Temari Tuesday 2 – Fish Temari

June 28, 2010

The “fish” temari is a variation on a beginner temari ball which relies on visual illusion: stitching threads in two colours, where one blends in to the background mari of exactly the same colour.

See the Pattern pages on www.temarikai.com: page 1 (Temari76) for the generic beginner pattern relying on the visual illusion, and page 2 (Temari Pattern 99EB01) for the Fish Temari variation.

This week’s Fish Temari was a 27.5cm circumf mari of an ochre colour and the two stitching threads were a cobalt, Provencal blue and a straw yellow perle cotton 5. 

The jiwari divisions are simple 8 (S8) in the yellow cotton. It involves having four threads on the go at once – a blue and a yellow at the north pole and the same at the south.

I started the standard kiku stitching from the poles, though as the pattern instructions indicate it’s easier to do them from the equator. Start with dark at North Pole, then dark at South Pole, return to North Pole for light, interweaving at the equator with a lot of “stretching the points”, and finish with light at South Pole – and repeat.

As you can see, the contour of the “fish” is built up from the positioning of the kiku stitches of the lighter of the two colours. With subtle variation, one can shape the head of the fish and the size of the dorsal fins.

After a few hours, I’d worked up 13 or so stitches, which appears to be rather more than the illustrations in the patterns.

I was very happy with the Maltese Cross patterns at each of the poles, but everything after that was very disappointing. The tailfins were flat at the equator, though one of the photos shows them more realistically as not-so-flat; I’m not sure how that was achieved. The large front dorsal fins seem to have been achieved not by starting the light colour right at the pole, but 1.5 or 2cm down from the pole. I think every second stitch was missed in order to achieve the “skeleton” effect; I can’t be sure. Certainly only 6 or seven stitches seemed to have been used to create the front fins, judging by the photos. I tried recessing the last three of my stitches hoping to create a stronger effect with the body: not so good! One must rely on the background colour to do this for you. In my case, the contrast between the ochre mari and the yellow stitching thread was too great to be convincing. The mari and stitching thread can’t be approximate, they really need to be exactly the same – not easy when matching sewing thread with perle cotton 5.

Better luck next time!

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