Temari – Takahara 5/2 (2. Photo and post-mortem)

June 7, 2009

Takahara 2.5 

Okay, so this ball took very little time to make, as predicted. Instead of a beige, I went for the palest yellow. The red was straightforward, as was the blue obi. I’m not exactly sure if it’s specified in the directions, but I went for a slightly dark yellow, almost ochre, for the stitches over the obi. I don’t think I’ve got the colours used matched up completely correctly with the diagram, but I’ll get around to that later. Of course it only occurred to me after making it that it was based on the standard ‘red-yellow-blue’ mix of colours.

No problems making the ball, except this is my first decent attempt at working with a double thread. Not sure if I can put the knack of working with it in words, but it requires a thumb at the end of the stitch to groom the threads correctly once the needle has made the stitch and where they twist overly, a loosening of the threads either side of the stitch to finish. Apart from that – and like all things temari, it’s a matter of practice – the only major thing to do was to nudge-and-fudge the cross-overs of threads between each guidline at the end, ensuring nice big petals on the flowers at the poles for the desired visual effect.

I noticed in the text of Step 5 the number ‘8’, so I assumed that was the number of wraps for the blue obi in total. A rather skinny obi for my liking, but perhaps it was 8 on either side of the equator. Further probing of the text required!

I thought 2.5cm up from the equator for the obi stays was too big a distance at first, but it turned out just right visually in the end. Its purpose is not just to fill the space but help link the flower to the obi, reinforced by the repeated use of the yellow. As in painting with red to push the subject into the foreground and with blue to knock it back into the background, so here the blue delicately provides depth to the extended petals. 

This was an exercise based on not just looking at the photo and diagram and using that as a jumping-off point for my own decisions regarding mari size, colours and surface design variations – my usual m.o.- , but sticking more closely to the instructions.

In a more cerebral frame of mind, I can now go back and look at the geometry behind some of the centimeter measurements given, e.g.  2.5cm for stays compared to the 7.5cm pole-to-equator. Then I can more usefully adapt these measurements to smaller or larger mari.

In terms of colour, with the finished ball in front of me, it’s now easier to imagine it in different colorways, e.g. the importance of retaining the lighter of the two colours at the poles ‘framed’ by the darker colour, and all on a darker-still mari. That old tonal ‘three-way’: white, grey and black…

I was so pleased with having gotten over the hump of double-thread stitching, that I went straight on to two other ‘string’ designs  – 3/32 and 4/32 – where a pleasing effect is gained by just having single double-thread stitching over a plain background. They came out nicer than the photos in the book suggested.

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