Temari: Hito hude gake on a 14-face ball

November 16, 2012

I’ve finished two temari using a technique which takes it name from calligraphy: the continuous, “one-brush-stroke” technique (hito=single; hude/fude=brush; gake/kagari= stitch). Moving as it does from North to South Pole and back again, it feels positively Jungian in its journey from Earth to Hell and back (without looking back!) as undertaken by Orpheus and Eurydice.

Note on Divisions. Normally this is done on a Complex 10 (C10), through a series of regular pentagons. There is a Complex 8 variation up on the http://www.temarikai.com website. And Barb Suess raises the possibility of working through 14 faces (a combination of squares and hexagons). My two here are both 14 faces, nearly 25cm circumference on dark brick red/russet red, one with “background” kiku/chrysanthemums in a light brick red and the other “plain”. I’ve photographed the North Pole head on, where half of the pentagon is in yellow and the other half in orange. This half-and-half colour is exactly the same on the South Pole. Yellow and orange are stitched in various proportions on the faces between North and South Pole. Having set on a North and South Pole hexagon face (faces 1 and 14), it took me a while to think through the correct sequence of faces 2-13. If you move from a hexagon (face 1) to a square (face 2), you will end up with a hexagon on face 13 and on face 14. My thinking was a bit fuzzy because one stitches through pentagons on a C10, all of them the same. If your 14 faces are numbered (e.g. numbered pins), don’t be in too much of a hurry to take the numbers out; it’s easy to get sidetracked into stitching in a wrong direction even after the initial row down and back is in place.

Note on Colours. The “right” level of tonality is critical with a simple HHG, Whether you have a white mari or a black/very dark one, you need two similar ‘grey’ tones for the two-coloured flowers. If one (or both!) of the flower colours are too close in tonality to the background mari, the pattern loses its effect. I can’t think of a temari situation where colour tonality is more important than in stitching HHG.

Note on Marking Threads. Most HHG examples I’ve seen retain the metallic marking threads, but it’s not mandatory. It’s possible to eliminate them. What I have learned so far is to keep the marking threads “quiet” – they really do need to blend into the background mari so as not to detract from the Main Event.

Note on stitching to the centre of each face. In one ball, I stitched right to the centre of each face. In the other, I left 1cm between the centre of each face and the flower stitching.

Note on Flower Colours. Obviously a lot of visual interest stems from having two colours for the flowers. In both, I stitched 4 rows of orange and 4 of yellow and then switched colours for the final row, as does Buchanan in her green-purple on gold HHG mari at http://www.temarikai.com. Sodke, on a C8 variation, uses white and mauve on a dark red but doesn’t do anything fancy on the last row. It’s possible to stitch a darker colour of each on the final row: I stitched a dark red next to the orange and a white next to the pale yellow. It’s also possible to split the colour of each half-flower into two, one slightly lighter or darker than the other, but HHG gains considerably from simplicity.

While today’s two are a disappointment colour-wise, I give myself a pat on the back for having put hito hude gake into practice, something which hitherto has definitely been beyond my reach, dwelling in the realm of the “grown up” temari stitchers.

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