Temari – Working intermediate grade patterns

June 20, 2009

RodBRobinson38Photo1  RodBRobinson37Photo1

Buoyed up by successfully reading the diagram accompanying Robinson #36, I tackled a very similar looking one, #38 (left-hand photo). I inadvertentdly made a 30cm instead of a 25cm mari, but the increase from 2cm to 2.5cm for the obi additional jiwari wasn’t difficult.

What was difficult, and this took several hours, was getting the stitching sequence correct. How one has to visualise this is as a series of Wrapped Bands done around a Triangle, interlocked rather than interwoven. So at one pole, create four wrapped bands of 5 strands each (4 if yours is 25cm), working clockwise, starting with ABC then abc, then around the pole with the others, before moving on to the next pole. Almost immediately, you will become conscious of interlocking – and you need to maintain that focus throughout.

Getting the interlocking right at the poles will be nerve-racking, but as with all temari-making, the first attempt at any new pattern will always be a test piece. My dark pink was washed out to a mid-pink by the beige mari, same for the green. In hindsight, I perhaps ought to have gone for a darker, watermelon pink. It’s probably worthwhile bypassing the text altogether as provided; I might stick closer to Robinson’s colour palette next time.

In hindsight, I should have checked my other source books and the Temarikai website to see if this design had been explaind more fully in English. I eventually drummed up a picture of a similar one, done very simply with just two bands of colour; the picture helped – in hindsight – with the juxataposition of colours at each pole. The Robinson notebook is of inestimable value as a document showing a Western student under the tutelage of a Japanese master – that’s unquestionable and undeniable. To this extent, it’s on par with Noemi Speiser’s Manual of Braiding, created after the author also spent time in Japan. But I’d strongly caution temari makers to tackle the designs only after having exhausted other available source books, looking for clues or traits of these designs in order to tackle them.

See ISBN4837706959, Elegant temari (Naniwa temari to Miyako temari): pattern in Japanese on pp.54-55 (top), here done with 12 segments. Excellent supplementary diagrams! Definitely an Advanced Intermediate surface design. So can I conclude that Robinson 1-20 is Beginner, 20-50 Intermediate and 50-67 Advanced?  The need for me to match Temari Challenge Yahoo! Group’s Temari Competency matrix to specific ball designs (generally representative of a particularly competency) is now more urgent than ever! 

Right-hand photo is Robinson 37, which is a particularly inspired piece of colour work. Again, you have to trust mightily in the diagram because the look of the finished temari relies on a visual trick. A good exercise in double-threading. Don’t worry about gaps as you go, caused in the main by the curvature of the ball – grooming threads at the end will sort things out. I had difficulty with fitting in the single yellow thread – the mari could have been a bit bigger, and possibly the initial red yarn closer to the jiwari. I’d like to re-do this sometime after considering if single threading will yield a better result or if there’s a way of working ‘outward’ instead of ‘inward’ in stitching the squares/triangles. What’s intriguing to about this one is that there is no white – just shades of blue. Thus no ‘automatic response’ to standard red-white-blue, but as here, red-blues-yellow.

The next Intermediate Grade pattern, like the last several few, not attempted before will be a Stained Glass (Cosmo Book 3, p.16 and 18), published in English at Temarikai as Pattern 99PG04.

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