Temari ball – Red & Green

January 10, 2012

23cm circumference, pearl cotton 5

Fearlessness is a personal quality everyone working in Japanese textiles needs: fearlessness standing before the indigo dyepot, applying dye to cloth and trusting in one’s skill while taking risks, fearlessness braiding from your own ayagaki pattern, fearlessness tackling the design of a new temari ball. With this sense of almost overweaning self-belief, I’ve tackled a C8 version of a C10 ball found in one of the Japanese temari books. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to stitch C8 versions of any C10s I attempt. One of my other New Year’s resolutions is to tackle (fearlessly) temari balls from photos alone, where no instructions or guides are provided.

This is my prototype or test run for one shown in Kiyoko Urata and Mayo Shimazaki’s Elegant Temari (Naniwa temari no miyako temari) (ISBN 4837706959), colour photo on p.19. Judging from those on the same page, it’s probably around 26-28cm circumference, gold jiwari on a maroon (red with black added) mari, stitch colours in white, red (a tone involving red plus grey) and a complementary green (a tone of green-yellow plus grey). The pink/red and green must not be too close tonally to the background maroon/burgundy, eitherwise the crisp colour edges will be lost.

I really like this combination of dark red/jade or pale olive green; I’m a sucker for sang de boeuf or burgundy from my studio pottery days. It’s a stupendous glaze colour, especially against jade on porcelain. There is a beaded jewellery person in Perth, Western Australia, whose trademark colours are a similar dark purple and green grape colour. These colours need to be very carefully matched – from the temari below, you can see where I’ve erred by adding traffic light red to a mix of burgundy and yellow-green – this I need to avoid!

Spoiler alert!

Perhaps you have the Elegant Temari book handy. If not, I’ll stitch the C10 later and you can see how I went. The Japanese artists seem to have stitched theirs using Kyo rayon thread, giving it a lustrous vitality. I doodled how the C10 might be constructed. I’ve not seen it discussed or photographed anywhere, so here’s how I think it goes:

Step 1 is to stitch double-threaded the white/pink-red kiku flowers at the centre of each pentagon. Step 2 is a single row of green around the stars (best done renzoku or continuously around the ball).  Step 3 is the band, double-threaded, of green passing over the single green row and clipping the ends of the red stars, again best done renzoku or continuously around the ball. This has a remarkable functional purpose, in addition to anything aesthetic: it holds down the single green rows in place (which you’ll note are sitting exposed at the corners of each large pentagon) as well as securing the ends of the kiku stars. Importantly too, it doesn’t interfere with the stitching of the diamonds in the next step. Step 4 is the diamonds, single-threaded, in green.

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