Squirrel Picnic

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The Sleepyz Blanket Crochet Pattern

The Sleepyz Blanket from Squirrel PicnicThe Sleepyz Blanket is the very first of what I’d like to call my story patterns — patterns that help to tell a story in both the finished piece and its creation. What I found through this project is that the story behind the piece continues to entertain as you’re crocheting. Each step in the pattern contains little prompts that will delightfully remind you of the story.

The story behind the Sleepyz Blanket, “All Tuckered Out,” is a creative take on why we get progressively sleepier as the day goes on. In this picture story, little creatures called Sleepyz climb up on you throughout the day with the intention of driving you back to bed.

The blanket illustrates the picture story in several ways, first by having you crochet several dozen Zs, the mischief-makers in the tale. The next part of the pattern has you crocheting the blanket and sewing on the Zs, which represents how the Sleepyz join forces by weaving themselves into a blanket. Each stitch in the blanket even corresponds to one of the methods employed by the Sleepyz to send you to dreamland. The resulting super soft and cuddly blanket makes you want to curl up and go to sleep.

This Sleepyz Blanket project has been quite a journey. And I’m so thankful to everyone for following along and having patience as I tried out yarns and tinkered with ways to construct the Zs and join them. Thanks so much for all your support and advice! I hope you enjoyed this series and the finished blanket and story.

Other articles in this series:

“All Tuckered Out”
Joining Forces
Crocheting Zs Everywhere I Go
Playing with Yarn
Making Zs by Trial and Error
Big Decisions to Make
Introducing the Sleepyz Blanket!

The Sleepyz Blanket Crochet Pattern

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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