A while back, Jane Monk,, a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), contacted me and asked if I would like to review her book, ”Tangle Stitches for Quilters and Fabric Artists: Relax, Meditate, and Create with Rhythmic Stitches’. Of course I wanted to! But I had to admit that I don’t sew.
So while this book is obviously aimed at the Zentangle® enthusiast who is also a fabric artist, I’ll be reviewing it from the standpoint of someone who is primarily into the paper arts. So let me flesh that out a little bit. I did do a little embroidery when I was young (centuries ago!). I don’t remember the stitches, but can pick them up again pretty quickly. The sewing machine, however, is my mortal enemy.
I did a mock-up of the Journal Cover project. I’m not showing my results for fear someone will look at the photo and not read my mock-up explanation. I wasn’t actually trying to make a journal cover.
My aim was to evaluate the quality of the instructions.
I’ve gone out to buy supplies for a project in the past, and then ruined them because I couldn’t figure out what to do. So for this evaluation, I worked quick and dirty, hand-sewing only, and used supplies I had available-watercolor paper, yarn and a bookbinding needle, instead of the supplies that Jane recommends. I just wanted to see how far I could get, and how confused I would get. I didn’t really expect my mock-up to succeed.
Sure enough, the large needle and thick yarn perforated the paper as though I were doing a cut-out. I switched to bigger stitches and just did squares after that. The paper wasn’t flexible enough to turn inside out completely but it was good enough to tell me what I wanted to know.
Jane’s instructions were clear enough that I was able to:
- figure out how to do the necessary stitches by hand\
- measure the paper to fit
- put the pieces together properly
- decide which tangles would work best for my needs
My cover did fit, though it was very tight where it hadn’t quite turned all the way out. It looks like I ran over it with a lawn mower, lol. Having said that, I actually think I could make a nice journal cover using paper, if I used a different thread and needle, and expanded the measurements a bit. Rather than adapting, though, I’ll buy the right supplies if I decide to try again.
Meanwhile, I went the traditional route and made a Zentangle-Inspired drawing using some of the tangle patterns in the book.
So, what about the person who doesn’t sew at all? What about the fabric artist who doesn’t tangle? Does this book have enough of interest for both? The answer to that would vary according to mileage.
Let me list some of the features:
- there are forty-one tangles–some traditional and some of Jane’s own tangles (see list of tangles below)
- it’s light and sturdy enough to carry on my travels
- has beautiful photographs
- makes a great coffee table book as well as a tangle reference
- doesn’t quite lie flat, but will stay open
- is printed on high quality paper
Much of the Zentangle information in this book is standard, such as the basics for creating a drawn Zentangle tile. Many of the forty-one tangle patterns are traditional ones that have been included in other books and online. But the book also includes many of Jane’s own patterns, which even experienced tanglers may have never seen. The book has enough basics for the newest of newbies, and eye-candy to delight the most experienced.
Even with my limited sewing skills, the information on sewing seemed straight-forward, and I never found myself going ‘huh’? With each project, Jane gives measurements for a specific size or tells you how to measure. The book also includes a formula for resizing. Instructions are brief, but heavily illustrated with photos and are easy to understand (they were for me, anyway). The tangles she uses in each project are identified within the instructions. Any stitches that must be done by hand are illustrated.
I’ve listed the chapter titles and the names of the tangle patterns below, and that may help you decide if this is a book you need for your library.
No. of Pages: 128 pages
Size: 8.9 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 1.1 lbs
Introduction: What are Tangle Stitches?
PART ONE: The Basics
Tools for Drawing and Stitching
Transferring Designs to Fabric
How to Draw with Tangle Patterns
Tangle Stitches for Longarm Machine Quilters
PART TWO: The Projects
Pin Cushion with a Twist
Bag Tags and ATCS
Hand-Stitched Journal Cover
Felt Jar Covers
Tangled Trio Table Runner
Tangled Nine-Patch Quilt
About the Author
The Tangle Patterns (patterns with an * are Jane’s)
Crescent Moon, Rick’s Paradox, Msst, Chartz, Echoism, Pokeroot, Zinger, Printemps, Sedgling, Berries & Leaves*, Tortle Flower*, Quilted*, Mooka, Mooka Pods*, Nouveau*, Fern*, Fescu, Flux, Pipeflower*, Pokeleaf, Ennies, Jetties, Bumper, Knase, Slates*,Shattuck, Rivit*, Scrumble*, Onomato, Eke, Meer, Static, Cadent, School*, Bones*, Schway, Rain, Peeks*, Strata*,Truffs*, Squid
To sum up: The book is softcover printed on high quality, durable paper with beautiful photography. It is light enough to carry around, though a bit large for most purses. It would make a good coffee table book as well as a reference for Zentangle patterns, and a sewing project book. It’s a pleasure to flip through. I really enjoyed seeing what Jane had made, and I might try some of the projects for real. Or not. Either way, if I were looking for a Zentangle book, I would consider this one.
You can see more of Jane’s work at Jane Monk Studios.