Temari Ball – Continuous Motif inside pentagons

January 6, 2012


31.5cm circumference, pearl cotton 5

With the prospect of another big year of university study ahead of me, I imagine I will be going on several intermittent temari/braiding jags as in 2011: one now before Semester 1 starts, a second in mid-Winter after Sem1 exams and again next December when the year is done. Temari-stitching ought to be more or less continuous; picking it up after an absence has its problems. It’s at these respite times during the year though that I review what colleagues have been doing and I try to “catch up”. Herding is big on the Internet (Yahoo! Groups, let alone Facebook) but I tend to tag along away down the back of the pack somewhere. 

I’m reviving Complex 10/C10 skills just at the moment: laying down division lines, tacking them efficiently, noting “natural” efficiencies such as jump stitches, single stitch renzoku, etc. All these little things improve very gradually over time. The first goes are very raw, but one mellows.

Continuous Motif

I’ve noted simple triangle shapes within pentagons (e.g. Temarikai Pattern 072) and more complex stitching linking pentagons (e.g. Temarikai Pattern 061), but since colleagues have been busy lately discussing ‘continuous’ stitches, I thought I’d have a go at an “innie” (a motif running around inside a pentagon, worked as a continuous stitch) as described over at http://temarimath.info, Item 100702. Debi discussed this in her blog on 10 October 2011, which gives you some indication of how slowly these ideas germinate here. I will progress either to an ‘outie’ (the motif moving outside pentagons) or some independent doodling of my own, as she recommends.

Colour considerations

I thought I’d simplify things visually by not using ungen, graded colour, but simply “bands”. Not even blacked-edged bands. I’ve gone back to reading Hideaki Chijiwa’s Color Harmony: A Guide to Creative Color Combinations, who says to (1) be aware of a general all-over colour (e.g. my temari as pictured in Photo 1 below is “brown”, despite the presence of blue and yellow); (2) don’t use more than two or three colours, five is too many and (3) have an accent colour (here my yellow) on a dull background (my brown mari with blue jiwari).  I am having some real problems with Chijiwa’s advice, but will take it slowly; see my future posts devoted to colour.

Let me say that I regretted using blue thread (2/20 tencel) over the brown mari and regretted even more laying down a single row of yellow! But having slept on it, it works.

Photo 1. Like the way this turned out – will return to Chijiwa’s book to work out why

I had in mind just three plain colours – yellow, green and violet, all mid colours, nothing very brash. Yellow as the main colour (because of the high tonal contrast with the mari), violet (because I think it might work on the yellow as its background) and green (because I have this notion that I am stitching flowers and it will form some sort of vegetation background). Probably three rows max; unlike Debi’s I want some mari colour to show through a bit more).

As seen in Photo 2 below, I followed the outline of the division lines in white and overlaid the violet pentagon, without interlocking it around the continuous motif. By this time, the pale blue 2/20 tencel used for the division lines had morphed into a dark blue/green against the neighbouring colours. Because the flower petals were interlocking, it didn’t make sense to upset the balance by adding a triangle as envisaged. You’ll notice perhaps that in stitching the yellow rows, I mixed interlocking with layering; by rights, it should be one or the other.

Photo 2. White pentagons stitched under the yellow, then violet over the yellow.

The end result called to mind lantana, an Australian plant (declared a Weed of National Signifiance). The variation in the colours of the lantana flowers give rise to the idea of varying the colours of the flower petals across the large pentagons.


I’m happy that I managed some plain-looking “bands”, all of three rows each (helping to create unity across the ball), a layered-band look with “equal” amounts of background mari showing throughout.

2 Responses to “Temari Ball – Continuous Motif inside pentagons”

  1. Lantana lol, it is one of the prettier weeds we have in Australia. I’ve been enjoying your posts Rod. Shame it is almost time for Uni to start again. Good luck for you studies this year.

    • rodbyatt Says:

      Thanks for your support during 2011! I thought the mention of lantana would get a laugh from you and any other Aussies reading this.

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