Kiku herringbone (uwagake chidori kagari)

April 30, 2017

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A student of mine sought my advice about making a small kiku herringbone temari as a special gift, with particular colours in mind. I gave her the following advice, complete with a 21.5cm circumference sample:

  1. Stitch three balls: the first to revise/consolidate the stitching, the second to think about the number of layers/rows and colours and the third to give away.
  2. The number of layers/rows for each colour is significant: a single row of colour can too often be “lost” in its surroundings, two rows makes a solid statement and three becomes a “band” of colour.
  3. The combination of colours is significant. I urge my students to work with ungen or shaded colour from light to dark in the Japanese tradition. Often the final layer can be significant, as shown in the example I provided: one hemisphere has a final row of dark blue (which seems to “lock in” the petals and reinforces the strong contrast between ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ colours) and the other hemisphere has a final row of orange which moves the colour palette more to ‘warm’ colours.
  4. The overall size of the ball can be significant (because the bigger the ball, the more the layers/rows), so I gave her two divided blank balls to consider, one at 27cm and the other at 30cm circumference.
  5. I like to keep the obi a green colour, in reference to the vegetation surrounding the flowers.

I’m pleased to report the ball my student stitched was exquisitely done!


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