Thursday, September 16, 2010

Organize Tangle Patterns

The more tangle patterns I acquire the greater the effort to keep them organized. I've tried several systems - printing out patterns, Sandy Bartholomew's ATC cards, different sized card templates of my own making and a variety of storage systems, sleeves, boxes and 3-ring binders. All of these have distinct pros and cons. I want something that is easily portable and convenient to access. After several starts and stops I think this latest attempt to get organized just might stick. Thanks go to several different folks for sharing their ideas in different forums and venues - I've incorporated and modified many of the best in this latest attempt.

A list of resource links is at the end of this post.

Since I have not been able to find a one-size-fits-all solution I'm using 2 methods – one electronic, one hands-on. Electronically I have several photo albums on my iPod Touch devoted to all things Zentangle – patterns, ideas for patterns, and photos of tiles mine and others. The photos were either scanned in or acquired using my favorite screen capture program SnagIt. Having all this at my fingertips wherever I go is really nice and a great way to share Zentangle with others.

Update August 2012:  on the Videos page here I've added two short videos showing some of the features of and how I use Snagit and Evernote to keep my tangle patterns organized.

Electronic Version Update April 2012:  I've added a new tool for my electronic stash - Evernote  There is a free and a premium (annual subscription) version.  The program allow me to "clip" images from the web, add tags and notes, organize in folders (notebooks) and the best part with synching the patterns are available on my laptop, my iTouch and on the website from any computer.  I still use Snagit when I want to modify or otherwise manipulate/optimize an image - and the latest version of Snagit allows for a direct output to Evernote.  Moving to Evernote has really simplified the steps for collecting new patterns.  Now instead of having to create separate databases to upload to the iTouch it's all handled seamlessly via the Evernote app.   Works in both the Mac and Windows world.

For the hands-on part I cut card stock into 2” squares, round the corners, punch a small hole for stringing later. Next step - draw the tangle on one side, draw a condensed set of instructions on the flip side for the more complex tangles, laminate the card, trim it re-punch the hole and then string them together.

Hands-On Version Update April 2012:   I still have my trusty 2" squares for hand-on but I now use 4 1/2" Pull Apart Rings to hold them.  The rings do not have the pinned hinge found on many rings found in office supply outlets.  Instead they have a connector that holds both ends of the ring that you pull apart to insert new cards.  I've found them a few places online but the best price I found is at CKI Wholesale Lock Supply 

A few photos of the hands-on option -

Laced together

Buttercup Tangle 
(from Totally Tangled)

Buttercup Instructions On Flip Side (Upper Left Card)

Resource Links
Sandy Bartholomew's Blog -  ATC cards
Organize Your Patterns  Thorough discussion on
blank pattern card templates  available to download also at

Margaret Bremner Enthusiastic Artist - great blog post sharing her methods for organizing tangle patterns - includes links to other blogs with organizing tips.

I'm a big fan of SnagIt a terrific screen capture program from TechSmith.  They have had a PC version for years and recently released a beta version for the Mac. I don't have any affiliation with them other than being a long-time and very satisfied user.

SnagIt - from TechSmith.  PC and Mac versions -  they offer a fully functioning 30 day trial download.  The PC version has been around a long time and has more bells and whistles but the cool thing about TechSmith - besides making user-friendly software.  When you purchase SnagIt you get a license that allows you to download and use both the PC and Mac versions.

Evernote -  Online organizing tool, "clip" images and/or text from websites, organize in notebooks, add tags and notes.  Your notebooks when synched are available on your computer, mobile device and on Evernote web from any computer.