The Creation of a Chickweed Pollen Grain Temari

Chickweed, Stellaria Media, is common and widespread in both North America and Europe. A chickweed pollen grain has a beautiful geometric structure. Before the grain swells up, it looks like a dodecahedron with concave sides.

temari 76 chickweed pollen grain

How could I resist creating a chickweed pollen grain when it encompasses polyhedron structure (a long time interest), temari making (a relatively new interest, only 2 years), felt (a revived interest) and pollen (bane of my existence). Being able to combine several interests and poke fun of my allergies at the same time was a worthy challenge.

The temari developed quite naturally, with each element of the structure and techniques suggesting themselves. When looking at electron microscope pictures of chickweed pollen grains and reading about the structure of pollen grains, I could see the different parts as different materials or techniques.

The electron microscope images of pollen grains found on internet are rendered in grayscale then colored for visual clarity. Here, for my pollen grain temari, I have used “artistic license” for coloring without any extreme diversion from the natural color of pollen.

A chickweed pollen grain basically resembles a dodecahedron, a twelve regular pentagonal sides, except the sides are concave with a circular hole (pore) in the center of each. This outside skin that takes the shape of a dodecahedron, is called an exine (or exospore). Felt seemed like the obvious solution to creating this outside skin. A lovely warm yellow was hand dyed for this project.

pollen grain temari 7

Scattered across the surface of the exine of a chickweed pollen grain are little spines (spinuli) that could easily be represented by French knots.

pollen grain temari 8

Poking through the holes, or pores of the exine are cells that also look like French knots. These make slightly curved mounds in the circular pores. A temari ball as a base would make  a perfect base to create the slightly raised circular areas of knots and create a solid base on which to add the felt exine with its spines.

pollen grain temari 9

The only structural challenge was to figure out how to pad the cavity between the ball and the outer felt skin so that it would keep its polyhedron shape and not cave in with any pressure against it. I thought of couching down multiple strands of yarn, but realized it would be easier if it was a single large strand, which suggested upholstery cording. Then to smooth over the cord shapes, pieces of felt were stitched on top of them, giving it a nicer contour.

pollen grain temari 10

The following are pictures of the work in progress:

pollen grain temari 1

Temari marked as a C10 with felt pentagons- both ready to be stitched on

pollen grain temari 2

Building the dodecahedron shape with upholstery cording and felt on the ball

pollen grain temari 3

Stitching the felt exine together into two parts

pollen grain temari 4

Stitching French knot on ball using a felt template for circle placement

pollen grain temari 5

The two felt halves partially stitched together and adding a few more knots along opening

pollen grain temari 6

Felt exine on ball being stitched closed. A few more knots were added along the seam

temari 76 chickweed pollen grain

To finish the temari, the felt was tacked down to the ball near the circular openings to create the concavity of the sides

This was one of those projects that was very satisfying to make with it presenting an interesting challenge and then having all the ideas come together to create the intended form with a pleasing result.

Hand Dyed Felt

In the past year, felt has reentered my fiber world. During art school year, I dabbled in felt making, creating a number of interesting felt objects. Due to an allergy to lanolin, the oil in wool, I have shied away from working with wool.

But recently, I discovered that working with already felted wool, especially the rayon/wool blend, does not cause itching. Probably due to all the processing and reduced amount of wool.

Of course the selection of pre-dyed felt colors just does not quite meet my needs, so time to dye my own. What a great excuse to dye. I have just started with creating a stash of hand dyed 65% rayon / 35% wool blend felt, but decided to share pictures of the first batch.

hand dyed felt

That lovely warm yellow in the middle of the batch has already been cut up and only a tad bit remains.

An upcoming post will feature the temari that sports a coat of that gorgeous yellow felt. It is a most unusual and unique temari that represents something very common and abundant yet is seldom noticed. Come back soon for the answer to the mystery.

Temari Project Tote Bag- version two

Here is another temari project tote bag, but with some improvements on the original design. Before explaining the improvements, I should first admit that this post is a bit of a tease. You get to see the new, improved version before I post a tutorial on how you can make your own.

014Although this bag is made with different fabrics, only the inner fabrics are an improvement over the original one. The outer denim fabric was chosen to differentiate from the other bag.  Since I now have two temari tote bags, it would be nice at a glance to know which one to grab on the way out the door.

On a side note, the denim is from an old, castoff pair of my husbands jeans. The pants were worn until the fabric was nice and soft, but they had too many holes, and not just in the knees.


The original bag had mesh inner fabric which made it possible to see what was in the pocket from the inside. But that advantage was offset by the fact that pin heads sticking out of the ball would catch in the holes of the mesh fabric when taking the ball in or out of the bag and then the pins would get pulled out of the ball. This would not be a big deal except that the pins on temari are usually are for marking. It is no fun trying to re-measure and re-pin randomly plucked out pins when the time could be spent stitching.

So this time, a lovely light weight linen was used for the inner fabric.


The same linen fabric was used to make the little hexagon pillow for the temari. The pillow is not really necessary for the tote bag. But it is removable from the bag so that it can be used as a rest for the temari to sit on, which prevents the ball from rolling off a flat surface such a table.

This temari rest is more of a pillow in this version and more of a cushion in the original one. Knowing I would be writing a tutorial for this tote bag, I decided that the temari rest needed to be easier to make than the cushion, hence the pillow version. Although the pillow uses pellets to fill the form instead of foam, polyester fiber fill, like the kind used for pillows and stuffed animals, could be used instead.

This bag is a tad bit wider than the first one, so it will be reserved for slightly larger temari projects. Using the original bag for smaller temari will help prevent the pins from getting snagged and pulled out by the mesh since it is easier to wrap a small temari in my hand to keep the pins away from the mesh fabric.

This bag was made slightly larger so that the width of the pockets would be slightly more generous to fit my supplies easily. I noticed that the pockets in the original one were a bit of a tight fit for my larger thread balls and a snug fit for my needle book or my magnetic needle nest. The roomier pockets are more accommodating and easier to use.

The basic bag design is the same. The improvements include different fabric for the inner bag, larger pockets and an easier to make temari rest. Oh, and I moved  the eyelet holes up higher to make it easier to thread the thread through the eyelet holes. Of course this meant that the buttons and buttonholes had to be moved up too. I hope you like the new and improved version as much as I do.

In the upcoming tutorial, you will also get to see the temari pincushion made just for this bag and my homemade thread dispensers.

It will be a few days before the tutorial is posted, so come back soon or follow my blog so you get a notice when there is a new post.

Six Temari Plus Three More

For several months before and the couple months since surgery on my elbow, my temari production rate has been way down.

Currently, some days are better days for sewing than others, so I limit how many minutes I can sew each day to prevent inflammation making it get worse. The overall trend is improvement.

temari 64

Temari #64, is relatively simple C8 with minimal but has a dramatic impact visually. The thread is a bamboo silk blend for which the four ply yarn was split to reduce it to two ply yarn about the size of a #5 perle cotton thread.

temari 65

Temari #65 above, is very similar to #48, which a friend really liked, so it got remade in a different color scheme. This is a C10 division. The threads are all hand dyed except the white.

temari 66

Temari #66 is also a C10 division. This temari is unusual for me in that I used only one color for the embroidery, and one that is not even dyed.

temari 68

Temari #67 is a C8. I tried adding more stitching to this one, but the empty spaces needed to stay empty and uncluttered, so the stitching got removed. This uses more of my hand dyed thread.

temari 67

Temari #68 is similar to #64 but different. There will eventually be a third temari with black and white bands on a C8 division to go with these two to be displayed as a group. It just has not happened yet as other new ideas come up and distract me from finishing the triad.

temari 69 view 4

Temari #69 is one that I started back towards the beginning of last year for an online temari group, completed less than half and then set it aside for quite a few months. It is a small scale version of temari #26. With a diameter of 7″, it is 1/3 the size of #26.

I finally finished it before surgery. And then there was surgery. Since then, I have made only three temari.

temari 70

The little C10 above #70. It is only 1 3/8″ in diameter. The size was less of a challenge in making it than the limited use of my hand and arm which were in a brace at the time. The camera refused to accurately record the colors. The background thread is actually a rich emerald green.

temari 71

Temari #71 is a C8 with interlocking triangles and triangle knots. The two green threads are some of my hand dyed threads, but the blue is not. This is a variation on my temari #44.

temari 72 view 1

Temari #72 is represents the start of a new direction in temari for me. I had made a couple of felt pincushions with an embroidered design on the tops which were inspired by temari stitched designs. Those in turn inspired this temari.

temari 72 view 2

Above is another view of #72. In this picture, how much the stacked felt circles sit proud of the ball’s surface is more apparent than in the first picture.

This is a C8 with additional marking lines to change it to having 16 faces- 4 hexagons and 12 pentagons. Cutting out all the little circles was a bit tedious, but I enjoyed the process of making this temari and am pleased with the end result. The felt has created an unexpected tactile quality that makes the temari irresistible to handle.

Both this temari and the previous one are sporting threads from my latest batch of threads that I hand dyed. The latest batch includes some pastels to help round out the color pallet of threads.

By the way, this is the same pink ball that is pictured in my temari project tote bag blog post.

With a fresh new batch of hand dyed threads and an arm that is getting better, I am looking forward to making more temari soon.

Temari Project Tote Bag

This linen tote bag was designed and made especially for carrying a temari project. I got tired of fishing around in the bottom of a bag for tools, supplies or a temari. Pin heads sticking out of temari often tangled in thread and would get pulled out.

temari tote 1This was a challenging project for a couple of reasons. I started this project shortly after having surgery on my elbow of dominant hand. My arm was in a full arm splint that limited motion and pain also imposed limits. So, it progressed a little slowly, but this gave me time to think about steps rather than just plow through the project. The other challenge was designing the bag to have all the features that would make it easy to use.

The handle is a four strand rope braid. The rope was purchased from a hardware store years ago. Hanging off one of the handle straps is a temari pincushion, which is detachable.

temari pincushion

Notice the buttons and the eyelet holes. They are not decorations but are functional. The button close pockets that are on the inside which hold thread. The thread is threaded out the eyelet holes and pulled on when a length is needed. To secure the thread, it is wrapped around the button, similar to a button and string envelop where I got the idea from.

temari tote 2

In the picture above, one of the pockets is unbuttoned so you can see one of the pockets is used for a needle case and a pair of scissors.

The mesh pocket liner has a drawstring closure. Opened, it reveals a temari ball waiting to be stitched.

temari tote 3

Below, the ball has been removed to show the hexagon donut shaped pillow that the temari rests on. The pillow was made of a piece of foam covered in felt.

temari tote 4The base of the bag is a hexagon, but it does not show in the picture.

temari tote 5Taken out, the donut pillow makes a nice rest so the ball does not roll off a table.

temari tote 6


Knot Temari: a very large temari

temari 26 with ruler and small temari for size reference

Why Big:

Always looking to explore new challenges, I decided to make a large temari- a very large temari.

Most temari average 3″ to 4″ in diameter and larger ones that I have seen on internet are about 6″ to 7″ in diameter. The largest one that I had made was slightly larger than a basket ball at a little over 10″ in diameter. That size did not really present much in the way of technical or design challenges, so I decided to go even larger. Temari #26 (aka Knot Temari or Big Temari) is 21″ in diameter. That is about the size of a typical large beach ball.

Challenges with Big:

The biggest challenges in making a very large temari had to do with handling a beach ball sized ball. If the core was made with my usual materials such as scraps of fleece or batting wadded around a noise maker, as lightweight as those materials are, they would have made the ball too heavy to handle.

Wrapping the ball in yarn and thread was another challenge that required a new method for coping with size.

I decided to use a thicker thread that would be more proportionately pleasing on the large ball size and type of stitched designs that were going to cover the surface. Trying to find the right size thread was a challenge that was met by not finding it, but making it.

Thicker thread required a larger eyed needle. Stitching on a surface of a sphere for which the curve is closer to flat than on a small ball meant that short straight needles were not going to be as effective as a long curved needle. So, a large eyed, long curved needle was needed, but where could I find one?

creating designs suitable for a large scale ball, rather than an enlarged version of something appropriate for an average sized temari, was a challenge that provided an opportunity to explore more complex designs.

In the following section on how the temari was made, I explain how all these challenges were tackled.


How made Big:

One of the most important things I had to consider before starting was determining what to materials to use for the core. It needed to be light weight so that as a large ball it could be reasonable to handle without causing fatigue. It also needed to be malleable that could be shaped into a sphere while being firm enough to retain its spherical form. I did not want to use a material that would degrade. And finally, cost and environmental impact were concerns.

Polystyrene packing peanuts fit all these requirements. Polystyrene is an inert material which does not break down, attract moths or other bugs, and is very lightweight.  As a bonus, it was free since it was donated by a friend and their use defers their destination to a landfill.

Using polystyrene packing peanuts meant a means of containing them had to be found. On internet, I noticed that temari makers who use loose fillings such as rice hulls, will fill the toe of a sock or stocking or wrap paper or plastic around the loose fill. I used two mesh laundry bags to hold the peanuts.

Making the core of this temari started with partially filling  two mesh laundry bags with polystyrene peanuts. One bag was not big enough, so I used two. They were not completely filled as a rectangular pillow shape would have been difficult to reshape into sphere. A bell was added to each bag. (A friend’s mother who is Japanese and used to make them when she was younger is disappointed when a temari is silent, so out of respect to her, I add a bell to each temari I make.)wrapping ball 1

Then just enough yarn was wrapped around the two bags of foam peanuts to make it roughly spherical in shape. Next, strips of batting were wound around the rough ball to smooth out the big lumps and provide a smoother surface for the yarn wrap. Three pounds of yarn was used for the next layer. For the final thread layer that would be stitched on,  four cones of black serger thread (3000 yards each) were used.

wrapping ball 2 At first, I used a chair to rest the core on while winding yarn. The height of the chair seat height was good for thumping the ball down to compact the foam peanuts while shaping it into a tight ball so they would not shift around and deform the shape later.

Once the ball was stable with no foam peanuts moving around, I found that winding the yarn was easier when I had the ball resting on a smooth table. My sewing machine table is a desk with plastic laminate at a good height to work at while standing. After some trial and error, I found a method of spinning the ball with one hand while guiding the yarn or thread with the other hand. Winding the yarn and thread on the core took a long time since I found it necessary to work in small time chunks each day to prevent repetitive motion injury.


When I was done wrapping the ball in its final layer of black thread, I discovered that the solid black on that scale was not very pleasing as it gave the surface a dead flatness (for lack of better description) that was contrary to its physical shape. So, I added touches of color that would be used to embroider the surface later. Machine embroidery threads in purple, turquoise and dark pink were sparsely wrapped over surface of the black and then a sparse layer of black over the colors to visually integrate them with the black surface. The solid black on such a large surface made the ball remind me of a black hole, giving the whole thing a heavy appearance, so adding the colors near the surface tied the surface of the background into the stitched designs.

When I started this temari, I was unable to find a large eyed, long curved needle to purchase locally, so I made a couple. Later I found some which I bought. For larger curved needles, I prefer the shallower curve of the ones I made over the purchased ones.


Small purchased needle and two large handmade needles

The surface of the ball was divided as a C10 in the usual way with a strip of paper. Actually tyvec was used here since I had a piece long enough. I don’t intend to use that again since it was a little stretchy therefore hard to keep marking accurate. The finished marking was close enough to true that it would not affect the stitched designs, so I left the marking.

measuring ball

Then the purple bands were marked and stitched based on the icosidodecahedron polyhedron, which is the tessellation of twelve pentagons and 20 triangles on the surface, for 32 faces. To do this, the bands went through the middle of adjacent sides of pentagons which creates a smaller pentagon on point inside each pentagon and the lobbed off corners of the larger pentagons become the triangles.

 stitching bands

I am very fond of variegated yarns and threads since they add a dynamic quality to what would otherwise be a static design, but I usually use them with a solid to show off their changing nature. I found the perfect colors, but not in the right size. The yarn for the purple in the bands was an eight ply cotton yarn which I split into 4 plies. The yarn used for the knot designs were 4 ply cotton crochet threads all of which I split into 2 plies. Splitting the yarns brought all of them down to about the size of #5 perle (pearl) cotton.

Each of the pentagon areas were embroidered with knot designs. For the triangle, I used the same pattern and colors for all 20 to have a constant throughout the ball. For the 12 pentagons, I created 6 knot designs to use as pairs on opposite poles so that no two alike are seen at the same time.

stitching triagle designs

At first, the ball was just placed on a round lipped waste basket (don’t worry- it was new and clean) while stitching the knots, but this required frequent lifting and turning of the ball. I found this to be really tiring and hard on the arms and shoulders. So I mounted the waste basket on a lazy susan (turntable with ball bearings) which I mounted on a piece of plywood (to stabilize the base). This was placed on the floor in front of my chair. The turntable significantly reduced the amount of turning necessary to stitch the designs, but it still had to be lifted occasionally.

temari 26 view 1-3

temari 26 view 4-6

Having Fun:

I have to fight a tendency to preplan projects down to the last detail in my head or on paper, leaving no room for spontaneity or happy accidents and once it is done in my head, then I get bored with the project long before it is completed. Consequently, I try to save some things for designing as I go.

Although I designed each knot pattern as I went, I had already determined the thread colors and made up some design rules to help guide the design process. Some of the rules I made up were things like: the number of threads wide for the bands of each color, each color occupied the center of two knot designs, the green thread was the main color and the other two played supporting roles, the main color must create a knot without the aid of the intertwining of the other colors. Then I deliberately bent or broke the rules to add interest created by inconsistency.

This was a fun and challenging project for which I found the entire process and end product to be very rewarding. I am certain there are more temari in the large to very large categories in my future as there is something about the scale that is just appealing to me.



Production Monkeywrench and Its Silver Lining

It has been a while since my last post on this blog. A production monkey wrench is to blame.elbow surgery

“Production- the making or creation of something.” My productivity has come to a halt, but fortunately my imagination is still churning out ideas for later.

“Monkey wrench- something that causes a problem for a plan or project.” A torn tendon that would not heal lead to surgery on my elbow. Many things have become very difficult and some things impossible, but this is just a temporary set back.

“Silver lining- something that offers hope or benefit in a situation that is generally adverse.” This enforced rest from certain activities has forced me to take time to read and think. Great fodder for creativity.

Note: definitions from Encarta Dictionary.

Anise Seed Ornament Tutorial


This folded fabric ornament is not difficult to make, but accuracy counts when cutting the stabilizer and when marking lines and stitching on them. If you are sloppy, then the folds will be awkward looking.

There are many pictures, because I find instructions without adequate illustrations or descriptions to be frustrating. Having said that, I must explain that the instructions are not all inclusive of every last detail as this is not a beginner’s sewing project.

Materials needed:

Stabilizer– Pellon’s #806 Stitch-N-Tear works best for this project. It is a very thin, stiff stabilizer that takes folds nicely. Although the product is made as a tear away stabilizer, it will not be removed from the fabric after stitching.

Fabric– any quilt weight cotton. Keep the pattern to a minimum if you want the focus to be the lovely shape.

Thread– machine sewing thread that coordinates with fabric. For the tutorial, a variegated thread was used. The thread will highlight the folded edge, so a thread of a different color or value would look nice.

Seed beads- to stitch on the points.

Several larger beads- to decorate wire hanger with holes large enough to string on #20 gauge wire

Hand sewing needle- (small enough to sew beads),

Threadeither beading or general purpose thread for hand sewing seed beads

#20 gauge wire– it comes in different colors

Tools– round nose pliers and side cutters

Pencil– to mark stitching lines on stabilizer

NOTE: You will also need your basic sewing tools such as scissors and iron. Also, Rotary cutting mat and ruler for marking the stitching lines accurately are helpful.

1. Cut one piece of stabilizer (either sew in or tear away) to 3″ h. x 16 ½” l. and one piece of fabric to approximately  5″ h. x 18 ½” l.

2. Mark the stabilizer with the following lines:

A. mark vertical lines spaced 1/4″ from each end, then all the rest of the lines will be spaced 1″ apart.

marking stabilizer 1

B. mark two horizontal lines: one at 1/2″ from top edge and one 1/2″ from bottom edge.

marking stabilizer 2

C. Mark diagonal lines in a zigzag pattern. Start at upper left corner where the 1/4″ seam allowance and the 1/2″ horizontal lines intersect and mark a line that passes through next vertical line down to intersection of third line and bottom horizontal line. Follow the green line in illustration XXX  to finish marking one zigzag line.

marking stabilizer 3

D. Mark the next zigzag line following orange line in  illustration XXX.

marking stabilizer 4

3. Place stabilizer with marked side up centered on back side of fabric and pin together (or use small pieces of painters tape to hold together). Stitch all vertical lines, except the ones that are 1/4″ from either end. Start and end the stitching about a 1/2″ before and after the stabilizer.

3. stitch vertical lines

4. Stitch diagonal lines. Start at one end and follow the zigzag path to the other end. Then stitch the second zigzag path.  in illustration XXX.

2. stitch diagonal lines

5. Align the 1/4″ marking lines on the two ends with pins through the intersections (the vertical pins), then pin through both fabrics and stabilizer near alignment pins. Remove the vertical pins.

4. aligning and pinning ends

6. Stitch seam on marked line.

5. stitch seam

7. Trim seam allowances to between a 1/4″ and 1/2″. Press seam open and pin to keep it open.

6. press seam open

8. With the fabric side up, stitch in the ditch along seam.

7. stitch in ditch

9. Fold one of the fabric edges over to stabilizer side and stitch close to edge.

8. fold and stitch edge

10. Pull threads to back and tie in knot and trim threads.

9. tie threads on back

11. Repeat edge stitching for other side.

12. Trim fabric edge close to edge stitching, about 1/4″ from edge.

10. trim fabric

13. Press vertical lines (ones with X) along whole length.

11. iron vertical lines

14. Press alternate vertical lines (ones without X) only between the horizontal 1/2″  marking lines (the vertical lines inside the squares). This is easier if you either use the tip of your iron or use a mini iron.

12. iron lines inside squares

15. Turn stitched fabric tube right side out. Using tip of iron, press diagonal lines.

13. iron diagonal lines

16. Finger press the 1/2″ segments on the lines without the X by folding along line and pinching between fingers.

14. finger press short vertical lines

17. Stitch 3 seed beads on vertical line where X is formed.

 15. stitch beads on vertical lines at X

18. Note that the beads are sewn so that they form a slight arch and do not lay flat on fabric. This way, when the fabric is folded, the form a nice little picot at each point.

16. bead form an arch

In the next several steps, the fabric gets pulled into shape. For this to work, only stitch through every other vertical line, the ones with without the X, not the ones with beads stitched over X.

17. ready to pull into shape

19. Using needle with doubled thread, insert needle from back through to front on edge stitching, about 1/8″ from vertical line.

18. stitching the folds

20. Pinch next vertical line (remember one with no X) into fold and stitch through. Repeat this step all the way around and back through the first one.

19. close up of stitching folds

21. Insert needle into next folded line, from front to back and pull thread until all the folds come together in center. (There will be a small hole where the fabric does not quite come together- this is good as it will be used to insert the wire hanger through.) Tie off thread.

23. Flip over fabric and repeat process of stitching the folds together on other side. Use your finger to push the folds into place as you go.

20. pulling it into shape

24. Using 6 1/2″ to 7″ long piece of 20 gauge wire, make a small loop at one end. Thread a small bead and then a larger bead. on wire. Make sure second bead is bigger than hole so it covers hole and not disappear inside ornament.  Insert wire through small center hole on what you want to be the bottom of ornament.

21. insert wire with loop and beads at one end

25. Thread another bead slightly larger than hole on top end of wire and then a large decorative bead and finish with one or two smaller beads.

22. add beads to wire and curl around spool or dowel

26. Take the top end of wire and wrap it around something that is about 5/8″ in diameter. I used a spool of thread. Then finish the cut end with a small loop just like the bottom end.

23. cut wire

I have made at least a dozen of these so far and my latest improvement on my design was to realize that attaching the beads before pulling the ornament into shape, rather than afterwards is much easier and faster.

Also, another variation on the hanger is to make a small loop above beads like the one at the bottom if you wish to use an ornament hook to hang it by.

I hope you enjoyed this project. Please, feel free to use it for personal use or as a gift, and not for profit. If used for teaching, please give credit to my name.  If in doubt, ask me.

A Dozen (minus one) More Temari

Since I have been busy making things, not just temari, I have not taken the time to write a post about what I have been making. So, I am taking a short break from creating to get caught up on reporting on the creations. This post focuses on the latest temari. Next I will write about some other fiber things such as more bags, some pin cushions, and felt pins.

Temari 50:

For this temari, I combined several different embroidery stitches to create the stitched design.

The outer purple row of the triangles is a chain stitch to give a little different texture to the border.

French knots were used to get the polka dots in the triangle borders. The French knots are a bit challenging to stitch on a surface for which there is not “back” of a fabric to pass the needle to, but instead the needle has to be brought back up to the surface where the next stitch is to go. Here, I found the curved needle to be my friend.

Temari 50

Temari 50

Hand dyed variegated thread was used for the knots, giving the appearance of different colored threads for each knot. The same thread was used in a bullion stitch to create the stamens in the center of the Trillium flowers.

For the leaves, needle weaving was used to create leaves that actually lay on the surface of the ball.

This was a challenging temari to make and not just because I was trying a couple embroidery stitches that were new to me. One difficulty I had was getting good figure/ground contrast. The flower did not contrast well with the background. Originally, the triangles in the background were just the dark outline with no filling, so the flower did not show up well against the solid light blue in the triangle centers. When the French knot dots and the purple inner triangle were added, then the flower had a darker background to contrast with and therefore showed up better.

I am pleased with the solution and the end product.

Temari 51:

This temari was made for and given to a good friend’s son as a college graduation present.

Since I was told that he like earth tones, I chose a three threads in the brown family to contrast with a rich blue background. The lightest color thread is a silk thread that turned out to be easier to work with that I thought and adds a nice luster that goes well with the other threads which are perle cotton threads.

temari 51 (Robbie's)

Temari 51

One of the things that I find attractive about this temari is the two distinct layers adding depth to the design.

This temari is similar to another one which I made before this one but not shown on the blog yet. I just realized when I was writing this post that I forgot to take a picture of it and forgot to number it too. So, it will get a half number (rather than renumber all the subsequent temari) when I figure out when it was made and then hopefully I’ll remember to post it on the blog.

Temari 52

Sigh, I forgot to take a picture of this beautiful temari before gifting it to someone.

Temari 53:

This is a relatively simple design that utilizes variegated threads to add interest. Another feature is the purple thread is actually three strands of thread braided together. It takes a little more time and care to work with stitching a braid to keep the braid laying flat and not twist on the surface, but it was worth the effort for the added detail. Another small, almost not visible detail is the black square embroidered inside the square formed by the intersecting purple threads. It is one of those up close surprise details.

Temari 53

Temari 53

Temari 53 view 2

Temari 53 view 2

Temari 54:

For some reason, I was in a blue mood when this temari was made. Or at least mostly blue as there is a little green and purple mixed into the “blue” variegated thread.

The design is essentially three zigzag bands that go around the ball, two wide bands and one narrow one sandwich between the wider ones.

The striped cord that is between the two wider bands was  made by stitching the “blue” thread in a stem stitch and then stitching the white in a stem stitch over the blue.

Temari 54

Temari 54

Temari 54 view 2

Temari 54 view 2

Temari 55:

While making #54, I got the idea to make a design of interlocking diamonds that go around a ball. There are two separate sets of five interlocking diamonds: a purple set and a pink set. Both are outlined with a pale aqua colored thread.

Temari 55

Temari 55

Temari 55 view 2

Temari 55 view 2

Temari 56:

This is one of those temari that is more interesting in person rather than a 2D picture of it. Like #55, this one also has an interlocking design that runs around the ball. But a big difference between them is larger open space left at the top and bottom poles, which was perfect for adding some smaller detail stitching.

The thread used for marking the ball and stitching the design at the poles is a crochet thread with a gold metallic strand plied into it.

Temari 56 view 1

Temari 56 view 1

Temari 56 view 2

Temari 56 view 2

Temari 56 view 3

Temari 56 view 3

To outline the green thread, used a white thread, which on one side of the band is plain and on the other side is plied with a gold thread to echo the crochet thread.

Temari 57:

This is a tiny temari. It is only about 1/2″ in diameter. I used single strands of rayon embroidery floss to do the stitching.

I also used a magnifying glass to be able to see what I was doing.

Temari 57

Temari 57

Temari 58:

The cross shape on this temari is a stitch called Maltese Cross found in the book, The Complete Stitch Encyclopedia, by Jan Eaton. I am not sure why it is called a Maltese Cross as it does not look like one but rather more like a Cross Bottony, Budded Cross, or a Cross Crosslet, but not a Maltese Cross. Regardless of the name, it is a beautiful form and fun to stitch.

Temari 58

Temari 58

Temari 58 view 2

Temari 58 view 2

Temari 59:

The stars on this ball are formed by lines that zigzag around the ball and cross each other at the star points.

Temari 59

Temari 59

Temari 59 view 2

Temari 59 view 2

Temari 60:

This temari is unusual in that I used only one color of thread to stitch the design. By stitching concentric pentagons, the overall effect is a spider web. With the threads getting denser towards the centers, it makes the green glow.

Temari 60

Temari 60

Temari 61:

Interlocking hexagons create both hexagons in the open spaces inside the hexagons and create five pointed stars in the open space between five hexagons. The five pointed stars is something that would not happen with interlocking hexagons tiling a plane in the 2D world.

In # 42, #44, and #53 the design used interlocking triangles, in #41 and # 43 it is interlocking squares and in #55 it is interlocking diamonds.  I am sure if I went through all my temari, I would find more interlocking shapes.

Interlocking shapes is a fun design concept to explore, so I have a feeling that some of my future temari will have interlocking shapes.

Temari 61

Temari 61

Since I am not sure where my adventure in temari will take me next, then you will have to wait until I my next temari post to find out. Meanwhile, my next post will probably be of some of my other non-temari stitching projects that have been keeping me busy.