Temari ball – Deep Blue Sea (1)

January 2, 2012

Ayako Sato is the author of a temari book entitled “Owari Temari” (ISBN4-8377-0391-7). I note her way of creating division lines on a Complex 10 ball on pages 22-23, the main advantage for me being that it’s done in one continuous thread, making nudging and grooming easier before stitching.

Today marks the beginning of my fifth year stitching temari and instruction-writing is one thing I want to develop in the months ahead. Many complex temari remain complete mysteries for me despite the presence of diagrams and instructions.

I’ve noticed some potential in working out relatively straight-forward surface patterns from photos alone. Apart from the obvious first critical test – is it a C8 or C10 (or any of the other standard geometrica divisions)? – I’m learning to work out which stitched rows are closest to the mari background, and which are added later. Sometimes there is a clear distinction between “backround” stitching (close to mari, overlaid with “foreground” layers) and top-layer or “foreground” stitching, especially bands or shapes disguising joins.

This one I’ve dubbed “Deep Blue Sea” because it falls into the all-blue genre of temari, those celebrating shades of blue and recalling that foundation-stone of Japanese textiles, indigo dyeing. Even in the most sophisticated of embroidered Kyoto kimono, dyeing effects are used and all stem from the graduated colour arising from ai or indigo and the number of times the cloth is dipped in the dyepot.

The colour photo is on page 7 of Sato’s book, ball #3. I’ve starting replicating it as follows:

Step 1 (Foundation). C10 in blue metallic thread on a dark blue mari. Mine is a generous 32cm circumference.

Step 2 (Background). Stitch offset pentagons. I’ve added extra rows because of the larger size mari. I started stitching half-way out from the centres. Absolutely key to stitching these offset pentagons is to ‘watch the kite’: don’t focus on  your stitch (you know how to stitch) but watch instead the angle at which your thread crosses the kite-shape in the negative space behind. Your thread must cross the division line at 90 degrees.

Step 3 (Foreground). The bands cutting across the offset pentagons start near the corners of the original large pentagons: black, dark blue, white (all double-threaded) then a single-threaded blue to hold the threads which cross-over in place. I need to revise my terms, but this is probably renzoku: a single stitch which travels around the ball and finishes where it started. The key to this step (and all following) is to note exactly at which stitching point you started and which pentagon you started on. You will need to number the pentagons 1-7, starting with your first and progressing to the next in a spiral from the “top” of the ball to the “bottom”.  I used a system of coloured pins to remind me. If you ignore all this, the “Texan star” cross-overs in the centre of each offset pentagon – very visible when you start stitching in white – will be out of order. Do all renzoku stitches on pentagon 1 (clockwise or counter-clockwise), then in the same sequence (clockwise or counter-clockwise) stitch the remaining ones in pentagon 2 and so on. After a while you will notice you have only one renzoku stitch to do in the final pentagons. I started stitching 1cm out and each row moved further away.


All that remains is the white and blue stitched renzoku bands and then some small pentagons in the centres of the larger ones. Ill post the rest tomorrow!


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