ease of 4-6 inches; see this post for my suggestions on choosing a sweater size.

The second pattern in the collection is a pair of Fair Isle mittens, also in Valley Yarns Northampton. The Snowbound mittens feature a long ribbed cuff to keep the snow out, and integrated thumb gusset. The colorwork motif occurs after the thumb shaping and uses only two colors, making it a perfect first Fair Isle project. The mittens can also be purchased as a kit, and the pattern is written for 3 sizes, so you can make a pair for the whole family.

Photo courtesy of WEBS

Last but not least, you’ll need a cozy hat and cowl to go with those mittens, and what better way to add a pop of color and texture to your winter clothes. The Golden Hour hat and cowl feature squishy cables in Valley Yarns Valley Superwash DK. The hat is written for two sizes, the cowl for one generous size, and a kit is also available for this pattern.

Photo courtesy of WEBS

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Picking Up Stitches for an Afterthought Thumb

The March Flowers Mitts pattern uses an afterthought thumb – similar to an afterthought heel on a sock – to avoid interrupting the colorwork on the mitt and provide an easy, neat finish. The downside of this is that it doesn’t fit as well as a mitt with a thumb gusset. However, I envisioned these mitts as a perfect quick knit to throw on during those chilly spring morning and then tuck in your pocket when it warms up. The afterthought thumb suits my purposes perfectly.

It can be a bit tricky to pick up the stitches neatly once you’ve removed the waste yarn, so I prefer to do it while the waste yarn is still in place. In the photo below I’ve placed the stitches on the two tips of my circular needle. You can see the blue waste yarn in between.

Picking up the thumb stitches with waste yarn in place.

Picking Up the Thumb Stitches

When you pick up the stitches, you need to pay attention to three rows of stitches:

On the bottom you have a row of stitches where the top of the ‘v’ meets the waste yarn: in the middle the row made by the waste yarn, which will be removed in the next step; and on top a row of stitches where the bottom of the ‘v’ meets the waste yarn.

To pick up the stitches, keep the mitt facing up, and insert a needle tip into the right leg of the ‘v’ in the row above and below the waste yarn. You can then safely unravel the waste yarn (if you are using a long circular needle shifting the stitches onto the cable will make this easier), and you will be left with live stitches on the needles.

Picking up Stitches in the Gap

The other tricky thing about the thumb is picking up the stitch in the gap on either side so that you get a neat finish. Since I’m working the thumb in the main color, I created my stitch by picking up a bar of the main color along the edge of the gap and knitting through the back loop. Below you can see the tip of the needle has been inserted into the green bar that will be picked up.

Picking up a stitch in the gap.

I hope this tip helps, and please tag your projects #MarchFlowersMitts and #BullockOzkanDesigns. I love to see your creations!


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Choosing Colors for the S’mores Cowl

Now that the S’mores Cowl has been released as an individual pattern, I wanted to share some tips on how to choose colors for colorwork knitting. I designed the S’mores Cowl to be a good pattern for knitters who are new to colorwork. I chose two simple motifs and just three colors, varied the background and foreground colors and pattern placement to achieve a more complex look without being intimidating to knit. The pattern achieves variation by first switching the background color while keeping the same color in the foreground, and then going back to the original color combination but switching the background and foreground colors.

I’ve knit two sample cowls, one in more neutral colors (above) and one in brighter colors (below), to show different options. Although the final look is quite different, I used the same process to choose both sets of colors.

The most important thing you need to look at is the contrast in your color choice. Both sample cowls use two darker colors for the background and a lighter color for the foreground. This is more obvious in the neutral sample (let’s call it Sample #1), but if you look at the colors for Sample #2 in black and white, you can see it’s true for that one as well. Although they are all ‘bright’ colors, the yellow appears lighter in the black and white photo. You could also reverse this and use lighter colors for the background and a darker color for the motif.

What if you want to knit a pattern with more than three colors? I used four colors in my Rionnag Cowl and Hat (below) patterns and varied the contrast levels a bit within motifs. In that case, I paired two lighter colors as either the background or motif colors, one dark color, and one brighter color – the brighter color is in between the light and dark colors in grayscale, so can be paired with either one. Another trick I used to choose the colors for the Rionnag samples is that I essentially used only three colors – three hues in color terminology, but for the fourth color I picked a different shade of one color. So in the blue and yellow sample, I chose light gray, yellow, and two shades of blue. For the other sample, I choose a warmer light gray, orange and again light blue – and for the fourth color I chose a brown, which you can think of as being a darker shade of orange. By keeping two of the colors in the same family you can keep the pattern from looking too busy. You can see this in traditional Shetland and Fair Isle colorwork – using many shades in the same color family to achieve the subtle gradations that style of knitting is known for.

I hope these tips help to make choosing colors less intimidating. Please share your projects using #BullockOzkanDesigns and #SmoresCowl or #RionnagHatAndCowl. I’d love to see what you create! For more tips like this subscribe to my newsletter below. You’ll also receive a discount code for 30% off an individual pattern in my Ravelry shop.

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