Zen Again

Don’t even tell me you don’t know what zentangles are. By now everyone has heard of a zentangle.  However, in case you’ve been living under a creative rock…here’s a link explaining them.

In playing with Bernina’s Embroidery Software, I’ve been doing a few lessons from a book written by Sue Shrader:  “Creative Sewing Machine’s Workbook for Bernina Embroidery Software 7.”

sue schraderThis workbook covers all aspects of Software 7, and can be purchased from their website.  I have found it to be a valuable investment for beginners, and even for people like me who use the software on a regular basis, but still don’t know everything it can do.


One of her lessons involves creating a zentangle piece of artwork.

zentangle stitch 2I had fun with this lesson as it changes every time I do it.  I settled on one version and went through the motions of stitching it out.  I used a heavy-weight cutaway stabilizer in my machine’s jumbo hoop.



zentangle stitch 3After 30,000 stitches, I knew I’d be leaving the stabilizer behind the design no matter what I ended up making.  Besides the white stabilizer would show if I cut it out behind the design.




zentangle stitch1Here’s the finished stitch-out.  I spent a lot of time debating what to make out of the design and in the end I just finished it off with binding and did some quilting.




zentangle finalNot sure how much of the detail you can see in the design, but the various stitches actually form unique patterns. I’m always stunned at the number of things that can be done with the assistance of software.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m not sure it even suits me very well.  Still, I’d rather push the envelope.  It’s the only way any of us improve.


How do you know?

I’m visual. The universe speaks to me in form, shape, color and sometimes font style.  I’d call it a subtext to reality, except that it’s not a subtext.  It’s the headline, the feature show.  And it’s taken me this long in life to realize it.

A few years ago, I took a local class about compelling issues, which included a video presentation during every session.  The video was mainly people talking, expressing their points of view and providing intellectual insights.  For whatever reason, the video director chose to periodically — sometimes in the middle of someone’s sentence — switch to black and white.

Now I’m sure this was done to get our attention and to make sure the audience stayed focused on the content.  However, it had the opposite effect on me. Whenever the screen would switch to black and white, the whole context changed.  For a few minutes afterward, I heard nothing, as the image took over and did all the communicating. I had to physically redirect my attention, and the sentences spoken in the interim were lost to me forever.

You may be visual too.  If you are, you know what it’s like to:

–Purchase a book because you like the font on the pages.

–Recall the sunlight streaming into the church, the look on the pastor’s face, the swaying of the choir, but not a word of the sermon. (Don’t worry, I read it online again later.)

–Know instinctively by the looks on your friends’ faces how things are going.

–Have a desk that’s piled high because out of site means out of mind.

How do you learn?  My husband and son are auditory.  If I ask a question at home, to heads buried in books, computers, TV screens or even conversations, both of them can repeat back my exact words.  They can quote characters from movies and cartoons and real life, having only heard a line spoken once.  Astounding.

Or maybe you are tactile.  I know you well.  I teach sewing and machine embroidery, and believe me, many of you are tactile.  You nod as we speak instructions, you understand when you watch the video. But until you are asked to perform the task yourself, all the effort just goes *poof*.  Performing the task, touching the machine, pushing the buttons, head down, hands working, is the only way to make it stick.

The truth is, we all use various combinations of communication and learning styles.  Most of us need to hear it, see it and do it.

The quilt in this post is a free pattern from Moda Bake Shop, made with Bella solids. I haven’t decided how to quilt it yet, but I’m thinking about a delightful chicklet-colored variegated King Tut from Superior.  I’m not sure yet about the thread.

I’ll know when I see it.