Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


The Sleepyz Blanket: Making Zs by Trial and Error

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



Make It! Challenge #4: Crochet Batman Mask


Hi there! I’m sorry but I’ve chosen to remove this pattern. Also many apologies, but I’m not able to send you a copy. The truth is that this was not a good pattern. I wish I could invest time and energy to improve it and re-release it, but in the years since this pattern was originally posted several other people have designed Batman masks that are even better! I suggest that you search “Batman mask” on Ravelry or try this tutorial on YouTube: https://youtu.be/DScvgRQnbo8
Sorry again that I wasn’t able to help you make a Batman mask, but I wish you the best of luck. ~ Jennifer, 21 March 2019


2013 Predictions: The Year of Whimsy

  1. Pantone chose emerald green, but my color of the year is lemon zest, a light yet vibrant and fresh color to accent all the carefree moments and exciting surprises I feel this year has in store.
  2. In 2013, we will wear photo prints. And I’d like to take this one step further: wouldn’t it be awesome if someone developed a website for people to order fabric or even garments printed with their own photos? If this already exists, please let me know!
  3. Jewelry design will be lighthearted and nostalgic. We will wear lacy, airy pendants, brooches, and bracelets; barely there fine metal chains; and simple pieces in single colors and geometric shapes.
  4. First came Ravelry, then came Craftsy. In 2013, someone will create a website where crafters can actually teach each other in real time.
  5. We will want more handmade goods. You’ve all heard of Etsy, but other sites like Fab, Dawanda, Folksy, and icraft.ca will gain in popularity this year.
  6. Food trucks will team up to create food trains.
  7. We will wear socks so bright and playful that it’ll become standard to wear them knee-high with sandals just to show them off.

I’m gonna love 2013!