Temari Ball – Yellow Stars

January 1, 2012

25cm circumference, pearl cotton 5

This comes from Ozaki, Watashi no temari nyumon (My Temari, Beginner’s Course). ISBN4-8377-0486-7; colour photo p. 60; instructions p.63.  This beginner temari book aims to get temari-stitching basics in place: masu, tsumu kagari, jyouge douji kagari, maki kagari bands and kiku are the main focus, but several intermediate designs – some including C10 – are also included towards the back of the book..

Having stitched five of the designs on pages 56 aned 57 recently, as well as the Arabic-looking five-pointed star in grey/pink one on page 60, I thought it worthwhile to work the rest of the patterns 

The colours in the ‘yellow star pattern’ evoke the famous Russian palace, the Catherine Palace near St Petersburg, with its facade of blue, white and yellow, as seen on television recently. More directly, they are the exact colours of a pair of surf shorts in the house – I suspect we pick on up colour schemes from our immediate environment more than we suspect! The Palace facade uses two primaries (similar to red and blue or red and yellow) but the temari includes the direct complementary opposites of blue/orange.

The pattern involves kiku stars at each of the four corners of the major six squares, meeting at the squares’ sides as layered rows. The centre of each square is a separate 4-pointed star done in kiku. There are two colour elements here: lighter yellows forming the square centres and layered, contrasting with darker orange at the squares’ corners. The Ozakis use a white row to start the ‘background’ kiku and a white row to finish the ‘dominant’ kiku, creating a unity one often sees in Japanese textiles and design.

The Ozaki’s use a teal blue-green as their mari with gold jiwari on a ball of 27cm circumference. I’ve adopted a peacock or cobalt blue with silver jiwari on a ball of 25cm. The same stitching colours apply however: white, three yellows and an orange.

Step 1. C8 division lines in metallic thread. Add supporting lines: as shown in the photo, stitch from each corner of a square to the midpoint on the division lines and link up all these four midpoints to form an offset square. In terms of geometrical analysis, we’re looking at small squares surrounded by larger hexagons.

Step 2. From the centre of each of the six squares out to the corners of the offset square, stitch in white the first row of a four-pointed kiku. From the centres of each of the corners of the large squares, stitch in white the first row of a five-pointed kiku. Layering rows as you go, repeat with light yellow, mid yellow and orange threads. The number of rows will depend on the size of the mari. The original pattern (27cm mari) calls for four rows; I’ve also stitched four on my on 25cm mari, but ideally it’s important to keep the negative spaces relatively even in size to create a harmonious final effect: let the stars “breathe”. Notice, geometrically-speaking, the negative spaces here creating Maltese crosses.


Step 3. At each of the corners of the six large squares, stitch a five-pointed kiku over the top of the previous kikus: four rows of orange and a final row of white.

My stitching is not all that crash hot, but my mind is already jumping ahead. There is scope for development here: interlocking squares and hexagons around the division line (but in suitably dark tones so as not to detract from the ‘flowers’); exploiting the Maltese cross shapes. One should also re-stitch this as C10 instead of a C8 – in fact one should re-stitch all C8s as C10s and vice-versa: a worthy New Year’s resolution for any stitcher of temari!


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