Temari ball – a (42-faced) C10 multifaced

December 28, 2013

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREHere’s a C10 multifaced I’ve just finished. I started it a long time ago and abandoned it because I didn’t think the color scheme “worked”.

I decided to finish it because often partial stitching can be very deceptive compared to the finished product. I’m not completely happy with it, but I’m seeing it as useful as a stepping stone to a better one, rather than beautiful in its own right.

I added colors and design elements as I stitched, with no finished design in mind. I made this up as I went along. In hindsight, it reminded me of lantana, a local endemic weed.


I’ll try to run through the stitching process in as much detail as I can. Any feedback you provide will guide me on what to record when stitching similar balls in future. For the moment, I’m recording just sufficient detail to allow me to repeat the design.

The mari

I started with a 35cm ball. C10 divisions require the ball to be as round as possible. There are no secrets to roundness, apart from regularly rubbing the ball on a hard surface, such as on a table with a tablecloth, as you add layers of thread.

Laying down the structure of division lines

There are different ways of laying down the 12 pentagons and my favourite is creating a S4, finding the appropriate Magic Number and setting down pins in the middle of the S4 lines. I’ve not added photos of the process here, but can if anyone asks. The thickness of the division thread is always an issue. When learning a complicated new technique, I often use junk thread because I can rip it out when I make a mistake. Here I’ve used grey 2/20 weaving thread instead of metallic thread; an excellent alternative is pearl cotton 20 since ordinary sewing or overlocker thread can be too thin to be useful. As my confidence increases, I will use thread which is more expensive and/or more difficult to handle. Some of the tougher metallic threads are difficult to wrangle into place, while some fray too easily.

Creating multifaced reference balls

One thing I haven’t done yet is make a set of reference balls showing 32, 42, 92 and 122 faces. This is preferable to just having the diagrams on paper in front of you because you can make all sorts of judgements with the three-dimensional ball before your eyes: what size thread to use for division lines and how big each of the tiny geometric segments is for surface stitching in particular. They don’t have to be particular big balls – I notice one Japanese book has 122 faces done on a 26cm ball, but another book has 122 faces on a 40cm ball which I reckon would be more useful as a “real-life” model to refer to.

Stitching division lines ones – Stage 1

Photo 1. I find it’s important to outline very clearly the pentagon you’re working on. I have done this here today with white pins. They stay in until I’m reading to move to the next pentagon.

Photo 2. With the pentagon isolated, I create an inner pentagon between the white pins (stitching straight lines around half-way between the pins).

Photo 3. I then add curved or arcing lines between the white pins.


Stitching division lines – Stage 2

Photo 1. Now comes the tricky bit – curved or arcing lines inside the ones you’ve already done. In each of the photos, notice that I’ve stitched from a green pin (start) to a red pin (finish), being careful to do a light progressive tack at every second division line I come to. Don’t worry about the ones you’ve missed because you’ll tack them when the ‘final’ division lines crosses them later. So here, I’ve gone from the “11.30” o’clock position (green pin) and curved down to the “5.30” o’clock position finishing at the red pin.

Photo 2. Having ended up at the “5.30” o’clock position, I slip the needle across to “4” o’clock position, coming up at the green pin to start my second curved/arcing line. I stitch around to the “10” o’clock position, as shown.

Photo 3. In similar fashion to the previous, I bury the needle and come up at the spot after the adjacent white pin, here at the “9” o’clock position, shown with a green pin. You proceed around/across to the “3” o’clock position shown with a red pin. By now the visual geometry will become more obvious, so tacking (with any required nudging-and-fudging) will become more confident as you go. Tack lightly so you can shift threads into position.

Photo 4 and 5. Continue now you’ve got the hang of things.


Finish off by nudging-and-fudging the innermost central pentagon into shape. The eye naturally goes to it so it should look like a five-sided pentagon and not a ten-side circle-shape.

You will no doubt find your own preferred way of laying down division lines. My preferred method may change over time too. Whatever works for you! In the meantime, I hope my photos have been useful because there is only so much you can glean from diagrams in books. I realized later on that what I’ve stitched was a 42-face C10.

I was able to check this against my favorite book for showing the various C10 multifaces, the Japanese book Flower Temari Beginner’s Course (Hana temari nyumon) 483770395x. This book works as a good intro (you have to work out a stitching method yourself!) because it shows the progression from “simple” to “complex”, with illustrations and diagrams for 12, 32, 42 and 92 faces (see diagrams pp.68-69). With that under your belt, you can progress to 72, 122, 212, 272, 282 and 362 faces, as illustrated on pages 20-21.

One thing I didn’t do this time before starting on the surface stitching was go all over the ball and tack at every point the division lines cross.

Surface design stitching

Here’s a series of photos showing how I added each color, starting with white and moving to red, yellow. I “linked” the 12 pentagons using purple and pink, then finished with a double-threaded green.


The thing to note about this particular temari ball is the “roughness” of the stitching, caused by the fact I was using pearl cotton 5. For a “finer” appearance, pearl cotton 8 would have been better.

What I find amazing is how “different” the pattern looks with each color added. A “dark” red becomes suddenly light and more orange with the addition of yellow, for example. It’s becoming obvious why stitchers of C10 multifaced balls look to subtly graded colors to add mystery to the overall look.

I can’t say I’m happy with the end result, but a finished ball is always preferable to a half-finished one. Does it need any more work? Ideally, I’d go back and tack all the remaining points where the division lines cross with some dark green thread, as close to the dark blue mari background as possible. Either that or go back and tack all the division line cross-overs to make them look neater.

One Response to “Temari ball – a (42-faced) C10 multifaced”

  1. Laura Says:

    Really does look like the “weed” which is actually quite pretty.I live in NM. We have a beautiful weed. It turns into what we call a goathead. It will ruin your bicycle tires.
    Nicely done!!

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