I am so stinkin’ excited to get to share my latest magazine project with you at long last. My Zebra Bolster is in Simply Crochet Issue 79 and I love it! But guess what, I didn’t love it initially. I had an idea in my head for playing around with some zebra stripes, but I had to work through a few things to make it mag worthy.
I’ve never been a huge animal print kinda gal, but I do love bold patterns and colors. When my daughter got her own room, we embraced all things animal for her room decor. Even though we were on a shoestring budget, we were able to pull together pieces from Target clearance and secondhand items to coordinate with her warm color, stripy IKEA bedspread. For her 2yo birthday, she got a cozy, loungy mini-armchair with funky zebra stripes. This was, honestly, the first time I thought, “Huh - black and white, eye-catching pattern. What’s not to like about zebra stripes?”
When I thought of designing an animal print pattern - channeling my inner zebra seemed like a no-brainer. 🦓 You know what’s not a no-brainer? How to take orderly stitches and create an organic, varied pattern. Then having to re-insert regularity back in so that the maker a) didn’t go crazy from micromanaging stitch counts and b) could be bite sized enough to fit in a magazine.
My initial pitch was for a table runner with the stripes going the short way across. I thought this seemed like a good accent for some animal flair in home decor, but I had my creative blinders on a bit. I have only been in 3 places in my life where that would fit in. 1) the ridiculously posh and over-decorated apartment of the new divorcee for whom I babysat in college 2) the lux, grandiose holiday house in Birmingham we stayed at for my brother’s wedding and 3) a Rainforest Cafe franchise.
The editors sure know what they’re doing. They liked an element of the pattern, but identified it as a better fit for a decorative cushion. As soon as they said this, I felt silly for not seeing it myself. When they were thinking a long bolster pillow, we started workshopping various options. Which way should the stripes go? Border or no border? Zipper or buttons? It was one of those reverse hourglass dialogues where you start with a contained idea, branch out into all kinds of divergent possibilities and then home in on a far superior finished product.
And superior it is. It was a bit of a beast to get it to play how I wanted, but it was so worth it. I love this one! I love the large, long layout. I love how the horizontal stripes reach, stretch and lengthen. I love the long, easy sewed on zipper. And I love, love, love how the black border join is like a classy picture frame for your work.
So check it out! If you can’t access issue 79 of Simply Crochet, you can check out the pattern on Ravelry. Give it some love while you’re there and let me know if you give it a try!