Temari ball – interlocked bands, thick and thin
September 11, 2011
24cm circumference, perle cotton #5
This is in Ozaki’s Cosmo Volume 2. I’ve attempted close to about a dozen or so of the simplest balls this instruction book, but feel as if I’ve barely skimmed the surface so far.
This one is illustrated in colour on page 3 and again in black-and-white, with no detailed instructions, on page 68. I’ve struck this pattern of thick and thin interlocked bands elsewhere in Japanese printed textiles, so I think it might be common, perhaps reflecting wood grain or bamboo marquetry.
At first it appears to be a Complex 6 in structure, but of course is a Complex 8. I started with the mid-sized bands (1 blue, 2 yellow, 2 blue) which interlock over the poles and centres of each of the eight squares around the ball. 5 stitched rounds of perle cotton 5 amounts to around a width of 0.5cm, so it’s a very simple matter of using this measurement at each of the three points of the giant triangles (that large triangular shape similar to an heraldic escutcheon).
Because of the “steep” curves around such a small ball, a somewhat loose stitching style is required in order to nudge the finished rounds into position at the finish. The natural tendency of course is to pull the thread hard when ‘burying’ the ends inside the ball, so compensating for that process is required in order to get a nice even look with stitched rounds forming parallel lines all over.
Step two is the single stitched round of blue in the centre of the giant triangles. This is where the jiwari marking threads meet up.
Step three for me was the wide bands (3 blue and 5 yellow). Again since 8 stitched rounds is roughly equivalent to a width of 1cm, I visualised this running between the thin strip and the single round alread stitched. I measured 0.5cm out from each point of the small blue triangles.
Finally step 4 was the remaining single stitched round of blue linking up with the ones stitched in Step 2.
There’s a nice geometric relationship between the bands, 1:5:7 (or 8 in my case since I thought the wide band could do looking a tad wider). The ball relies a lot, obviously, on the contrast between the bands and the negative space in the background. I’ve seen this pattern in printed textiles done in just blue and white. There is a tendency to “keep going” with the bands, to make them wider and fill up the spaces – but this temari is, ultimately, an exercise in different widths of band and the contrast between them.
The stitching looks intricate, but this design is remarkably simple and surprisingly quick to stitch.