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.”
This 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.
I 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.
After 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.
Here’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.
Not 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.
I’ve never tried this til now. In a project for work, we needed to create a few of these with the idea that zentangle doodles could be used for stitches or for machine quilting.
Drawing zentangles is a simple process from what I can decipher, though I think it is supposed to be meditative. For me, it’s doodling with a purpose. Here are a couple of my zentangles, but if you are interested visit zentangle.com to find out more.
How crazy are these things? The good news is that I don’t think I would ever sit down by myself to draw this way. Ever. Basically, you draw a squiggle line on a piece of paper and begin to doodle around the edges, letting yourself just flow with whatever line formation comes to mind. If you feel like tiny small squiggles, great. If you feel like giant bold strokes, OK too. Miraculously, eventually, patterns emerge and no matter where I started, I was surprised by the ending.
Despite my original skepticism, I did find it calming. Like any repetitive task, it required just enough concentration to stay focused, but not so much as to cause frustration. And in a world where I spend very little time completely focused on one small task, it’s a refreshing exercise. In the end, I’ve created…well, I don’t know what I’ve created–something unusual from my hand and my brain. Good enough for me!