Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Variations on a Theme

"Variety of mere nothings gives more pleasure than uniformity of something."     Jean Paul

One of my favorite tangles is 'Nzeppel, so I was happy to see that it's the focus tangle this week on the Facebook group Square One. Right off the bat I knew I'd be creating multiple tiles for this "One." When I taught a class a few months ago all about tangleations, 'Nzeppel was one of the tangles I showcased. I had worked on several tangleations and decided to use some of them in my tiles for this focus. In case you don't already know, a tangleation is a noticeable variation of a tangle pattern. I will be showing you my tiles, as well as the step-outs for the tangleations I used.

If you aren't familiar with the tangle pattern 'Nzeppel, you can see the step-outs here. For my first tile I chose to use the random variety of the pattern, not based on a grid. This is not one of my tangleations, but one of the ways to draw 'Nzeppel introduced by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. First I drew Cosmo, by CZT Sonya Yencer, as my string and filled all the background with random 'Nzeppel. I didn't take a picture before shading, but believe me, the shading made such a huge difference in this tile! I only wish I could get the shading in my scanned photos to look like it does in real life!

Here is my second tile, using one of my tangleations, along with my pattern Sharmin, from my e-book Step Out in Style.

Below are the step-outs for this tangleation. Notice that the first 2 steps are what you would do for the standard form of 'Nzeppel, which I think of as squishing balloons into the triangular spaces. But then I drew auras inside each of those squished balloons. An aura is a line traced around the outside or inside of a tangle. In the last box I demonstrate two different ways this can be shaded, and used the one on the right side to shade the above tile.

Next I decided to try out the pattern Onion Drops by Shasta Garcia, which I've never used before. I added another tangleation of 'Nzeppel in the background. 

Here are the step-outs I used for the tangleation shown above. After drawing my grid and an X in each square of the grid, I drew lines dividing each of the triangles into two sections, as shown. Then I added a squished balloon in each section.

For my last tile, I used a third tangleation. I created a very large 'Nzeppel in the center of the tile, surrounded by a little Tipple and a lot of Hollibaugh.

The step-outs for that tangleation are shown below. Instead of drawing an X in each square of the grid, I only drew one diagonal line, alternating the direction of the diagonal in each square. Then I added a line in each of the triangles to divide it into two sections, and squished my balloons into each one of those sections.

'Nzeppel is a pattern that you can really do a lot with. Other ideas that I've used are a really curvy grid, an offset grid, and one more that I did the step-outs for, but do not have a tile to show you.

In this one, I again started with an X in each square. Then I drew another triangle inside each triangular section (an aura), and squished a balloon into each of those triangles.

'Nzeppel isn't the only pattern you can create so many tangleations for. Try it yourself with another pattern and you might be surprised by what great variations you end up with. A wonderful way to make a pattern your own!


  1. Nice post and tangleations, Caren!

  2. pretty cool tangleations, caren, going to try them all :) thanks!

  3. Wow, Caren, what a lot of work you've done and the results are fantastic. Thanks for sharing them with us - I just know they are going to be very helpful as I'm pretty new to Zentangle.