Tangle Saxon Runes Again

Part of a continuing personal challenge; see the previous entries here, here, and here

12. ᛄ Ger [j], “year, harvest”

Tangle Saxon Rune Ger

I admit I’m cheating on this one a bit phonetically. The “ger” rune represents the sound [j], represented in English by the consonant “y.” But there isn’t a “j” rune, or at least not one representing the “j” sound [dʒ]. The sound itself is relatively common in Old English, but it is typically represented with the combination “cg.” Interestingly, many of the words containing this cluster have survived into modern English basically unchanged other than in spelling, with “dge” taking the place of “cg” — ecg/edge, ricg/ridge, hecg/hedge. In the Anglo-Saxon alphabet, “g” was usually used to represent [j], although it also could be the same “g” we use now as well as a horrible voiced velar spirant which I have mentioned previously and that fortunately evolved into a “w”, which is why we say “own” and not “o[horrible Gollum-like sound]n.”

TL;DR, there are a lot of good “J” tangles and it’s my challenge so I get to do what I want.

Tangles used:






Jujubeedze It’s funny how the little beads in this ended up making eyeballs for weird little faces in the Jajazz…

13. ᛇ Eoh [eo], “Yew”


Tangle Saxon Runes E:oh

This is a bad picture and I realize now that the ZIA itself isn’t really complete — I should have shaded it. Oh well, I can always update it later.

There should really be a line over the “E” in “eoh” here, since it’s a long e — that’s long in quantity, not quality: think of the difference in the vowel of “mate” (short) and “made” (long). This is important since there is also an “eoh” rune with a short “e.” Confused? Well, you’re not alone. The original Germanic rune from which this is descended is “Eihwaz,”  and if that sounds familiar, maybe you’ve read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

I mistranslated ‘ehwaz,’” said Hermione furiously. “It means ‘partnership,’ not ‘defense,’ I mixed it up with ‘eihwaz.’

In this case it means “Yew,” not partnership or defense. And it represents the diphthong “eo,” the vowel in the first syllable of “Beowulf” as well as “mayonnaise” depending on how you pronounce it (I’ve always pronounced it “MAN-aze” or “MAY-oh” though really I try to avoid pronouncing it at all since I detest the stuff.) Regardless, there aren’t any “Eo” tangles that I know of, and since there is an “E” rune that I’ll be posting eventually, I went with “Y” as in “yew” as in the letter I should have used for “ger.”

Tangles yew-sed (see what I did there?)

Y-Ful Power


Yew Dee which is just a great grid tangle. There are a lot of ways you can vary it, too, and I’ve used the grid seed as a string. I might do a monotangle of it at some point.

Yincut The grid’s kind of wonky on this, but I like it.

14. ᛈ Peorth [p], meaning unknown

Tangle Saxon Runes: Peorth

The name of this rune is “peorth” which is not, so far as anyone can tell, a word in Old English. Per Wikipedia:

The name is not comprehensible from Old English, i.e. no word similar to peorð is known in this language. According to a 9th-century manuscript of Alcuin (Codex Vindobonensis 795), written in Britain, in the Gothic alphabet, the letters 𐍀p (based on a Greek Π) and 𐌵q (an inverted Π) are called “pairþra” and “qairþra”, respectively. One of these names clearly is derived from the other. However, the names are not comprehensible in Gothic either, and it is not clear which is derived from which, except that we know that the Elder Futhark had a p, but no q rune. In any case, it seems evident that peorð is related to pairþra. The Anglo-Saxonfuthorc adopted exactly the same approach for the addition of a labiovelar rune, cweorð, in both shape and name based on peorð, but unfortunately, we do not know if the Gothic runes already had a similar variant rune of p, or if the labiovelar letter was a 4th-century creation of Ulfilas.

So it appears that what we have here is rune representing an unknown word in a dead West Germanic language that may or may not have been derived from a rune representing an unknown word in a dead East Germanic language, both of which had similarly unknown variants. Good times! Really, a “p” rune” wouldn’t have been all that useful to the Anglo-Saxons, as the sound “p” was fairly uncommon and rarely if ever appeared at the beginning of the word. One possible meaning is “pear.” I like pears, and I can draw a pear shape, so that influenced my framing of this.

Tangles used:

Palrevo: It took me a long time to figure this one out, both its design and its name, which Linda Farmer insists is so funny (by the way, you should hear my kids say “so funny!” It’s so… uh, humorous). It wasn’t until I put the clues together that I realized what was so special about the name and the pattern both. I don’t want to spoil it though…

Pand: This is another wonderfully versatile grid patterns. If you haven’t used it, you really should.

Paradox or should I say Pear-adox? No I shouldn’t. This is absolutely my favorite tangle ever. What I love is how it can make the original frame you put it in disappear completely. My only problem is that I like to alternate clockwise/counterclockwise Paradox shapes, only I forget which way I went last. The last time I did this, I actually drew faint arrows in each shape to remind me of which way I’d be going.

Pea-nuckle My dad taught me how to play Pinochle when I was a kid, but it’s been so long ago that I have no clue how to play it now. I mostly remember that it used a weird deck (two of each face card, I think, and no cards below nine?) and that he told me he used to play it with friends in the Baptist Student Union building (yes, there are Baptists who play cards. I was raised Baptist and it was there that I learned to play Spades) and that passersby who tried to follow what they were playing would be hopelessly confused.

That has nothing to do with this tangle other than the name. It’s a good pattern.


That’s enough for now; I’ll post more later.


Weekly Challenges: High Five and Shattuck

This will be another quickie post because I really do have a lot of work to do. But I got some ZIAs scanned and I really want to post them.

Made By Joey Weekly Challenge 105

Made By Joey Challenge: High Five

I liked this one, and I appreciated the silly pun in the challenge name! I hadn’t used any of the assigned tangles before, and I liked them pretty well. They were:

Puf: This one was tough for me to figure out and I had to really, really slow myself down to do it right. The grid I ended up using was kind of wacky, but I like the effect. I discovered a cool zeppelin shape if you have a sort of rectangle in the middle of the Greek key shape and have the Xs meet at the corners instead of the middle. I also figured out that I had to do each leg of the x separately to have any hope of getting it to work right. Once I got it all figured out, I loved how the final effect looks nothing like what you start with.

Coil: This one I will definitely use again. I love how these elaborate designs can be made from such simple strokes and how much variety you can put into it. I figured out pretty quickly that I wanted to use coil for columns — a thick one in the middle and two thinner ones on the sides. In the middle one, I used the variation with a pole in the middle and striped the pole Btl Joos style. For the coiling part, I decorated it with Stricles. The outer columns have a little bit of Yincut and Knightsbridge on the orbs.

Pais: Okay, so this is one of those leafy/curly ones that I don’t really like all that much, but I feel like I’m getting better at them. I like how it looks with the bit of Tipple in between the layers and surrounding it. Also, the tangles between the columns are meant to be a sort of hybrid between this pattern and Vache 1

Diva Challenge 260:

Diva Challenge 260

The challenge here is a monotangle on Shattuck. I remember sketching this one out a while back, looking at what I got and thinking, “no, that’s not right.” So I’m glad I got challenged to attempt it again. Also, the tangle is featured in Mandala Zentangle by CZT Jane Marbaix , which I picked up at the Half-Price Books flagship store in Dallas last weekend. Her book influenced the shape of this ZIA as well, with the suggestion of using an apple corer slicer as a template for a Zendala. The shapes this creates seemed a perfect match for this tangle, and I like how it turned out.

I think I could have done a little more with the tangle, but I like what I came up with, mostly. Shattuck within a circle frame doesn’t work exactly right, but it at least makes a good background. I like the big variation going on in the wings, and I think it works well with the striping and the Tipple beads. I also like the crinkly variation that’s in the main circle. The spiral-ended thing was a good idea, but it didn’t work exactly the way I wanted it to. I’ll have to give it another go some time.

Weekly Challenges!

Good morning! This is going to be a quickie post: it’s Spring Break for me as a college teacher (yay!) and also for my kindergartner (um… yay?) who has been extra wild of course (um… not yay?) and oh yeah, he and his younger brother and sister have been slightly and mysteriously ill. Oh, and I’m going to a con this weekend (yay!) and am not remotely ready (oh). So you guys are spared my rambling tangsplanations … for now…

Joey’s Weekly Challenge 104


This is based on a tilted Roman Numeral IV. The biggest challenge for me was the 4Mom, which to be honest I still don’t totally get. I confess that I had a couple of false starts on it (Now I’m planning on doing some “Tangle Rescue” attempts. It’s inside the V. 4 Corners was a lot more fun for me — I think I’ve got the right the right patters of dots to make petals look good. 4Fun I’ve done before and I really like it. Elsewhere I have Palrevo  which I only recently discovered — it’s a variation with circles in the corners instead of squares — and also the new tangle Ping.

Diva’s Challenge #259: Touch of Irish


I actually have a lot to say about this one but I don’t have the time, so here is the short version: I decided to base this on the legend of St. Patrick using the clover (3 leaf, not 4) as an exemplum for the Trinity. The outer circle is traced around a Danish Butter Cookies tin; the inner circles are the inside of a roll of masking tape. The letters represent “Pater, Filius, Spiritus Sanctus,” or “Father, Son, Holy Spirit,” the persons of the Trinity according to Christian theology, and are adapted from this image.

I have a lot more to say about this piece having to do with my feelings about religion, theology, complexity, cultural appropriation, and my Sharpie set I got for my birthday, but I don’t have the time, so I’ll just leave it at this and maybe come back to it later to overexplain things a bit.


Yet more Tangle Saxon Runes

The series continues! Here are parts one and two.

6. ᚳ [k] or [tʃ] Cen, “Torch”

Tangle-Saxon Rune "Cen"
Tangle-Saxon Rune “Cen”

The Cen (probably pronounced like “cane” or possibly “chain”) rune represents the “hard” c sound [k] or the “ch” sound [tʃ]. So my “rule” for the “c” rune was that I could use tangles starting with “k,” “ch,” or “c,” but not soft c. The tangles here include

  • Cadent, a workhorse tangle that’s easy to draw, filled in Knightsbridge-style (see below)
  • Chainging
  • Chechain
  • Kandy Ribnz
  • Keeko, always a good filler
  • Knightsbridge — what’s that you say? Shouldn’t that go with “n”? Not at all, since all consonants were pronounced in Old English. The word “knight” in Old English was “cniht,” (“k” was not used in the Old English alphabet) with every letter pronounced, including the “h” which was something like the “softer” German “ch” of “ich” or “Bach.” Really, I think it was a mistake to make it silent. We should start a movement to revert to saying “k-now” and “k-nit” and so on. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to have Cadent transition into Knightsbridge — and it was!
  • Kollide, the center column which came out quite different from the step-out but I really like how it ended up, all nautilus-like.
  • Kozy, which didn’t really come out the way I wanted it to
  • And whatever that diagonal ribbon is on the right. Maybe Cloudfall?

7. X [g] Gyfu or Giefu, “Gift”

Tangle-Saxon Runes "Giefu"

“G” in Old English was typically pronounced as either the hard “G” of “gift” or the consonantal “y” sound of “you.” In the middle of words, it was apparently pronounced [ɣ], a “voiced velar fricative” i.e. a sound I’m glad that I’m not called upon to reproduce very often. Since we are well-stocked with “G” tangles, I decided to stick with that:

  • Girdy, one of the simplest 3d-effects tangles I think
  • Girlande
  • Gneiss, one of my absolute favorite tangles, probably because I distinctly remember doodling stars like that in my Middle School Notebooks. Man, if I’d had Zentangle then… Anyway, there are 7 Gneisses hanging around in this tangle. Oh, and before you ask, “G” was pronounced before “n” at the beginning of a word in Old English.
  • Golven, which makes a great column
  • Gotcha, one that baffled me the first few times I tried it but has a nice, bold look when done right
  • Gothic, which didn’t come out the way I wanted and I couldn’t really salvage in a way that pleased me, but that’s life.
  • Gottago, another tangle I instantly fell in love with once I realized how absurdly simple it was. There are a lot of these where the little picture you see on Tanglepatterns.com looks just incredibly intricate and I think, I could never do that. Gottago was definitely one of those. To give myself more of a challenge, I laid out a wobbly grid. It was a bit of a headache trying to place all those corner things, but I think it was worth it.
  • Gordgeous, which I like only the necks look way too big to me.
  • Groovy

8. ᚹ [w] wynn, “joy”

Tangle-Saxon Rune "Wynn"

The letter “w” did not exist in the Latin alphabet — they used “v” or “u” which were really just variants of each other. The letter that is transcribed as “w” in modern editions of Old English texts is actually based on this rune. The silent “w” that sometimes occurs in combination with “r” was pronounced in Old English, and many of these words (wrath, writhe, wraith, write, wright, etc.) have come down to Modern English with few changes other than the loss of that “wr” sound which is just really difficult to pronounce. The similarly challenging “wl” cluster has, so far as I can tell, disappeared entirely. The tangles I chose are

  • Joy, which, okay, is a little on the nose, but I just had to
  • W2
  • Waax, which I still don’t feel like I’ve really gotten down
  • Wedge, which really deserves more space than I gave it here
  • Wheelz, another one of those impossible-looking but really simple ones
  • Win-Zeta, another one that should have had more room to grow
  • Wisket, which ended up being more like a variation on W2 the way I did it here
  • Woodlock
  • Worms, which is great fun
  • Wud, which I’m definitely falling in love with

9. ᚻ [h] Hægl “hail”

Tangle-Saxon Rune "Haegl"

That’s “hail” as in the precipitation. The Anglo-Saxons were quite familiar with this, calling it “corna caldast,” or “the coldest of grains” which sounds really cool in Old English but substantially less so when translated. Fun fact, when I started this tangle, I was actually experiencing a bit of the hail from the storms that hit my area pretty hard on Tuesday. The tangles:

  • Harfe
  • Hepmee, a very silly tangle that I quite enjoy. I happen to like spiders and consider them good company. The irrational fear of spiders you encounter everywhere is no doubt promulgated by BIG INSECTICIDE or something.
  • Hibred, which I think was one of the first tangles I attempted
  • Hollinbaugh, which ended up being incredibly frustrating on this one. I added the stripes and stuff to the strings so that I could keep up with which one was going where behind the Harfe
  • Hua
  • Huggins, transitioning nicely into
  • Huggy Bear

10. ᚾ [n] Nyd, “need”

Tangle-Saxon Rune "Nyd"

The letter N, which even I can’t think of much to say about. The tangles:

  • ‘Nzeppel
  • Narwal, another great one for having fun with
  • Natti
  • Nipa
  • Nvelope

11. ᛁ [i] is, “ice”

Tangle-Saxon Runes "Is"

“Is” is pronounced “EES,” basically “ice” but with a long-e sound. In fact, long “i” was pronounced with that long-e sound until the beginning of some serious nonsense called the Great Vowel Shift, when people in England en masse decided to start pronouncing all the long vowels all wrong. Well, maybe it was a bit more complicated than that. Anyway, I took the easy route and just went with “I” tangles.

  • Intwine, another one I’ve just totally fallen in love with.
  • Itsy Twisty, which takes just an enormous amount of concentration but it’s worth it
  • Ix
  • Ixorius, and I did the aura-ing on this different from what the step-out shows; I like how it looks
  • Phroze, because, you know, ice.

To be continued…


Joey and Diva’s Weekly Challenges

Okay, so I finally got to the fancy scanning machine and I’m ready to share my challenge attempts for the week. First, Diva’s.

The challenge this week was to use the tangle “Rautyflex”:

Diva's Weekly Challenge 258
Diva Weekly Challenge #258

Okay, “challenge” was right. Based on what else I’ve seen from the other entries, this tangle confounded a lot of people. But a challenge I wanted and a challenge I accepted. I chose to do this as a Zendala, divided sort of like the first steps of the tangle — the circle is quartered and the top left and bottom right quarters are divided horizontally again. In each section, I tried a variation on the basic tangle. Going counterclockwise from the bottom left:

  1. For this I used a sort of radial grid. That sort of angular S shape is the one that came out the most to me, so that’s what I colored in.
  2. I did the least with this section, and it came out (I think) the best. Maybe there’s a lesson in that somewhere? I just did a more or less straight take on the pattern then colored in alternating cells, Knightsbridge style. Looking at it now, it seems like I got the 3d pop that I was going for in other sections without really trying to. If I ever use this tangle again, I think I’ll stick to this varietal. Also, I filled in the shapes with an extra-fine tip Sharpie from a set I got for Christmas and I like how it came out.
  3. This was my attempt at a ribbon/border version of the tangle. I’m not altogether displeased with how it turned out, although I’d probably do it much smaller given the chance.
  4. This was my first idea with the tangle. I was trying to get the Q*Bert style steps that I saw in this pattern when I first took a look at it, but I don’t feel like they really came out the way I wanted.
  5. This one is a lot like section 2, but with different coloring, and now that I think of it I’m not a hundred percent sure I remember what pattern I was doing.
  6. When I drew this, the hatchmarks were supposed to be lining the front of some steps. But now when I look at it, all I can see is the hatchmarks as the back of the steps. It’s hurting my head to think about it.

Okay, now Joey’s Challenge, which this week was Roman numeral III:

Made By Joey Roman Numeral Challenge III
Made By Joey Weekly Challenge #103

I will freely admit that I had a lot more fun with this one. Again Joey assigned tangles I probably wouldn’t have chosen on my own: Tipple, Fescu, and Buttercup and again I found a way to enjoy them. I tried out a negative-image thing with the Fescu and I’m pleased with how it turned out — the ones on the right were drawn with Sharpie; the left side was outlined with my regular pens then filled around with the Sharpie. I had the most fun with Buttercup, which I decided to draw in a crazy warped grid thing. Pretty wild, right?

The other sections include three patterns suggested by the number “3”: the triangle-based Phroze and Tringle, and the number-3-containing-in-name 63y. I intentionally did 63y “wrong” — you’ll notice that the cells don’t line up into hexagons. I like it this way.

In the middle is JaJazz, in disguise: Instead of filling in the rounded triangles as usual, I filled around them in alternating cells. I like it a lot. The ribbon across the top is a kind-of original tangle I’m calling “Just Lala.” I suppose it’s really just a sort of tangleation of Eke.

But where, you might ask, is the Tipple? Well, I guess I kind of cheated — I used it as filler around the corners of the JaJazz, in some of the cells in 63y and in some of the triangles in Tringle.

Overall, I feel good about this one.



Stormy Weather

I’ve completed ZIAs for Joey’s and Diva’s challenges this week, and I’ve tangled up a handful of new runes. I’d love to post them, but it’s not happening tonight. This morning after my early morning class, which I teach at a high school, a big storm blew through. Like, massive big. The storm was moving fast, and moving east — which happens to be the same direction I would go to get to the University I teach at (U Texas Arlington). And this also happens to be the place with a really nifty scanning machine in the library that I’ve been using to document my new obsession. So I didn’t make it there today. I tried to get some pictures with my good digital camera, but I’m not thrilled with how they turned out. So none of those tonight. For fun, I’m going to pull something out of my gallery — say, this one:


I call it a Zentangram: The outlines are traced from the seven pieces of a Tangram set; the overall shape they form is from a book. Yes, I cheated and looked up how to assemble the shapes.

I was trying a lot of different things here and to be honest I’m not sure how much success I had. Up top is Gneiss, which is one of my favorite tangles (also apparently one not freely available online; I got it out of a book I bought). The Huggy Bear to the left of that, mashed up with a bit of Yincut, ended up looking really nice I think, as did the Funls down below and the Eez ribbon.

Off to the right is Girdy, which came out looking okay, though not quite what I intended. The other three are Minline, which ended up looking like a squashed wedding cake, Eclipse, and Tink, both of which ended up way too cramped to work. Those will need some practice before I get real comfortable with them.

But you know what? Overall I’m pleased with how it came out, even if it’s far from perfect. I’m still pretty amazed at the amount of stuff that can be created with just a few basic strokes.

Tangle-Saxon Runes, cont.

I want to apologize for that horrible pun. No I don’t: I never apologize for puns. Read here for an introduction to this project; I want to post some runes!

Rune #4: ᚩ [o], Os, “deity”

Old English Runes #4: Os

“Os” is a peculiar rune: in its oldest form, it referred to a specific ancient Germanic deity; in other contexts it was used to represent another god, Odin. The Christian poet of the Old English Rune poem substituted “mouth” from the Latin, although the verse would make more sense if it referred to a deity.

Unlike Ur and Thorn, the transliteration of Os — o — has a lot of tangleated representation.  Starting from the bottom, you have Omen, fancied up with a number of variations including some Cadent-like touches. I’ve found that pretty much anything can be accented with S shapes.The chain of bug/eye things is Ojo, which crosses over a panel of (o) before wrapping around a bent column of Ovy. On the left is the ever-useful Onamata and some Organic, which ended up looking like cool butterfly things. Topping it all off is some Oybay, another good organic-looking one.

I know it’s not considered polite to boast, but when you spend a lot of your day combating relentless negative self-talk, you earn the right to crow a bit: I think this tangle looks damn good.

Rune #5: ᚱ [r], Rad, “ride”

Old English Runes #5: Rad

Okay, I maybe went a little overboard with this one, but it was fun. Up top is Rysa, whose name makes me think of the Fantasy Island planet from Star Trek. Inside of that, I snuck some Roscoe. To the left is Riki-Tiki and oh great, now I have that song stuck in my head, along with a bit of Ragz and some Ripple. And then for the crazy: I decided that River would be a natural fit, and I decided I could have some ink flowing out of the Ripple to feed the river. This may or may not have started to cover up some unplanned penwork in the Ripple; I honestly don’t remember. Then once I discovered how crazy easy and cool Rixty was, I went pretty wild with it and soon there were tributaries all over the place. Good times, good times.