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Tangled Manuscripts - Follow-up

Tangled Manuscripts - Follow-up

In a recent blog post, Tangled Manuscripts, I showed an inspiration for a tangle and asked for step-out ideas.

It turns out that Maria Vennkens had already deconstructed and named this tangle otto almost a decade ago! 


Here's a related version she did of the tangle sweda.



Michelle Dugdale, CZT, also approached this pattern by defining the negative space triangles. Notice that she begins with connecting the triangles to each other. When looking to deconstruct a pattern into a tangle, it's often helpful to begin with the repeating negative spaces.

Marie Antoinette approached this pattern a little differently and developed the idea that this is a braid of three strands:


Evy Browning began her tangle interpretation, treave, by first defining the bases of all the negative space triangles.


Eri Hagawara, CZT26, offered a number of different approaches. Exploring multiple approaches is a great exercise to understand and refine your step-outs.


Deb Zebedee also began with triangles, but with a difference of using solid triangles.

Bronagh Donnelly took a different approach by repeating internal angular shapes.




Lianne Woods took the triangle approach and named it truss.

Margaret Bremner used the solid triangle sequence in her step-out of queue.





I worked on my step-out before I looked at any of these. I am glad I did. Not because mine is better but, because if I had seen the other step-outs first I would not have created this step-out.


This gives me an idea for an exercise. Take a look at some familiar tangles. Can you find other ways of tangling them? Particularly apply this to tangles for which we created step-outs. I've learned how easy it is to accept something without questioning when it comes from a so-called authority. Reworking a step-out can begin to untangle that programming.

This was a fun and inspiring exercise. Much gratitude to all who contributed their artistry and inventiveness to this blog!


Rick Roberts


  • Everything is inspired!

    Debbie New on

  • An exercise on humility too.
    We all can get to the same conclusion even if we haven’t seen ANYONE ELSES deconstruction.

    This is a community that supports. For competition there are so many other activities. Thanks Rick for the reflections on it.

    Claudia on

  • This is so inspiring!!!

    Jamie Herron on

  • Thanks Rick! This certainly was a very fun, interesting and inspiring exercise – much gratitude to you on initiating and facilitating this project! Thanks also for the personal feature; always exciting to get a mention.

    Michelle Dugdale, CZT on

  • There have been several occasions over the years, when I have discovered other approaches to the occasional tangles which I found awkward to do, so this article was great to see. So amazing to see the different approaches! I would love to see more articles like this, exploring tangles back to their “births”!

    Sue Zanker on

  • I learned a long time ago that there is always another way to explain something! It’s come in handy with Zentangle and beyond! Love all the visuals of the different thought processes in this post!

    Yvonne Westover on

  • Our brains are wired so differently! It’s nice to know that “There’s always a way!”

    Bonnie Johnson on

  • What a great way to show there are more than one way to do things from a tangle to sweeping the floor. Some may start at the far edge, some the middle and some in a corner, but the results are all the same. Lovely exercise in lfe!

    Sue Leslie on

  • Such a great set of instructions, all of them, why I often say to those learning, that if they don’t find a step out easy, try and see if they can find a different way to do it, which does feel ‘right to them’. Just as there are so many patterns in cultures which can be the same as from another culture, it shows our brain’s love of patterns wherever we are.

    Ildica Boyd on

  • Holy Cow Rick! You really opened the door to unlimited possibilities with these prompts. Thanks heaps!

    Kathy Y. on

  • So awesome to see all the different deconstructions! I love Celtic knotwork and plan on wearing some of the clothes I have with knotwork on it to CZT28 if it is not too cold I cannot wear them for our dinners together. Texas is currently in the high 70s and I know today it is a brrr 39 degrees in Providence, RI. I can only hope the predictions for the daytime weather in the 50s next week during the seminar actually occur.

    Debbie Smith CZT38 on

  • I love this exercise. I imagine that most things in life are done by people doing it all differently. . . to get to the same result

    Maria Thomas on

  • There is nothing new under the sun

    Susan Arnsten-Russell on

  • Funny to see how many simularities and differences there are in these deconstructions of the same pattern. There is more than one way to get to the same result.

    Maria Vennekens on

  • Cool to see the process that everyone takes. I have deconstructed a few tangles for myself but never think of writing down the process I took. Mine just evolved on their own without any planning ahead. I like the idea of writing them down as I tend to forget how I did them!

    Dianne Riva Cambrin on

  • Thanks for asking the question and showing us the responses. Now I want to try each step out method. What is Zentangle HQ going to call this one?

    Mary Lou Minard, CZT 32 on

  • This proves that we all see the same thing, just differently. Just like life.

    Lori Riden on

  • “Everything old is new again!”

    Jessica Dykes (Jake) on

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