Temari #115- the making of this temari was an exploration of incorporating felt into a temari design. The smaller felt circles are hand dyed wool/rayon felt and the larger circles are repurposed felted wool fabric. On the circles, the blue thread is a perle cotton, and the white is a silk/bamboo yarn with the plies split and the variegated thread is the same silk/bamboo yarn with the plies split that has been hand dyed. The background embroidery thread is a hand dyed perle cotton.
The design was inspired by penny rugs, which are rugs made of scrap wool felt or felted wool fabric, cut into circles by tracing coins and then joining the felt circles to make a rug.
Felt appliqued to a temari ball makes for a nontraditional temari, so there was nothing on internet for me to find to guide me on the subject. So, exploration means teaching myself. Although this is not the first felt appliqued on temari that I have made, I still had some learning to do about appliqueing felt on a temari.
After stitching beads to a couple of the circles, I found out the hard way that beading should be saved for last if possible: after the circles were appliqued to the ball and after the background was stitched. Thread kept getting hung up on the protruding beads. Very annoying and time consuming to have to untangle with almost every stitch.
So, all those lovely beads (except on a couple circles) were stitched last. Stitching beads on a ball is challenging since there is no back to work from like when stitching beads on fabric. Ideally, I would have used a curved needle to make stitching easier, but I do not have one small enough to work with seed beads. Definitely something I will be seeking for future beaded temari projects.
Another lesson I had learned was that felted fabric, if not densely felted, would tend to ravel along the edges. Hence the necessity for an edge stitching.
Something I had to learned before, but had to relearn, was that felt has a lovely pliable quality in that it can be shaped and deformed to take the shape of a non-flat surface. So the circles appliqued to the ball lay “flat” against the curved surface of the ball with no rippling of the edges. But this malleable felt characteristic can be problematic in that the circles can become deformed enough to make them not regular circles, which in turn means the spacing between them becomes irregular even if they are properly placed on the ball.
I struggled with getting the placement of the circles right for quite a while before realizing that it was the circles not their placement since the ball was accurately marked and the circles were centered on the intersections.
The ball was set aside for quite a few months. And ignored. Finally, I could no longer tolerate seeing it unfinished.
This time I could see the problem; I was trying to make something irregular become regular. Eventually, I found that by using the guidelines as a starting point I could adjust the placement of the circles so that the narrow spacing between them was somewhat uniform. This left the pentagons in the background irregularly shaped, but something I could live with. The one in the picture below is one of the more regular shaped ones.
All the circles got stitched down. Then it was time to stitch something in the blank pentagon spaces. I tried a couple designs that echoed the pentagon shape. Not a good idea unless I want to emphasize how deformed the pentagons looked. So, I guess I had not really learned my lesson yet about how to deal with the irregular spacing.
Finally, it dawned on me. An irregular pattern in an irregular space. Embrace the irregular. A random fill pattern based on Chinese ice ray lattice patterns was stitched in the blank pentagon spaces. Okay, I admit that the background stitching is just a distraction and the irregularity of the pentagons are still there; but it is a good distraction and a nice background pattern too.
More about the temari:
Temari #115 is a C10 division. The smaller felt circles are hand dyed wool/rayon felt and the larger circles are repurposed felted wool fabric. On the circles, the blue thread is a perle cotton, and the white is a silk/bamboo yarn with the plies split and the other thread is a hand dyed silk/bamboo yarn with the plies split. The background embroidery thread is a hand dyed perle cotton.