Temari ball – bordered flower (1)

September 24, 2011


25cm circumference, perle cotton 5

I originally decided to use the same stitching threads on a black and white mari respectively, just to see how the  mari background affects the ‘foreground’ stitching colours.  The source for today’s temari ball is Ozaki’s Temari for Four Seasons, volume 1 (colour photo page 12 ball 5, instructions pp.68-69). For my first ball, I stuck with her red/green complimentary colour scheme, but put it on white instead of black.

There are four distinct components here: (1) a ”flower’ at each pole, done in ungen colouring done in shitagake-chidori stitch, surrounded by (2) interwoven bands in a complementary colour scheme, enveloped by (3) an obi, thick enough to cover the six cross-over points around the equator, as well as (4) four lots of starbursts in the negative spaces. Over-stitching on the obi and the starbursts are not just decorative effects; they have a very practical function insofar as they contain the stitch threads at the cross-over points.

Since the initial stitched round is so close to the two poles, there is no particular need to tack the jiwari marking threads at the poles. Some light tacking of the remaining jiwari markings wouldn’t go astray either because of the nature of stitching shitagake-chidori which involves manipulation of threads as you stitch under previous kiku stitches. I strongly advise “keeper pins” at the equator, not just to contain the volume of threads crossing over at the six points, but also to keep the equator marking thread in place. With so much “going on” in terms of concentrating on correctly interweaving at the poles (and nudging rounds to form a nice hexagon), it’s easy to miss things slipping at the equator. If things happen at the equator, there is some flexibility in correcting things with the wrapped obi, but more importantly it’s the negative spaces around the obi that can get slightly out-of-whack – something you won’t notice till you go to add the four starburst stitches in each quadrant of the four diamonds.

You’ll notice from photo of the obi area in her pattern instructions how Ozaki buries the stitches for (2) underneath and out of the way of (1) at the six cross-over points. The threads of the bands certainly don’t go over the top of the flower threads: the bulk would be too much. There is logic too in working a ball somewhat larger than mine; she suggests 31cm which make for greater “comfort” all round in terms of each of the four surface design components.

Things are a bit wobbly in places regarding this temari ball, so I could benefit from doing another in the same style!

P.S. This afternoon I picked up on a television documentary where ungen shading was used by Giotti in his Scrovegni Chapel frescoes in Padua, dating from the early 14th century. Given the presence of elements from Byzantine design (e.g. the rendering of mountains in the frescoes), one has to assume the shading used in his angel wings (and in roundels surrounding portraits of saints which used three shades of the one colour) derives in some way from the Middle East. Given that the Silk Road essentially linked Estonia to Nara – one long giant cultural superhighway – , I have to wonder whether this approach to graduated colour shading didn’t resonate in cultures along that Road. Gradation of colour is at the centre of the bargello technique in Italian embroidery.


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