This is a large temari, with a circumference of almost 32″ (81 cm) and diameter of a little over 10″. Most temari are small, a size that usually fits comfortably in the hand. I suppose this is due to their originally being made as a toy ball. Traditionally, these Japanese thread balls were wound and stitched in silk thread, which is very fine and creates fine lines and intricate detail even on a small ball.
Nowadays, temari are made by people all over the world, as evidenced by the many pictures of temari (or gotenmari) found on internet. Cotton perle thread, which is a bit thicker than the fine silk seen on the traditional Japanese temari, seems to be popularly used today.
Cotton perle thread has a lovely slight sheen and comes in many different solid colors in our local shops.
But I like working with threads and yarns in variegated colors, different textures, and various fiber contents. For what I like to work with, there is limited selection available locally, and what is available comes in small skeins and the price becomes cost prohibitive.
This means that on my smaller temari, the threads are proportionately larger than is traditional. But…I get to have the textures, colors and variety of fibers that I enjoy working with.
I did want to try making a large temari, to see what challenges a large temari would present that I did not find in making smaller ones. I knew that I could get more detail with the same threads and yarns I had been working with on the smaller ones.
But what would be different? Would working larger make it more difficult to handle the ball while working on it. No, I found working with a mari with a circumference of almost 32″ (81 cm) and diameter of a little over 10″ was relatively easy to work with.
Wrapping the ball core in yarn just took longer since there was a much greater surface area to cover.
It was the perfect size to rest in my lap will sewing on it. Propping my feet up while working prevented the ball from rolling off my legs. Having the ball rest in my lap meant I had both hands to work with, which I found necessary.
With the curved surface of the ball being less pronounced than on a smaller ball, it was a little more challenging to work with a straight needle, but I could not find a curved needle with a large enough head to work with the thicker threads and yarns.
Being a larger ball, there was many times the surface area to cover with stitching, so the project took many times the number of days that a smaller one takes.
To give you an idea of the size of threads and yarns used on the ball: the green is a cotton crochet size 3 with the four plies split into 2 plies and the purple and lavender are size 3 bamboo thread (Aunt Lydia’s lilac Iced Bamboo) . The variegated purple is thread I hand dyed. The black and black/white yarns are a thrift store find, size unknown.
The only stress encountered in making this ball was at the end when I came close to running out of the lavender thread, knowing that I could not find it in any stores locally. I had looked. The store that carried it discontinued it and none of the other stores I checked carried it. There were a couple yards left, which is not much when working on a larger scale ball.
So, after all the work and time, would I make another large temari? Most definitely.