Tuesday Temari Balls 13 – an all-over challenge

November 6, 2010


Having done three ‘all-overs’ before and a small ‘stained glass’ pattern, it’s time to tackle another ‘all-over’.  Accuracy of division lines has been improving lately, so it’s time to put these skills to the test. Today’s effort is a stepping-stone to those more complicated ‘all-overs’ where interweaving creates patterns such as butterflies. I aimed at getting the interweaving right this time and getting threads to match up nicely at the poles; this succeeded well. The background of black-and-white stripes was  a real test, since any mistakes is very obvious visually; again, I did reasonably well, with some room for improvement. Of course, I keep forgetting how tough all-overs are on the fingers; I need to go on the prowl again for a thimble large enough for a man’s middle finger!

Source: Owari Temari (ISBN 4837703917). Instructions, pp.38-39. Photo, 12

 Mari circumference, 27cm. Complex 8 divsion lines. Colours: central “flowers” of red,blue,yellow and green on a background of black and white stripes. The Ozaki example uses double-threading throughout. This is quicker than single-threading, but the technique of double-threading requires practice. For those like me who are more cautious or inexperienced with double-threading, stitching single threads is preferred.

Critical for “all-over” surface patterns is that the division lines be as accurate as possible. This means checking and re-checking measurements prior to stitching on a ball that is ideally as round as possible. Because of the constant handling of the ball required in stitching “all-overs”, division lines should be firmly attached with tacking stitches. “Moving” stitched threads into shape (“nudge-and-fudge”) is possible, but only to a limited extent. All in all, the greater attention to detail in mari preparation, the less problems one will encounter at the very end of making the temari ball when the “seams” of the squares meet up.

Since none of the background mari colour will show, any colour waste thread can be used, but in this particular case, a white/cream thread is ideal, but keep it thin. Division lines need to be in a colour that doesn’t exactly match the mari colour – removing them in the latter stages of stitching can become difficult otherwise.

It’s important not to despair at first efforts in “all-overs” if they don’t meet your own exacting standards. “All-overs” seem to invariably receive a lot of attention and admiring comments from others, regardless of your own opinion. I think the strong sense of visual delight in ‘all-overs’ stems from the technique being “concealed”, compared to stitching where textual depth of field is in play, where any stitching is  more obviously sewn against a background. The visual “seamlessness” of ‘all-overs’ is the thing that makes them attractive.

“All-overs” consume large amounts of thread compared to other patterns, hence this mari is on the small side at 27cm circumference. With a relatively small mari though, be aware that the curves over which the thread travel are steep, so there is less room to play around with in adjusting stitches compared to a larger mari.

Lastly to keep division lines in place, tack at junctions, but do not tack at the poles. Tacking at the poles can lead to the visual problem of “splitting” at the poles caused by the “knotting” effect of a lot of stitches coming together. The net effect of the “knotting” is a visual bump and “splitting”. So as the large squares meet up at their seams, remove the division lines to create an even surface of stitches, taking special care at the junctions. To a certain extent, the ‘knotting’ effect at the poles is lessened by the “X” in black (two thicknesses of thread) across the coloured petals.

The standard visual instructions for ”all-overs’ call for squares alternating with triangles, but this is complicated by any interweaving of the stitches. My method in this particular example was to stitch the stripes and triangles to half their full distances and then commence the interweaving process. I assume this is explained at length in the text accompanying Ozaki’s instructions; I’m unsure exactly how other stitchers tackle this issue.

Photo to follow.

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