Weekly Challenges

I got these done really quickly this week and got by the magic scanning machine, so I thought I’d go ahead and post them. Here’s my Diva piece:

Diva Challenge 266
Diva Challenge 266

This used a pretty little tangle called “Crux.” I like grid tangles, and I see a lot of options for playing around with it. I did one section with a normal grid and a Yincut style fill; I also did one warped grid with stars and another even more warped grid with Yincut-y things along the diagonal grid that goes beneath the flowers. On the edge I tried to see if I could get a decent ribbon out of it; it was okay I guess.

Joey’s Challenge is Roman Numeral XI:

Joey Challenge 111
Subimus xi

I Googled the Latin for the caption, by the way.

We were assigned 4 patterns, three of which were totally unfamiliar to me: Zippa (the diagonal ribbon with the up and down arches), Susa (the Greek key looking thing on the right. I don’t like how I did it: Mr. Sharpie Ultra Fine contributed a great deal to clean-up on that one), Shons (the flowers with the starbursts underneath — or is it a starburst pattern with petal-shaped gaps?), and Vache 1 (the patches top and bottom. Its name sounds like a robot from a Manga. I like it, and not just for that reason). The hoops are actually [gets out own horn, toots] my own deconstruction of a carpet pattern from the Holiday Inn in Waxahachie, Texas, where I stayed last month after going to Scarborough Renaissance Festival. In honor of Waxahachie (pronounced WOK-suh-HATCH-ee), I’m naming this one “Hachie.” I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t count as a truly new tangle — I know there are other “circle in grid” patterns — but I had fun making it. Here’s a (very bad) picture of the inspirational carpet:

2016-04-11 10.24.48



Diva and Joey Challenges

Hello again! As I’ve mentioned previously (not to rub it in, Canadianians), it’s spring in North Texas, which means that the weather has no idea what it’s going to be from one moment to the next. I’m about ready to bust out my collection of Aloha shirts (I own over two dozen), but I’m worried that if I do it will trigger a snowstorm.

Last weekend I went with my family and my in-laws to Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie. It’s only about an hour or so drive from where I live to there, but when you’re travelling with three kids, an hour drive might as well be three days, so we booked a room and stayed the night.On the way in we noticed a patch of bluebonnet on the side of the highway next to the hotel and decided that we would take the traditional “kids in bluebonnets” picture. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life — and almost 6 years with kids — but I don’t think I’ve ever taken the classic photo until then:


The kids are (from left to right and pseudonymously) Vader, age almost 4; Princess Lala, 2 1/2; and DK, almost 6. Here’s a picture of the boys in their kilts at the Ren faire:


Anyway, enough about my adorable children who are never, ever any sort of stress in my life.

Diva’s Challenge 263 was a lot of fun and I’m pretty happy with what I came up with. I’ve been on a Zendala kick lately and it was awesome to use a whole-circle grid like this:


Okay, so the picture quality is not great. I’ll try to replace it with a good one next time I’m near a scanner.


Knightsbridge makes a good border for this, I think. Once I had that laid in, I blocked off sections of the remaining grid for other grid-based tangles such as

Pand which is such a fun pattern to play around with

Dex A nice 3d-effect one

B’Twined Remarkably easy for how awesome it looks

Butter Apparently the work of a six year old!


Zonked which didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped

Exis Another highly adaptable one

Yincut Because of course Yincut.

Joey’s Roman Numeral VII challenge was also fun. I went the Zendala route with this one as well:


The tangles:

N’Zeppel is one of the first tangles I learned and great for filling up big spaces. I used the globular grid pattern suggested in Diva’s challenge, but the edges were too distorted to use — so I converted those into a random sort of grid, which I think worked well with this pattern.

Marnie I think I did right. I used two different variations of it and I think either one looks pretty cool.

Crescent Moon


Ando which is a brand new tangle. I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I gave it a shot and I actually did get into it

Ping another fairly new one that’s a lot of fun to draw

X-ess I don’t know if I totally got what I was going for on this one, but it looks alright to me.


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.


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.