Temari – Takahara 5/2 (1. Initial Detective Work)

June 6, 2009

Yoko Takahara, Hana-temari-nyumon (Flower temari beginner’s course). Tokyo, Macaw, 1995. ISBN-4-8377-0395-X. I think I like the blokey colour schemes used, especially the series done in indigo blue-and-white. Also there are some nice easy designs and some  splendid complex kikus in pastels. And the very best suscinct description in just two pages of the link between C10’s 12 and 32,42 and 92 faces. Ok so you’ll need a lot of extra assistance to do these C10s but you can’t ask for more in a single A3-sized page, plus the magnificent explanatory photos on pages 20 and 21 (with 122,212, 272 and 282 faces -phew!). A cracker of a temari book – but aren’t they all? 


No pic of this because I need to stitch the ball first, but will translate the instructions to get a handle on temari-Japanese. Not a full translation, but approximate enough, given I’ll falter inevitably with some of the kanji. So what to make of the instructions on page 46 (top)? Obviously for copyright reasons, I can’t reproduce the original pattern or photos. Perhaps, Dear Reader, you might be able to assemble the ball purely on the strength of my written commentary.

Here’s my initial Detective Work. This will be enough for me to stitch the ball, but I will dig out my translating resources and come back with a closer translation.

The title is in the usual complex kanji, and I can barely translate the first basic 78 or so as required by the Japanese Language Performance Test Level 4, so I’ll pass on that for the moment.

Next to the title is ’16’, so I know it’s a S16 or simple 16 divisions around each pole. The words under the b/w photo are similar to those under all the photos on pp.46 and 47 and my best guess is that this is a reference to the colour photo, on page 5.

I’m guessing the intro is alerting me to the fact that this is a jyouge douji or pole-to-pole kiku stitched design. Somewhere in there must be the word kagari to denote stitch. The ’30’ is a mari of 30cm. The numbers 7,23,515 and 8 confirm I’m dealing with four yarn colours, confirming what I know from the colour photo: black mari, red and beige kiku, with French Provincial blue and yellow-ochre for the obi. I guess with a bit more diligence, I’ll get to link numbers with standard Japanese Olympus or similar Japanese yarns. At this point, I flick to the little box detailing the yarns: the title of the box indicates a double-thread (2), which itself is confirmed by the 2 and the arrow in the big stitching diagram (not so clear in the colour photo). Also I confirm that I’m dealing with a single skein of each colour, which helps in ensuring enough yarn is on hand.

The big diagram is very straight-forward if one is familiar with the dynamics of jyouge douji, also known in English as Merry-go-Round and explained in other books, both in English and Japanese, and via online instructions. I know this is going to be relatively easy compared to many other North-South pole stitching because I’m only dealing with four threads crossing each of the 16 division points at the obi in any one direction. Where you get heaps and they pile up on each, like High Food, that’s a different challenge all of its own! The big diag indicates the fairly standard 0.5cm from the pole – a bit further than the usual “tight” 0.3cm for kiku stitching. And the second red colour is a further 0.3cm down again. The stitching process for j.d. is ‘numbered’ in Japanese using symbols we see time and again in Japanese books – T, Box, Fuji. Sarah R in her Notebook calls the third “Mt Fuji”, but I know it has the kana for “i”, easy because I learnt this as “i-for-Hawaii” (see my IROHA poem post where this ‘eyebrow’ is the first syllable of the Japanese alphabet (though most Westerners learn it as mid-way through the set of Japanese vowels – aeiou).

What we’re aiming for – and this is part of the visual attraction of this temari – is the visual effect of petals created where the red crosses the divisions at two points, near the poles and probably around 0.25 the way down?

For the divisions/guidelines, I’ll use some fragile Nordic Gold (delicate to work with but lies very flat, which is good for the overlapping of so many threads at each pole). I’m preferring this at the moment to a divided, single thread of DMC perle cotton 5 Gold.

The obi instructions are left off, but the stitching over the obi is indicated in the big diag, being 2.5cm from the equator. From the numbers on the diag I think the blue is #515, the yellow is #7, the red is #23… 

Ok so the colours of red/yellow/black are somewhat stark, but personally I tend to copy everything as-is on my first attempt. With a second attempt, having got the technique right, I will start playing around with the colours and yarns.

Photo to follow!


One Response to “Temari – Takahara 5/2 (1. Initial Detective Work)”

  1. Barb S. Says:

    I love your blog! I have this book – it’s one of my favorites. I model my diagrams on these because they are so clear and easy to understand. You, Rebecca, and Carol have inspired me to look at the text in the Japanese books instead of just the photos and diagrams. I hope with practice to be able to pick up some clues from there as well. Did you notice that the stitching begins .5 cm from the pole? It’s in the diagram. Now I can find it in the text as well. It will be a good exercize to copy and enlarge this text and circle all the temari terms I can find. I’m learning to recognize some terms but need much more practice.
    Thanks for starting your blog!

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