Temari – Spindle design

June 5, 2009

Spindle 1  Spindle 2  Spindle 3

These are my Top 3 favourite ‘spindle’ designs. The first is from Barb Suess’ book and I just find the black-and-white with red highlights just supremely elegant: 2 spindles, 24.5cm, perle cotton 5. The second is from the Olympus craft company in Japan and I’ve managed to hit on a nice combination of browns and a variety of green-blue teal: 2 spindles, perle cotton 5. The third utilises interweaving to good effect and is from Takahara’s book, Hana-temari-nyumon, p.53 bottom: 3 spindles, 24cm, perle cotton 5. These three pass my ‘Good Temari’ test: I can just look at them for ages and ages.

Spindle 4  Spindle 5  Spindle 6

These are my next Top 3 favourites, mainly because they are so child-like in their simplicity. The evoke the traditional child’s toy much more completely than more complex surface patterns. All from the same Ozaki’s Cosmo book, no.1 (tbc): 23.5cm, perle cotton 5. And they are blissfully quick to make up.

Spindles are not my favourite design – I’ve done relatively few of them to date. They are somewhat tricky at first blush because one needs to ‘let go’ and stitch just that little bit further than one thinks at the spindle ends. You can see the undesirable ‘fat’ look in the second lot of spindles where I haven’t yet quite put the proper technique into practice.

There is of course plenty of scope for interweaving where the spindles meet at the poles and this is something that Barbara Suess has devoted herself to with remarkable success. And this in turn leads inexorably to the next logical step – that of running the threads over the obi instead of creating a distinct stitch at the end of each spindle. This ‘development’ is of course the temari interpretation of noshi, the traditional dried abalone strips which have slowly over time become paper strips fastened in the middle and are symbolic of best wishes. A regional variation of noshi has been developed to perfection in the hina temari (hina-mari) from Matsuyama City. But that’s another story.

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