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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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How to draw ILA

Zentangle pattern: Ila. Image © Linda Farmer and ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may use this image for your personal non-commercial reference only. The unauthorized pinning, reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.Canadian tangler Cyndi Knapp shares her delicate Ila tangle with us this fine Monday in June and it’s her seventh tangle on the site.

Ila is a perfect Monday tangle because it’s so easy, so simple, and yet has so many creative and elegant possibilities.

Cyndi writes,

As with most of my others, this pattern came to me while tangling.

Its simple elegance reminded me of my Great Aunt’s incredible hand tatted lace, so I named it Ila in memory of her.

I recalled learning tatting in grade school (by a male teacher, Mr. Billings, as I recall) and thought I’d have a look at Wikipedia:

Newer type of shuttle with hook.

Newer type of shuttle with hook. By Chickxsy – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace from a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, accessories such as earrings and necklaces, and other decorative pieces.  …

Tatting may have developed from netting and decorative ropework as sailors and fishermen would put together motifs for girlfriends and wives at home. Decorative ropework employed on ships includes techniques (esp. coxcombing) that show striking similarity with tatting.

Tatting has been used in occupational therapy to keep convalescent patients’ hands and minds active during recovery. …

Tatting with a shuttle is the earliest method of creating tatted lace. A tatting shuttle facilitates tatting by holding a length of wound thread and guiding it through loops to make the requisite knots. Historically, it was a metal or ivory pointed-oval shape less than 3 inches (76 mm) long, but shuttles come in a variety of shapes and materials. Shuttles often have a point or hook on one end to aid in the construction of the lace. Antique shuttles and unique shuttles have become sought after by collectors — even those who do not tat.

To make the lace, the tatter wraps the thread around one hand and manipulates the shuttle with the other hand. No tools other than the thread, the hands and the shuttle are used, though a crochet hook may be necessary if the shuttle does not have a point or hook.

In an email exchange with Cyndi I wondered if people still did tatting any more and she replied “Who knew but it seems tatting is still alive!!”. She included a link to an article in Canada’s Maclean’s magazine, “Tatting Tales: not just for grannies any more”. The article begins with an exquisite example of a modern tatted lace choker and contains information on several tatting blogs and YouTube video resources you might like to check out. And dig out your shuttles.

Regarding her Ila tangle, Cyndi writes,

Uncomplicated to tangle, it gives a lovely ribbon effect. It’s easily varied and takes on a different personality when aura’d (Step 5).

The illustration demonstrates possible variations and double aura effects with a blackened background.

For my example, inspired by Cyndi’s use of perfs I embellished Ila with tiny open perfs to emphasize its lace-like quality.

Cyndi illustrates the step-by-step instructions for drawing Ila below and to see how Cyndi embellishes Ila in a variety of ways including using the Zentangle-enhancers perfs and auras in her pretty, doily-like black and white Zendala.

How to draw the Zentangle pattern Ila, tangle and deconstruction by Cyndi Knapp. Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Image copyright the artist and used with permission, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Please feel free to refer to the steps images to recreate this tangle in your personal Zentangles and ZIAs, or to link back to this page. However the artist and reserve all rights to these images and they must not be publicly pinned, altered, reproduced or republished. They are for your personal offline reference only. Thank you for respecting these rights. Click the image for an article answering common myths from the internet about copyright.

As you enjoy any of the tangles on the site, please leave a comment of thanks and encouragement to show the artists you appreciate them for sharing their creativity to inspire yours.

Check out the tag cyndik for more of Cyndi’s tangles on

Related Links

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  2. What is a Zentangle? — if you are new to the Zentangle Method, start here for the fundamentals.
  3. Zentangle terminology — a glossary of terms used in this art form.
  4. How to use the site — an excellent free video tutorial showing how to use the site as well as pointing out lots of useful features you might have missed.
  5. Linda's List of Zentangle-Original Patterns — here is the complete list of original tangles (aka "official tangles") created and introduced by founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, including those not published online. If you are new to the Zentangle Method I highly recommend learning a few of the published Zentangle classics first.
  6. "A Zentangle has no up or down and is not a picture of something, so you have no worries about whether you can draw a hand, or a duck. You always succeed in creating a Zentangle." Thus patterns that are drawings of a recognizable naturalistic or actual object, figure, or scene, are not tangles. A pattern is not always a tangle — here's what makes a tangle. TIP: tangles never start with pencil planning.
  7. How to submit your pattern deconstruction to TanglePatterns
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9 comments to How to draw ILA

  • Laurie

    fun pattern. In the tatting world those Perfs would be Picots.

    I am going to try it tonight, right after I pull out my shuttle and start a new project.

    Thanks for motivating me to start tatting again!

  • Joyce

    Pretty tangle!
    There are numerous tatting tutorials and patterns on YouTube, as well as ones on how to do needle tatting, and cro-tatting, if one wants to get into those alternatives of the same art form :-).


    Oh, I like this!

  • I like to draw Zendala’s and this is a beautiful tangle to use therefore. Thank you very much!

  • Cyndi,
    This is a great tangle. It’s easy enough and can be drawn quickly. It’s customizable easily with variations you pointed out. Another reason this tangle impresses me: The name you gave it “ILA” is my mother’s name. Ila Rose. So everytime I draw this tangle I will think of you, the creator, and my mother. Thank you very much.


  • Bunny Wright

    Cyndi, this is a lovely little pattern, fun to draw with lots of variations. Thanks for ‘Ila’

  • Joyce O

    Love this one. Reminds me of my Mother and Grandmother working on tatting.

  • I was looking at this before I read all the way down and yes, it definitely does remind me of tatting. My grandmother tatted beautiful doilies and taught me how to tat when I was in junior high school (I guess that is called middle school now though). I tatted for quite a while and made little flower picots to use to decorate stationery which I then sold through my Dad taking to work and putting them on his desk. I did a lot of things like this growing up. Now I am going to find my shuttles and see if these old fingers still remember how to tat. Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories! I’m going to try the tangle now

  • so fun and easy with two lovely variations. I tried tatting many years ago too. Did some snowflakes so this will be a fun tangle to do on a zendala or in the round on some cards for the holidays. Thanks for the share.

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