Those of you new to tangling may wonder how in the world a person can remember how to draw a particular tangle.  The answer is a step-by-step diagram that you can follow to create the pattern.  We call these Stepouts.

It’s easy to create your own stepout for any pattern.  First, draw a series of 4-6 boxes.  In the first box, draw the first stroke of the pattern with a red pen. In the second box, draw that first line again, but this time with a black pen.  Draw the second stroke with your red pen.

Keep going, one box at a time, one red stroke at a time, repeating the previous strokes with a black pen and drawing the new one with a red pen.

The example shown above is a Stepout of a tangle I created called K’mono.   You can see I  used 3 steps to create the tangle pattern and added a couple of variations in additional boxes. (This pattern is based on a kimono I saw on TV; if anyone recognizes it as a published pattern, please let me know so I can give credit.)

Most tangle patterns are 4-6 steps.  Once you’ve learned the tangle you should be able to look at the stepouts and easily remember what to do.

Stepouts are a great resource for collecting and remembering tangle patterns.  The only caution is to remember that you don’t HAVE to create the same tangle the exact way every time.  They are just guidelines, and you can have a lot of fun varying different aspects of a pattern.  I recommend adding another box or two with variations just to remind you that any tangle pattern can be a jumping off point for your imagination.

So how can you store stepouts?  Depends on how you like to organize things.  Some people keep them in a binder, with one pattern or stepout on each page.  Some like to use plastic sleeves to keep the stepout sheet and a sample tile or two.

Some people like to keep their stepouts in a journal. This is the method I used at first and because it was small enough I could grab the journal when I wanted to tangle on the go.

My current favourite method is to keep them on index cards.  I put the stepouts on one side of the card and create a completed version on the front along with the name and the source.  That way I can flip through the box and pull out a handful of tangles for any given project.

You could do the same with business card size as well, but I find that a bit small for drawing.  Same with the 2x2” Bijou tiles – these are great for just the tangle example, but there isn’t a lot of room for stepouts on the back.

Everybody has their own way of keeping track of patterns.  For some the stepouts aren’t necessary because they prefer to keep them on Pinterest or use a website like tanglepatterns.com for stepout references.  And some have purchased books with tangle patterns as resources.  For those that don’t feel the need to keep stepouts, using Bijou tiles, a journal, or even a small moleskin notebook does the trick.

If your memory is like mine, you might want to take a shot at drawing your own stepouts. In addition to creating a resource for yourself, the act of drawing these little boxes really ingrains the pattern into your brain!