Temari 45

temari 45 view 1

The design for this temari is the result of several ideas coming together.

I had made a ball wrapped in black thread that just refused to be a nice sphere. It was stubbornly a slight pumpkin shape, so it was not good for the intended C10 division. But, I saved it thinking it would be good for a simple division.

After making a smaller version of a large temari (number 26 not yet shown on this blog), I got to thinking that some of the designs that filled pentagon areas would make interesting designs on there own. Okay, this does not make much sense yet, but it will make more sense when the rest of temari #26 is shown in a future post. But for now, I will show the pentagon design that this one is from.

I wondered what the design would look like with on a simple division with one at each pole and the points of the arrowhead knots just touching each other at the obi, or equator.

five arrowhead knots

I had some threads that I hand dyed and was eager to stitch a temari with. Using a red rayon embroidery thread that matched the red hand dyed thread that I was going to use for an accent, I wrapped it sparsely on the ball to give the black background some interest. Then followed with a little more black to tone down the red a little.

The ball was marked for a simple 10 division with an obi, or equator. The two designs spread open on the ball, creating large open spaces at the center of each at the two poles and between the points at the equator. This allowed for a five pointed star at each pole and for nested diamonds at the equator that also interlock with the larger design where there used to be little triangles.

temari 45 view 2

The finished ball has about a 7″ diameter and is stitched with hand dyed size 5 perle cotton thread.


A Half Dozen More Temari and Hand Dyed Threads

All of these temari feature hand dyed perle cotton thread, all of which I have hand dyed except in one of the temari.

temari 39

temari 39

For temari 39, the “solid” color threads are not really solid, but slightly mottled. I can buy or dye solid colors, but slightly mottled colors have a certain appeal to me because of their unevenness of color.

temari 40 view 3

temari 40

In Temari 40, both a mottled green and a dark variegated thread are used to create a bold design. The color variation in the dark thread gives added interest to the simple shapes while the bright mottled green ties the design together and gives definition to the crossed spindles.

temari 41 view 2

temari 41

For temari 41, the color scheme was reversed in that the large squares are stitched with the mottled thread and the variegated thread is used for the outlining and the marking threads.

temari 42

temari 42

This temari, number 42, was stitch with interlocking triangles and set aside with the feeling that it was not finished. Later, the crossed spindles that interlock with the triangles were added. Here a true solid color, the rose pink in the crosses, was used to show off the single strand of variegated thread in the center of the spindle bands.

temari 43

temari 43

Temari 43 is a wee little temari at 3/4 inch in diameter. The marking thread is a cotton machine quilting thread and the stitching thread is a size #10 perle cotton.

temari 44

temari 44

Although temari 44 sports a couple variegated threads, I did not dye them, only the yellow. They were a couple of skeins I picked up an embroidery shop.

This temari was a project that I brought with me to a convention to work on during lectures when I was not taking notes and during the break between lectures. Since this one would be finished before the convention was over on the second day, I brought #42 and finished that one too. It was a good convention that I left with much new information crammed in my head and two finished temari in my littlest of project tote bags.


Two Repurposed Sewing Projects

Wishing for an ottoman and not being able to find one that I liked, led me to repurpose a milk crate.


What I was looking for was a foot rest with storage space under the cushion. We had an old wood milk crate that was hidden away in a closet that was just the right height with a cushion on top.

The wonderful tapestry fabric was left over from recovering a set of dining room chairs and some scrap lumber in the attic made the base of the cushion. So the only purchase was the 2″ thick foam. The inside is yet to be lined. It will get a lining like the one made for the picnic basket shown below.

picknick basket 1

This sturdy picnic basket was given to me by a friend. It has found a new purpose by being a project basket that I can tote around the house and keep my current sewing project materials tidily within reach of where ever I am parked.

To give the inside a smooth interior that won’t snag threads like the wood does, I made a removable liner. Fabric was stitched to a very stiff stabilizer (Peltex) to make a liner that fits snuggly inside the basket. The liner is stiff enough that it stands on its own so does not need to be attached to the picnic basket.

picknick basket 2

A peek inside the basket shows the liner and my latest temari that I am working on.

Cashmere Handbag- for a friend

With a handbag sized hole cut out of a felted cashmere coat, there was still plenty of fabric leftover to make another hand bag. Don’t worry, this beautiful coat was saved from being thrown away since it was riddled with moth holes which, when the coat was felted, disappeared. Of course it was no longer any good as a coat because it went from a size sixteen down to a very snug size six.

The only problem with trying to make a large bag from this coat was having to work around seams since the coat was nicely shaped with princess seams.

cashmere bag 2

By cutting out 2″ and 4″ squares and then piecing them together, not only did it create a larger piece of fabric to work with, but created an interesting pattern. The squares were sewn together the same way that the first bag was pieced.

This bag was made as a surprise for a friend and I did not know what length strap she would prefer, so I made the strap adjustable. On the inside, I added several features that I thought she might find useful: an open pocket, a zipper pocket and two D-rings.

cashmere bag 2 inside

When I made a handbag for myself a couple years ago, I added two D-rings to the inside for attaching things like keys with a clip such as a carabiner. It prevents the frustrating search for keys that migrate to the bottom of the bag. I also use one of the D-rings to hook grocery bags onto (the kind that fold up and stuff into tiny bags that have a clip on them) I have enjoyed this so much that I deemed it an essential handbag feature. The D-rings could also be used to hook a cell phone or glasses cases to them as well.

I have yet to give it to her, so it remains to be seen what she thinks of it.

From Trash to Treasure- from cashmere coat to bag

A beautiful cashmere coat full of moth holes was destined for the trash until is was given to me and given a new life as a bag, and who knows what else with the left over piece. The unlined coat and matching belt felted easily in the washing machine, going from a size 16 to very snug size 6. All the little moth holes disappeared in the process of felting, leaving a dense, sturdy felted cashmere fabric ready to cut.

cashmere bag finished

It took a couple days of thinking before cutting into the fabric. I did not want to be wasteful in how the fabric was used and I also wished to use some of the sewn elements to advantage in the bag design.

cashmere bag with coat

The fabric for this bag was cut from the lower front corner of the coat to include a side seam with a pocket. The side seam can be seen as the seam that runs horizontally about 2″ below the top edge and is accented with a line of couched yarn above it. The pocket in the seam is on the back side of the bag. The flap closure is made from one end of the belt.

cashmere bag 1

First, a rectangle of fabric was cut from the coat. And then some lovely bamboo/silk yarn was couched next to the coat’s side seam as a decorative element.

The two short sides of the rectangle were stitched together to form an abutted join and this was covered with binding by couching down yarn along both edges of the binding.

cashmere bag 2

A view inside the bag reveals the back side of the bag’s side seam, the coat pocket (cut down in size to fit the bag), and the seams at the bottom of the bag. The bottom seam is a 1/2″ seam pressed open and then both corners were stitched across and trimmed to give the bottom a boxy shape.

cashmere bag 3

The pictures above show how the abutted join seam was made on the bag, but since I forgot to take pictures of this step, it is being shown on a lighter weight piece of scrap felt. The one side seam in the bag is an abutted join so as to not have a bulky seam that would distort the shape of the bag. To make the abutted join, a piece of fusible woven stabilizer is ironed to one of the short sides on the wrong (back) side. Then the fabric is folded with right sides together and the other short side is squeezed up tight to the side with the stabilizer and the stabilizer is iron into place on the second side. Turn it right side out.

cashmere bag 17

Fold the fabric along the seam and stitch with an overedge zigzag. It will look like the picture on the right when laid flat, before the seam is pressed.

cashmere bag 3A

Turn it wrong side out and press the seam flat.
cashmere bag 4

The above picture is a close up of the top edge of the seam with the binding attached, showing the flat abutted seam covered with binding.

cashmere bag 5

A 2″ strip of fabric (same as binding) equal in length to the long side of the felt rectangle plus an 1″ (2x 1/2″ seam allowance) is backed with fusible woven stabilizer. The ends are sewn together with a 1/2″ seam allowance and then sewn to the top edge of the bag.

cashmere bag 8

A strap made of the same material as the binding for “side” seam and top edge is cut and stitched to make a 1″ wide strap for the bag. It is cut to 4″ width, folded in 1/2 length wise and pressed. Next, each side is folded in half toward the center fold line and pressed. The strap ends up being four layers thick. It is stitched along both edges and down the center. Each strap end is stitched to the binding on the top of the bag, centered at each side.

cashmere bag 6


Now for the lining. Sigh, I wish I had remembered to take more pictures, but I didn’t, so a little explaining has to be done. The lining is made with pocket to fit items I like to carry, but it could be just a simple lining with no pockets. The main thing I had to remember is that the lining needed to be an inch longer on the long side than the felt outer fabric to accommodate a 1/2″ side seam. I forgot, and had to cut another piece of liner.

This lining is actually the liner plus another decorative fabric that is slightly shorter in height that is stitched to the liner to for pockets. The decorative fabric is cut to the same size as the lining, but the top edge is double rolled and stitched to create a hemmed edge.

The two fabrics are then stacked together with rights sides up* and vertical lines are stitched to created pocket. A horizontal stitching line a few inches above the bottom gave the pockets a shallower depth so that items would not sink to the very bottom of the bag.

*Note: in the picture below, the wrong side of the lining fabric is being used as the right side since it is satin darker and closer in value to the satin decorative fabric.

A gap was left in the side seam that is slightly wider than my hand (for turning the bag right side out later).

cashmere bag 7

 At the top of the side seam, a fabric loop with a D-ring is stitched in place. A D-ring is a handy place to clip things like keys to so you don’t have to search the bag for them.

cashmere bag 9

The bottom was stitched with a 1/2″ seam just like the outer felt fabric. Above, In the first picture, the side seam opening is shown. With the seams ironed open, the bottom corners are stitched 1″ in from the tip. The tip is cut off leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance which is finished with an over-edge zigzag stitch.

cashmere bag 12

With right sides together, the lining and the felt outer fabric are stitched together using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

cashmere bag 10

After sewing the lining and the outer fabric together, I realized that I forgot a couple things, so I had to do a little backtracking and add the strap that closes the bag. I seam ripped a section in the seam for the strap, inserted and stitched it in place.

Oh, the strap- nope forgot to take pictures of how it was made. It was easy enough. I lobbed off one end of the belt that came with the coat. Attached one side of a magnet catch then covered the back with some of the binding/lining fabric. Yarn was couched to the front side of the strap for decoration and to stitch the back fabric in place.


cashmere bag 11

Next, the other side of the magnet catch had to be attached to the front of the bag. I had to turn the bag right side out, position the strap where it looked good, and gently pushed down so the magnet half on the strap left an impression on the felt bag. The impression was where the other half of the magnet catch needed to be positioned.

The picture above shows magnet catch on the inside of the bag. I added a piece of thin plastic between the magnet backing and the felt to help reduce  the stress to the felt by the pulling on the magnet every time the strap is unsnapped.
cashmere bag 18
In the pictures below, you can see how the bag was turned right side out. I reached into the lining opening and grabbed the bottom of the felt bag and pulled it through the opening.

cashmere bag 13

The lining is pushed down into the bag and the top edge is pinned and basted before being top stitched. The seam is topstitched by couching yarn along the seam in on the outside.

cashmere bag 14

The outer pocket is the last detail. I had basted the pocket opening shut so it had to be seam ripped open. Next, a button is stiched to the front of the pocket and a loop is stitched above the pocket opening. The button was salvaged from the coat.

cashmere bag 15

Ta da! The finished bag- front and back. The color of the bag is closer to true in the first picture at the beginning of this post.

cashmere bag 16

There is plenty of left over fabric for several more projects. I wonder what is next? Another bag? Any suggestions?


Temari with a Jingle not a Jangle

Finally, I figured out how to make a bell box for the core of a temari that had a nice bell sound to it without a rattle sound of the bell rolling around. Simple: don’t have a bell rolling around. But, if the bell has anything touching it, it muffles the sound. Hmm, had to think about that.

My first homemade bell box was a ping pong ball with a bell shoved inside through a cut in the side. Holes had to be made in the balls surface to allow the sound to come out, but more jangle than jingle was audible. I kept the basic idea, just tied the bells down to the inner surface of the ball.

The following are the steps I used to make my temari core bell box with a jingle instead of a jangle. You are welcome to use my idea.

You will need:

Ping pong

small bells

heavy thread (crochet thread works well)

large sharp needle

larger tapestry needle

electric tape

small piece of felt

craft knife

bell box 1

1.  Holes were made randomly in the surface of the ball using a sharp needle, then a larger blunt tapestry needle was used to enlarge the holes. More holes equal more sound escaping chamber.

bell box 2

2. Using a craft knife, a slit was carefully cut along the seam. It is thicker on the seam so when the ball is taped back together, it keeps its shape better than if cut off the seam where it is thinner and softer.

bell box 3

3. Insert the sharp needle thread with crochet thread through one of the hole and out the slit.

bell box 4

4. Cut a piece of felt to about the size of the bell. Stitch through the felt, through the loop on the back of the bell and back through the felt.

bell box 55. Bring the thread back through the slit and out a hole near the first hole that the thread came in. Shove the bell into the ball. For this ball, I added two more bells using the same method. I spaced them apart so that they would not touch each other.

bell box 8

6. Using the tapestry needle, the dented inside can be pushed back out.

bell box 6

7. Cut a piece of the electrical tape long enough to cover the slit. Cut the piece in half down the length to make it narrower.

bell box 7

8. The thread ends were pulled tight and then tied off. A dab of glue was placed on the knot just to make sure it did not come untied. It is ready to become the jingle in a temari.

Pincushion Paperweights

paper weight pin cushion

These three pincushions were made for our quilt guild chapters fundraiser auction coming up next week. They were made by sewing two circles of muslin together (leaving a small opening), filling with clean sand (a funnel is handy for this step), and then stitching the opening shut. Two circles of felt the same size were stitched together a little past halfway around, the sand bag was slipped between the two felt circles and then I finished stitching the felt circles together.

The stitching designs on the green and fuchsia  pincushions are temari inspired.

I found that it was easier to do the decorative stitching after the felt was stuffed with the sand bag because it did not need to be in an embroidery hoop the keep the tension of the stitching even as the felt surface was already a little taut. A button was centered on both the front and back and stitched through both, tying off in the front. I used a square knot, tied half the knot, put a little dab of glue in the center, then tied the other half the knot to prevent it from coming undone.

When I was working on cutting out some fabric from a pattern I made, I needed a weight for the fabric (I prefer to use just about anything other than pins when sewing) and immediately thought of my just made pincushions. They worked great. So, I am now calling them pincushion paperweights.

Temari 38

This temari did not go as planned, but in a good kind of way. I had envisioned one thing and as I was working, I decided it needed to be something else.

This temari is a C8 division stitched with  perle cotton threads which I have hand dyed.

temari 38

The plan was to stitch four pointed stars in each of the six “squares” on the ball, with each point of the star going out to a corner in the square. For those, I used a blue and green hand dyed variegated thread that was dark enough to have a good value contrast with the light green background thread that the ball is wrapped with. Being on a ball, they are really not square since the sides bow out, but easier to call them that.

Then the next step was going to be stitching another layer of four pointed stars centered on top of those but each turned so that the points go out to the sides and their points overlap with the adjacent stars.

Instead, I opted for a suggestion of the second layer of stars with bright green, but under instead of on top of the dark stars. I used the same green to outline the dark stars to give them more dimension and to tie the color back into the other layer.

The green ball was one of about half a dozen that I made one day a couple months  ago with the idea that I could have ready to stitch balls of different sizes and colors. That way, if I have a sit and wait situation like at a doctors office or waiting to pick up my son after a class, then before leaving the house, I can grab some thread and a ball out of a basket, stuff it in a small tote bag and go.

For this ball, I marked the ball that morning with the light blue thread before leaving the house, then got about half of the stitching done at the doctor’s office. For me, temari make nice portable projects that provide a pleasant way to pass waiting time.





Annual Quilt Guild Meeting

On Saturday, I attended the Richmond Quilt Guild’s annual quilt guild meeting for all of our guild chapters. Each chapter had a table set up to show off some of their beauties.

bits and pieces table

hospitality table

not sure whose table

not sure whose table 2

friendship circle table

james river heritage quilters

Yes, those are temari you see at one of the tables. I was asked if I would show some of my temari on our chapter’s table. The two small quilts in front and center are also mine.

temari and quilts at guild meeting

Getting ready for our guild quilt show coming up later this year, a few members from each chapter made don’t touch quilt signs which of course are quilts.

don't touch 5

don't touch 4

don't touch 3

don't touch 2

The one I made is in the center row, slightly to the right of center: white dog on yellow background with words “Pet dogs…not quilts!” I designed the quilt in Word on the computer, using a copyright free image, and then printed on fabric. I used pastel dye stick to color the image background.

don't touch 1

There were many attendees, but that is just a small fraction of the total number of members from all the chapters.

guild meeting big picture

There was the usual business part of the meeting with each chapter giving a report for their chapter including such things as programs, finances, charitable giving, etc. Throughout the morning, there were many door prizes from gift certificates to fabric stores to lovely items such as the tote sitting on the floor in the foreground of the picture above. Of course there was a pot luck luncheon with a fabulous array of homebaked goodies. I did not get to stay to hear the guest speaker as I had to go somewhere else.

Knot Quilt Almost Done

Almost, meaning it is closer to done than not done. The front is finished but there is still work to be done on the back which includes a rod pocket, hand sewing the inside edge of binding on back and a label.

knot quilt 2

After making the quilt top, this quilt project got derailed by two things: temari and lack of inspiration.
I just could not find the solution to how it needed to be quilted. So, I let it hang on the sewing room wall for months, until one day I decided to tackle it, but with no better ideas than before. Fortunately, after several failed attempts, it hit me that instead of having the quilting following the knot patterns, it needed to emphasize the oak leaf hydrangea leaves.

And it worked. To outline the leaves, I had to add lines where the leaves would have shown through the knot design since I wanted the leaves to be continuous and not cut off by the knot patterns. Quilting outlined the leaves and the major veining of them and then the rest of the background was quilted in another color.

knot quilt 11

Since there are some large areas of less densely quilted areas near the edge, those areas tended to bubble up. To cure that and to make sure the quilt would lay flat, I basted along just those areas then tugged on the lose thread end to ease the fullness out until it lay flat. Then I tied off the basting thread.

knot quilt 7

The next step was to attach binding. No amount of wishful thinking would help me find the perfect fabric either in my fabrics or at a store. I could have used a navy blue to go with the almost solid navy blue lines, but it would have looked too heavy. Any dyed fabric would look solid, heavy and just not right with it because this quilt top is white colored with fabric markers and pastel dye sticks.

The only solution that I would be happy with is to make binding that went with the quilt design. Whit fabric was cut and pressed into single fold binding. Next, using the same blue fabric marker used for the major knots, I colored the edges to imitate the bands in the knot work.

knot quilt 8

As you can see from the picture of the back, that only the front binding on the quilt has been sewn in place. The raw end was trimmed and folded to the back.

knot quilt 12

When I flipped the quilt over, I really liked how the quilting on the back looked but decided the leaves could use a little more color to separate them from the background a little more. Out came the pastel dye stick again. First, a little red, then orange, and finally (not shown) some highlights with yellow. After the back is finished, I will post a picture of it.

knot quilt 9

For the back binding, I found a scrap of fabric that complimented the orange backing fabric nicely and would look good with the navy blue thread that the front binding was sewn with. That is important to me because the outside edge of both are sewn together using color chosen for the quilt front binding.

To hold the back binding in place without distorting with pins, I used fusible web tape. Then the binding is stitched along the outer edge. I stitched with the top side up so that I could be sure to stitch down the center of the blue line on the edge of the binding.

knot quilt 10

While stitching the outside edge, when approaching a corner, I paused to add use my fabric marker to continue the line around the corner at the end of the of the overlapping binding. I could have done this before, but did not think of it till I reached a corner. The were two reasons to continue this line: 1. it looks more finished and in keeping with the closed knots in design and 2. the stitching would have shown there and looked out of place.

To learn how the knot patterns were generated, go to my previous post on this quilt, Knot Quilt Not Done.