September 1, 2013
25cm circumf, perle cotton 5
This is a series of balls based on a particular design structure, used as exemplars in teaching my students how to (1) interpret overlapping elements in a temari ball’s stitching and (2) consider complementary opposites on the color wheel.
A long time ago, I worked up some examples in the Green-Red colour complementaries (background). Recently, I added one in Blue-Orange and one in Red/Purple-Blue/Green (foreground).
I’ve spent the last six months running Free Workshops in temari ball stitching in my local area. It’s been enormous fun, but the times they are ‘a changing. Because giving away one’s intellectual property (aka socialism) isn’t really the go under the new economic order starting next week, after the Federal Elections, altruism and assistance and giving away stuff for free just won’t cut it from now on and I need to move with the times. Being Nice to People is no longer socially acceptable and I need to move from being a Nice Bloke to a Hard Man.
These temari balls will become nostalgic reminders of better times.
May 14, 2013
May 14, 2013
I’m completing the final step of this C10 ball, originating from the book Kii temari by Ozaki and the subject of a stitchalong among members of the Temari Challenge Yahoo! Group.
It’s 31cm in circumference and the core is four socks which have developed holes. I’m not into darning cheap acrylic socks from China, though I was reminded recently of this lost art recently when I came upon a darning ‘mushroom’. I have some hand-knitted socks for Winter which I hope never wear out – those ones, when the time comes, I’ll have to consider darning!
I’ve used a favorite color combination of mine – russet red with grey, black and white – which reminds me of my days with Western calligraphy, using black ink, with white and grey gouache paint on Venetian Red Canson paper. Having completed Steps 1 and 2 (large pentagon stars, 7 rows, followed by a further 5 rows interlocking around the stars), I’m now adding the final 7 rows of russett in each of the twelve C10 pentagons.
The division lines need to come out because they are too thick and are interfering with the final stitches at the seams. I used perle cotton 20 in beige instead of a very fine sewing thread or metallic thread. I can see areas for improvement next time I do this design, including ‘stretching the points’ more to create nice petalled “flowers”. Next time too, I’ll use a variegated thread instead of laboriously stitching rows of alternating white and grey.
This is the “nice” side of temari-stitching for me at the moment. The “not-so-nice” side is preparing lots of balls ready to sew for the next workshop I’m leading.
April 25, 2013
Free temari ball workshop, led by Rod Byatt (BA DipTeach).
Where: Community Room, Marrickville Council Library, cnr Marrickville and Petersham Roads.
When: Monday 6 May, 10an to 1pm.
Bookings essential, max.10 participants. Contact Marrickville Library, ph. 9335 2173.
If class is full, tell Marrickville Library you want to go on to the Waiting List for a repeat of this workshop.
A second lesson in temari and time to produce a ball using the herringbone stitch in a kiku/chrysanthemum pattern.
April 8, 2013
Here is a bunch of my most recent temari balls. Each fell short of expectations in one way or another, but I’m of the belief that it’s the responsibility of any artist to focus on quantity rather than on quality. Quality is for other people to assess. Of course, I will do the best I possibly can with each ball, but basically I’ve just got to just ‘get on with the job’, progress being almost imperceptible.
These last few weeks I’ve had a go at Joan’s Ninja Star, with the spectrum colours on black. Initially, I’d tried to work this out myself, without the pattern, but gave up. I am grateful for Joan’s explanation about how the bands are created. The initial problem of laying down the initial bands was explained and I got there in the end – just! The problems along the way were without number, so I’m a bit awry at the moment about repeating the process. I am also grateful for the different ways my colleagues over at Temari Challenge (Yahoo! Groups) approached the design; their different colorways were truly inspiring and kept me going.
I’m terribly grateful too to Barb Suess for her excellent explanations in her latest book about Ribbed Herringbone and Descending Herringbone, both of which I tried in following her Clematis and Jasmine designs. I adore their simplicity but the colours need to be just right, as do the number of rows and whether or not to keep them exactly parallel or not.
The gaudy red-and-white on black is a design I’ve been meaning to do for ages, but was thrown by the stitching sequence in the Japanese pattern. I’ve yet to work out exactly how to keep track of where I’m up to with the threads being worked continuously around the ball. I marked the starting point with a pin, but that was insufficient. After a few more attempts at this design, I will probably arrive at an appropriate method. I missed out on a band of dark gold which would have mediated the dominant red-pink; the bold triangles have always been somewhat off-putting.
I’m looking at simple kiku herringbone designs. The red/black/white duo come from Ozaki and the delicate pink over greens comes from Barb Suess. The latter needs some refinement because I ran out of space for the greens which I would have loved to include. Again, not 100% happy with the strength of the hues, my current off-white thread for background mari being too close to the thread colours.
Another, both successful and not. The original was a continuous red and white stitching thread throughout.
Lastly, an all-green ball, worked as a gift for a long-time friend whose favourite colour this is. The challenge was not to introduce any other colour and I’m not sure whether a subtle brown was an appropriate background. I swore off grey as a mari colour ages ago and I find brown a difficult colour to work with at the best of times. The same goes for green. I was sensitive to the difference between warm greens and cool greens. I daresay she will like this one though. Having stitched dozens of C10s in the past three years, I’m still waiting for very exact hexagons and pentagons to come along. I suspect I have to stitch hundreds rather than dozens to get there! I disguised the most obvious errors by using stitching thread colours which blended in to the background.
April 7, 2013
In her second book on takadai braids, Makiko Tada details four different flat braids of the ryuko (dragon/tiger) design, all done with 50 bobbins on the takadai braiding stand. I worked my first one about seven years ago, but am doing them now as ‘miniatures’ with just 4 and 6 strands (20/2 weaving yarn) per bobbin, producing a much narrow braid than I’ve done in the past.
I got the idea of “miniature” braids from ‘apprentice’ braids on public display in the museum section of the Adachi braiding workshop in Kyoto. In addition, I got specimens of sageo from eBay and saw examples in my local art gallery, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, with their fine Japanese swords on display, with sageo attached. I’ve seen similar at the Osaka City Museum and I’ve got my own insignificant Korean repro sword, with a double-layer takadai sageo braid (a pickup braid with less than the usual 66 or 60 bobbins).
My warps are four metres so I thought I’d get around 60″ or so of braid (I scored 2.72 metres). There are four ryuko braids: Ryuko-gumi, Ryuko-shima-gumi (“striped”), Uroko-ryuko-gumi (“dragon scales”) and Hirosuji-ryuko-gumi (“wide striped”). All of these are done with equal numbers of bobbins in two colours. Working at the rate of several centimetres a day, this first one took the best part of six weeks.
The function of these braids was sageo or sash for Japanese sword, attached to the metal loop on the saya or scabbard of the sword and attached to another braid or running entirely around the waist proper, under or over the heko-obi or men’s obi waist sash. We know this design was used for sageo in the Edo Period because it’s mentioned in the kumihimo classic, Shika Suuyou, a braiding manual of 1826. So the aperture of the saya is the governing factor for the width and depth of the braid. I’ve not designed these for any Japanese sword in particular.
First up is the Ryuko-shima-gumi (shima meaning “stripe”). There are just eight hand-movements through one complete cycle; it’s nice to know that there is consistency in the “big” jumps between bobbins which are always over six. I did this in Praslon (synthetic) 2/20 weaving yarn, so it as a very matt appearance compared to shiny silk. I’m okay with this pattern and its braiding to upgrade to rayon or silk sometime.
I successfully submitted this as part of the Complex Weavers kumihimo Study Group’s six-monthly braid exchange.
Makiko Tada, Comprehensive Treatise of Braids IV: Taka-dai braids 2. Tokyo: Texte, 1998. Pattern 48.
March 24, 2013
28cm circumference; white mari background; C10 divisions and extra marking lines in white perle cotton 20; rose (single- and double-threaded) and light green stitching threads in perle cotton 8.
I’m quite pleased with myself because I’ve been looking at this pattern for a few years now and today I’ve finally worked it out.
It’s from Cosmo 4 (Atarashii Temari/New Temari) by Ozaki; pattern on pp.62-63. The original is on a black mari and uses very shiny silk-like threads in green and lavender.
It’s obvious that achieving sufficient tonal contrast between the background and stitching thread is important, as it is in all asanoha (hemp-leaf) stitching, but the main point here is to work out the pattern and the stitching sequence for the hemp-leaf stitching.
Now that I’ve done one of the faces, I can finish it off before deciding to stitch it again in more interesting colours.
In the absence of local teachers and colleagues, patience and persistence obviously get results!