Questions Answered about Zentangle

Posted by on 21 May 2019 | 0 Comments

Yes, I'm continuing to work on my Zentangle dolphin. As you may remember, I had several questions I needed answered so I jumped back into Lee's workshop to ask her expert advice... I had so much fun doing that and was amazed at how much I gained from asking a few simple questions in the forum. Lee answered questions I didn't know I asked because she opened my eyes up to expand my thoughts, what an experience! ... and to think we are miles apart but it was almost like she was right next to me guiding me along.

I uploaded a photo of my Zentangle Dolphins so she could see and immediately she sent me the photo back with all the different stitches labeled. 

zentangle labels

In the forum, I asked, "When deciding how to fill a shape, what do you think about?"

"l suppose the first thing I consider is what is the purpose of the work. Lets say if it was for a show of some nature much of the white space I would fill. If however the work is for general use l always consider if the block itself would bag or be floppy without the background quilting. If so l would quilt with a white thread so that it does not distract from the central theme. I would mostly quilt with a stipple as known in quilting or with Amaze as known in Zentangle. Mctavish is always one of my go to design.

As a quilter l generally quilt the white/background space and sometimes quite heavily. My reason being l like my work (the Dolphins in this case) to pop more so as it just adds to the overall artistic/zentangle effect."

I must say "wow", I hadn't even thought of filling the background, nor filling it with white thread! 

Another question I asked was "Is it acceptable to have 'white space' in a design? or is it expected that all areas should be filled?" ... I'm referring to the belly side of the dolphin.

"Given the size of the dolphins belly I think that l would not quilt it and leave as is but make sure that l would stitch in the ditch so to speak between the zentangle section and the outer edge of the belly to help give it is form. But of course, you could add more Zentangle patterns but for me that might be a bit much and the dolphin might look a bit overdone."

I was secretly hoping Lee would approve of the white space, and I think this is largely determined on the amount of space. My thoughts were confirmed, "it might look a bit overdone".

I definitely know the direction to take now so I can move on with the next step which will be quilting the background. I have a decision to make and that is which stitch I'll use. I really enjoyed stitching McTavish, however with having to stitch around those tiny areas between the bubbles I figured I'd stick to stipple.

20zentangle stipple300

Lee was right, the dolphins did pop!

20zentangle stipple2 300

Now that is done, I'll be looking for some more advice about knowing where to shade. I'll print off a photo and use the paper version for practice... and of course, I'll report back here and let you all know how that goes. In the meantime, why don't you check out Lee's workshops? They are fun, creative and rewarding.... and I've learned things I didn't even know even after quilting for 35 years!


To find out more about Lee's workshops visit

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