Musings and Amusings

Navajo Twisted Tangles

I’ve been practicing lots of tangle patterns and designs – a whole sketchbook’s worth. I keep reminding myself all craft is a work in progress, taking years to become ‘polished’.

The following two, begun earlier this fall, remind me of an old Navajo blanket (rug?) my parents had when I was a child. I remember it lying on a shelf in a closet in our upstairs bathroom. The closet was big enough to walk into with rudimentary, dark wood shelves andย a tiny dust-covered upper window that let in filtered light.

The closet was a place of greatย intrigue – sheltering artifacts I wanted to explore but knew I probably shouldn’t.

Or so I imagined.

You know – the way places loom larger than life or things promise a secret delight for a curious child.

I don’t know where the blanket came from, what we used it for, or if anyone else in my family remembers it. I think it had a diamond and rectangle pattern with earth tones – muted reds, yellows, tan and black.

It was scratchy to the touch.

Was it a real Navajo blanket?

Did we store it in the closet as I remember or did it lie on the floor in the back entry?

Do we even want to learn the truth behind every childhood ‘awe’?


Navajo Tangle 1


Navajo Tangle

Comments on: "Navajo Twisted Tangles" (52)

  1. They are beautiful, I love them. I love your description of the closet. We had a couple of little cubby holes that always seemed to have a lot of crazy stuff in too. I think it’s nice to keep them as mystical memories ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Really beautiful Sammy! ๐Ÿ™‚
    My mom has a cubby-hole in her bedroom, which is a ‘place of great intrigue’…I’d love to potter around inside (have to get pass the cobwebs first LOL) and see what little treasures are lurking in there…

  3. Well whatever you imagined these are rather splendid. I love your zentangles!

  4. gorgeous paintings of them!

  5. The green one is my favourite – would make a great textile print. Wrap yourself up in a sarong, next summer.

    Love the description of the linen closet. I recall poking (snooping, exploring, getting myself into trouble – you choose) around the shelves in our storage closet off the bathroom en route to the attic. Mom kept the fancier linens here. The kind that came in thin cardboard boxes, pastel colours, with a rabbit logo. Wabasso, I think?

    • It would make a pretty summer wrap! Thanks, Maggie for visiting.

      Linens are very alluring, especially when stored in boxes with tie ribbons. Not that I have anything that fancy but I DO have an imagination – clean, uncluttered closets and so forth!

  6. The designs are lovely. I have a sweater somewhat like the top one. My kids tease me whenever I wear it. But it’s toasty warm. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Carrie, your sweater sounds beautiful! I love wrapping up in a favorite this time of year. I bet some day one of your kids will be blogging a hazy, loving memory about you in your comfy sweater โ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ’—

      • Haha, maybe. I think it stands out to them because most everything else I wear is a dark or neutral solid color. It’s not like me to wear prints. But hey, we all need something a little off in our wardrobe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love the use of vertical stripes!

    • Thanks, Jane. For some reason vertical patterns are easiest for me – probably all those years of working with ledger paper!

      I hope you are doing well – i will swing by and catch up on your adventures!

  8. cardamone5 said:

    You are so talented, and I love the back story. Lovely.


  9. With me it was the basement, stuffed full of hidden treasures and forgotten secrets. My mom is a “pack-rat” (not quite so bad as to end up on an episode of “Hoarders”)…I still find mementos from years gone by down there.

    Thanks for sharing…

    • I think most of our parents ‘saved’ and ‘recycled’. At the time we helped my parents downsize, we had to accomplish it quickly so no time for exploration, but even in their much smaller condo, there are a couple closets stuffed with … the stuff of life. I salivate at some day being able to dig into it, hopefully while they are here to answer questions!

  10. Very nice! Energetic….

  11. Those are beautiful. I love the patterns and the way they repeat, but not quite. Not bound by rules but sticking to a theme. Anyway, that’s what it says to me.

    • Thanks, Dan. At this age all endeavors seem to have looser constraints, mostly because I can’t see well enough to tow the line in the sand or stay within the lines on the paper!

  12. Sammy D., I love your two tangle patterns and designs. The green one, my favorite! Reminds me of a weaved rug I bought when I lived in Greece. Now stored away, but the good memory stays! I’d love to see more of your sketches!

  13. I love the energy of both, Sammy (but green is my favorite color, so the second is my favorite). Your remembrance about your parents’ closet probably triggered something in most of us; my mom used to hide Christmas presents in hers, but I liked surprises, so I didn’t go in there much.

    • Thanks, Sandi. You’re the second reader to use the word ‘energy’, and I appreciate your insight.

      I don’t feel like either a credible writer or artist so there’s always discomfort the moment I press the publish link!

      Today’s kids seem so much more plugged in even in early years. I hope I live long enough to see them as mature adults to ask if childhood held as many mysteries for them.

      We never snooped for Christmas presents (until they were under the tree!)

  14. Bemuzin,
    I live in New Mexico and authenticity is a must in collecting native american indian art, so I appreciate your post. I enjoy many that you write, especially anything about boomer related issues. I have a blog related to such and wanted to mention that tomorrow, Nov. 23, Iโ€™m posting a piece entitled โ€œRemember This? Cat Stevens album Tea for the Tillerman (or miles from nowhere and back again).โ€ Itโ€™s timed to the release date of the album in 1970. I thought you might appreciate it. I invite you to read it and write back with your thoughts!

    • Hi Mike – thank you for your kind words and interest. it’s ironic – I was never a Cat Stevens fan, and yet, several of his songs hold great historic meaning for me as they tie to a specific project and friendship from way back when.

      I look forward to your post tomorrow. Thank you forvletting me know!

  15. Are these examples of your sketches?! Wow. I’m always in awe of anyone with artistic creative talent. I have none. I think both of your sketches are wonderful … but the green one is more intricate.
    It appears that we all have ‘special’ places in our childhood homes that held an allure. For me it was a hall closet with held my parents’ stuff … as opposed the second closet with our things. I still occasionally dream about the ‘mystery’ contained within that closet.

    • Hi Joanne – yes those are my sketches. I have zero drawing/sketching/painting talent. Well at least it’s still deeply buried, but I’m learning tangling to transition from left to right brain because I dance and write, so I know there is juice on that right side to sketch and paint. It’s simply finding my way to that gateway.

      Isn’t it interesting how we all can tell about ‘mysteries’ in our childhood homes. Is that part of every childhood or was it more prevalent for us growing up in an era where parents weren’t as open about many things? I hope I live long enough to ask future generations if they thought so many things were mysterious to them!

      • That’s a good question! I hadn’t thought that it might simply be something about our generation.
        My sister and I often talk about how secretive our parents were and how they quickly shut down any question that they thought was none of our business.
        So strange that today children are encouraged to ask questions and be curious when we were reprimanded for it!!

      • I think my parents thought they were shielding us from worry, but when we didn’t understand what was going on it just made us imagine the worst. Looking back, I wish they had talked more about several things, and I think now they wish they had.

        Finding the balance is hard.

        Today’s parents might go overboard the opposite direction

  16. These are beautiful designs, Sammy! And thank you for your musings about childhood memories. I often wonder if my own are larger than life, but I don’t think I’d ever want to confirm it either way. I’m happy with the memories the way they are. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I love the top one especially! It makes me think of a broken mirror, and for me broken mirrors look beautiful and sad

    I definitely think it’s best not to investigate to thoroughly into those kinds of childhood memories: reality often winds up being disappointingly prosaic…But I love those kind of memories, I have a ton from my visits to my grandparents. They had an old house and a huge gardens and there were all sorts of nooks and crannies that seemed full of magic and secrets.
    It’s like the gift that never stops moving, now you have grandkids who are maybe creating the same kind of memories from places in your house, and then they’ll pass that on to their grandkids etc ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That’s kind of how I feel – i want some memories to remain ‘mine’ untainted by others’ explanations. I have been conscious of hoping I’m creating special nooks and treasures for the grandkids. My owm of my grandparents are cherished as are yours, Celine ๐Ÿ’–

  18. The second one is my fav; I like the braid patterns, it pops three dimensionally.

  19. Beautiful. Now, if only they could tell us their secrets, what inspires such designs. There definitively are all sorts of patterns going in all kind of directions — maybe speaking of broken lives put back together, or trying to. Lovely.

  20. They’re supposed to be soothing to do, Sammy? Do you find that?
    I really love the first one ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice, the blanket connection.

    • Thank you,Jo! They are soothing to do, but I hunch further into my comfy chair and often end up with stiff neck because I forget to stretch or get up and move around. But, oh I love how they draw me in.

  21. I definitely love the last one, black and white with that particular green… ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Oh I missed this post, they are lovely and yes remind me of blankets, like the crochet ones, the question is will you ever find the blanket? hehe….I don’t think I have cubby holes, the place is such a mess the whole place could be considered a cubbyhole ๐Ÿ™‚ hugs x

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