Saturday, April 16, 2011

Inspired by Zentangle

I love quilter's gossip. It goes something like this:
Did you see last Thursday's episode of Quilting Arts? Well, I didn't see it either, but I was talking to Holley, and she said they were talking about this new way to design a quilt. You just take a piece of paper and doodle on it, you know, like you used to do in school when you were bored. Wait, let me think. Oh yeah, they called it Zentangle.

And that's all it took to get me started. A little quilter's gossip. I wanted to try it just because the name sounded fun AND I was an awesome doodler in school. So, with only a name and a brief description, I set out to create my own fabric Zentangle. I decided to make a design for a small embroidery hoop. I took a pencil and drew/scribbled randomly on a piece of paper. I drew the circle of the hoop as my boundaries, and filled in each section with a different fabric.

I was off to a good start, but wanted to do more. For my next project, I decided to add an image to the center of design.

Next, I traced the inside of the embroidery hoop to establish a boundary. Then I closed my eyes and lightly drew lines all over the design. I drew in a pattern of gently curving lines horizontally and vertically. They can barely be seen in the picture.

Next, I darkened the lines that I wanted to use as part of the design and made a few adjustments to make sure I didn't have any super tiny pieces.

Next, I numbered each of the sections.

I remembered a charm pack of dragonfly prints that had been given to me several years ago. It was perfect for this project. I chose 15 of the charm squares and tried to stick with blue, purple, and pink.

Then I traced all of those sections onto double sided fusible interfacing. Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite is my fusible of choice. I tried to be careful and trace exactly on the line if it was on the outside of the circle or directly connected to the dragonfly. All other lines were traced about a sixteenth of an inch inside the line.

I cut the numbered pieces apart and assigned them to a fabric. Normally, I would let this occur in a totally random fashion, but I wanted to be sure that light fabrics were next to the dragonfly and since I was using most of them twice, I wanted to be sure they weren't too close together.

I ironed each piece to the back of the fabric, and cut them out. Then I began placing them on the background fabric. This was a little tricky since the resulting picture is the mirror image of the drawing I made. If I do more of these, I will be sure to reverse the image before tracing it onto the fusible interfacing. It can be tricky to put together a puzzle using the mirror image!

Nothing was ironed down until the entire piece was laid out. It's a good thing too because I had to make a number of adjustments to make everything fit. I can tell I need to be more precise with my drawing and cutting. Again, if I make more, I will spend more time drafting the pattern and tracing the pieces to make sure they fit together better.

And the finished piece...

I'm not quite sure what to do with it from here. I know I don't want to sew around each piece individually but I need to do something to secure them a bit. I may try using some sort of light translucent thread and stitch a curvy, loopy line that mimics a dragonfly in flight. Or a sheer fabric stitched over the top might be fun, too. I'm not feeling too Zen about the next step of this project just yet but I'm certainly ZenTickled about ZenTangle!

Oh, one more thing. I actually looked up what real Zentangle is and it's a very cool art form. Check it out at

1 comment :

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