How to CREATE a tangle pattern step-out

There are so many posts and pages still to be added to the site – don’t ask me to do this in a structured way ..haha.. I just let my brain spill for a moment.

Back in January 2016 I wrote a couple of entries on my ‘old’ blog.

What is missing is a guideline explaining how to create a tangle pattern and the step-out to go with it.

Patterns can be found all around us – in nature, in mathematics; if you look closely, you discover patterns everywhere.

Once you discover a pattern, you can try to deconstruct it (that topic needs to be discussed in more detail another time). Other times a pattern just happens in your head. Everyone has a different approach.

There is a difference between a tangle pattern and artwork. Once the instructions contain too many steps, I would rather call it artwork than a pattern. I did a bit of research to find out how many steps can be remembered by the average person. The research is based on remembering numbers.  The conclusion from reading different write-ups is, that your short-term memory can store a maximum of 4-5 numbers at a time. Of course you can use techniques to increase this, but that’s not the point. A pattern typically labeled beginners pattern usually does not exceed 4 steps! Go-to-patterns, the ones you keep using over and over again, have an average of 4 steps. Personally I don’t count the underlying framework as a step.

To summarise, the general structure is like this:

  • 2-3 steps = Base Pattern (a pattern that provides the structure for many new patterns)
  • 3-4 steps = Go-To-Pattern (those type of patterns are listed under Skill Level – Stage 1 patterns
  • 4-5 steps = Patterns that are harder to remember. People will only have a few stored in their long-term memory. Skill Level – Stage 2 patterns
  • 5-6 steps = This is getting really difficult – remembering so many steps will only happen if a person really LOVES a pattern and uses it over and over again. These patterns are listed under Stage 3 and Expert Patterns.
  • More than 6 steps = artwork

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. And it’s not a rule, just an explanation how patterns are sorted on this site. Then again, you click the link and find tons of 3 step patterns in the Stage 2 category. There is more to it than just counting the number of steps to define the difficulty of a pattern. It is a complex subject!

Tangle patterns need to be easy to draw. All tangle patterns (please note: TANGLE PATTERNS – not patterns in general) consist of simple strokes that anyone can draw. These shapes are:

Shapes used in Tangle Patterns

You could say that a drop is just an S-shape connected at the back. Arches are U-shapes, X and V are lines. It still leaves the spiral and the heart though. And some people may prefer to use the term drop, V, and X. And this is why all of my pattern step-outs refer to these shapes. Drawing an X for example is considered one step.

Repeating these shapes in a structured manner creates a tangle pattern. <phew – I think I explained this in plain english ..haha>

I need to stress again that this article refers to TANGLE PATTERNS – not to the method taught by Zentangle®! The subject of copyright will need to be discussed in another post.

Back to creating a tangle pattern step-out …

  1. Show the framework and mark clearly this framework is drawn in pencil or ink.
  2. Record each shape (as defined in the image above) as a new step, drawing this shape in red.
  3. Repeat drawing all shapes up to the point where the previous step ended. Then add the next step in red.
  4. Repeat until all steps are completed.
  5. Optional: add tangleation suggestions
  6. Provide a complete design, shaded or colored to give the artist an idea what the pattern looks like.
  7. Date and sign!

And this is how it will look like on this site:

Flower of Life Base Pattern

Naming your pattern:

Again, there are no rules, only suggestions.

  • When deconstructing an existing pattern, a pattern where you got your inspiration from nature, a quilt pattern, or your kitchen floor, try to locate the source. Log Cabin for example is a typical pattern used in quilting. Every quilter knows the pattern under this name. To avoid confusion I will name this pattern accordingly.
  • If I am unable to locate the original name, I will try to name the pattern in such a way that it can easily be remembered. Bubble Love is a good example.
  • Associating the name with the way it is drawn, is another possibility. Take Ududu – once you know that Ududu stands for “up-down-up-down-up”, you will easily remember the name and how it is drawn.
  • And then you get patterns that are similar to existing patterns. FestuneTOO is a good example. It is based on Festune, but still different. You could call it a tangleation. For me it was important to share how I draw this pattern and create my own step-out for it.

… to be continued … in Part 2

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