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The Sleepyz Blanket: Making Zs by Trial and Error

16 Comments

Crochet ZI usually do things the hard way. Remembering this whenever I am struggling with a design has often helped me to stop and look for an easier solution. Still, it usually takes many attempts and a significant amount of frustration before I see the easier path open up before me.

There are a few things in particular I strive for when creating a pattern: (1) I really do try to make it as easy as possible, (2) I hate having to cut and reattach yarn and weave in ends, so I try really hard to limit the number of FOs there are in a pattern, and (3) I also hate having to sew things together, mostly because it creates more ends to weave in, so I try to create designs that can be crocheted in one piece.

Taking all that into consideration, here is the process I went through to create the Z-motif pattern for the Sleepyz Blanket. I was really perplexed by this task for some reason. It took me a whole day to figure it out. It didn’t seem to matter what angle I approached it from, it just wasn’t working. But one of the great things about crochet is that there are usually several ways to achieve any one look. It all depends on the approach. If one thing isn’t working , just try something else.

So I looked at the Z from several different angles. I started off thinking of the shape as a “7” with a leg on the bottom. I started with a chain and single crocheted about three quarters of the way up the chain, put 3 single crochets in one stitch to turn around the corner, and then single crocheted in each chain along the top. But that meant I would have to go around and back down to create the other leg and that would give the legs an uneven thickness. Plus I was having trouble wrapping my brain around how to do an interior bend (the opposite of the 3-scs-in-1 stitch). So I gave that up pretty quickly.

Next I thought of the shape as 2 Vs that connect at the center. I found a pattern in one of my books that made a V by doing a decrease that skips one st in the center. First you insert your hook and pull up a loop, sk 1 sc, pull up a loop in the next sc, yo and pull through the 3 loops on your hook, and ta-da, you have a V! This created a nice V, but putting them together to form a Z was really silly. I even felt the need to sew them together with a contrasting yarn, thinking that maybe it could double as the Z’s mouth… and eyes!

Finally my husband came home and saw what a mess I had made with these Zs and said, “Why can’t you just make it one piece?” I started to answer, “Because I can’t do the corner the same way on both sides… wait — Eureka!!! I learned how to do both turns today, I just hadn’t put it all together until now!”

So I ran into the other room, pulled out my graph paper and drew out the Z, with 3-sc-in-1 turns at the top and decreases that sk 1 in the center at the bottom. After that, the pattern just came right together. After making a few more Zs I discovered that changing the decrease at the bottom to “pull up 1 loop in ea of the next 3, sk, pull up 1 loop” creates a tighter angle that does a better job of holding the lower leg perpendicular.

And that’s how I came up with my Z. I can’t believe that it took me so long to come to such a simple conclusion, but I told you… I always have to do things the hard way first.

Stay tuned and I’ll reveal the Z pattern when I publish the complete Sleepyz Blanket pattern in April.

Other articles in this series:

Big Decisions to Make

Introducing the Sleepyz Blanket

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16 thoughts on “The Sleepyz Blanket: Making Zs by Trial and Error

  1. I know how frustrating it can be sometimes. The best way to overcome it not to continue what you’re trying but to leave all sit for a while. This is what I do. Your mind will work it out for you :D
    In such situations I take and do completely different thing, or go for a walk, or do something that has nothing to do with crochet. Sometimes it takes few hours for the light to turn on in my head, and sometimes it takes a week or even more. All this time I feel restless and think about it, but important is that don’t feel frustration by trying it over and over it in vain.
    Glad it took you so fast to come to right pattern and make this beautiful Z ! :D
    Now when Y is done, hope the rest of the blanket will go smooth. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to see your blanket done.

    • Vanja, that is GREAT advice! I wonder if it would be okay for me to email you next time I’m stuck so you can remind me. ;) Whenever I have a rare day off I feel so pressured to get as much done as I can. That probably doesn’t help things either. I’m learning, somewhat slowly, how to balance everything. When I’m at my job, I often wish that I could be crocheting. But now I think I’ll remind myself at those times that work is good too… because it provides a downtime from crocheting so I can ruminate on the ideas. You’ve given me so much to think about. Thank you for your encouragement and thoughtful advice. You’re the best!

  2. Sorry but i had to laugh while reading this. I also have to do everything the hard way. But oh so proud of myself when when the nickel finally hits the slot and it all comes together. I’m going to enjoy following you.

    • Hi Shirley! Thanks so much for stopping by. I don’t mind your laughter at all. I have to chuckle at myself all the time too! Especially at the struggles I go through before it all comes together. Sometimes I come up with the craziest things. But as you say, it feels so good to finally get it right. Gotta love that sense of accomplishment. It makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? I’m so happy to meet you. Welcome to the picnic!

  3. You have done the hard work for the rest of us. Also your husband is “an ideas man”!

  4. “There are a few things in particular I strive for when creating a pattern: (1) I really do try to make it as easy as possible, (2) I hate having to cut and reattach yarn and weave in ends, so I try really hard to limit the number of FOs there are in a pattern, and (3) I also hate having to sew things together, mostly because it creates more ends to weave in, so I try to create designs that can be crocheted in one piece.”

    Ahhhhh…music to my ears!! Are you a mindreader??? Because you’ve just read my mind when it comes to crochet!

    I loooooove reading about your process, and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished blanket :o)

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Going to be great!!! I can not wait to see the finished piece!!

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