Temari 107 to 110: being patient

Being Patient. For me, temari #107 to 108 represented the state of being patient.

For these temari, I was patient by both commonly used definitions: “Able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” and “A person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment.” Not surprisingly, the origin of the word patient means suffering.

Temari #107 was begun in May, before a series of surgeries. It went with me to quite a few doctors’ appointments. This is a C8 temari stitched with hand dyed #8 perle cotton threads and a silk/bamboo yarn.

I am very pleased by the effect of contrasting the light/heavy threads and delicate/bold design elements.

You can see part of my temari project bag to the right of the picture. This is a newer style of my temari tote bags. Maybe this will be the subject of a future post. My original style of temari tote bag had a hexagon base and a drawstring closure which went through a several revisions.

When I finished this temari at one of my appointments, I was so excited that I took a picture and texted it to a friend. I never did rephotograph it with a better background, hence the hospital gown as the background.

Then, I started another temari so that I would have something to work on while recovering from surgery. I was excited about the diamond design and looking forward to finishing it.

Then there was a long gap of a couple months before another temari was finished.

During a period of a month, I had four surgeries and an emergency room visit with hospital stay. During that time and for weeks afterwards, I did not feel like sewing, nor much of anything else, not even even read a book nor listen to music. Pain, lack of energy and just not feeling well were not good motivators for even favorite activities. The not feeling well was in part due to a mystery infection that prompted an emergency room visit and subsequent several day hospital stay between a couple of the surgeries.

But, in the thick of it all, I did find a couple days where I was inspired to and had enough energy to make a small temari. The diamond temari had to wait for a while longer.

Temari # 108 is a mini. It is a C10 temari with a diameter of about an inch or a little less. The design is the same as temari #100, but in a different color scheme. The threads are: perle cotton #10, three strand embroidery floss, two strand embroidery floss and single strand embroidery floss. Only the perle cotton threads are hand dyed.

It was made under a magnifying glass and made for one of my surgeons. He is a microsurgeon who uses a microscope to perform surgery. My work was not nearly as complicated nor as challenging as his was, but the gift was well received.

I think my next mini temari challenge will be to work in finer thread to achieve greater detail.

After quite a few weeks of waiting, mostly sleeping and trying to be patient and not get frustrated by a lack of energy to do anything, I finally picked up the diamond temari and started stitching again.

The diamond temari, # 110, was actually finished before #109, but I forgot to photograph it and number it before its predecessor. My temari are numbered by order of finishing, otherwise it would get confusing since I often have several in progress at the same time.

Unlike the previous temari design, this one was completely unplanned from the beginning.

The threads are all hand dyed perle cotton. When I first started this diamond, my vision of the design did not go beyond the larger diamonds. Next the smaller diamonds were stitched. At this point, the design was missing a critical element to visually tie the diamonds together, which turned out to be the hexagons. Lastly, little diamond were stitched since the hexagons needed a connecting element and something to finish the diamond spaces. 

With the diamond temari done, another temari project was needed to keep me occupied at upcoming doctor’s appointments. Thinking to make a simple design, I embarked on a C8 temari with large and small squares that woven together with triangles. I thought I had come up with an easy design that would not require much concentration, but nope. I kept messing up the under/over start of a band and would have to rip it out and start over. Doctor’s offices can be rather distracting. It could have been a real trial of patience but I never did get frustrated.

Temari #109 is a C8 stitched with hand dyed perle cotton threads.

Before and between surgeries there were a few sewing projects on the sewing machine that demanded my attention. These were projects that I felt could not be ignored, things that made my life a little easier or less painful such as making a comfortable surgical drain holder, a seat belt pillow and altering post-surgical garments.

I used to wish I was a more patient person. I know better now. For me, developing patience means trials that will challenge me to develop patience. That type of challenge is often not very pleasant. Overall, I have been a patient patient, and since I must go on being a patient with many more doctor’s appointments to go, I might as well continue to practice patience about being one. 

With the distractions of health issues, it would be easy for that to become the focus of my life, rather than a distracting part of it. Admittedly a very distracting and disruptive part of my life. Most of the time, I remain patient with where I am at in my recovery and work towards being able to fully return to my normal activities that are central to who I am.

Fortunately, temari making is a good activity for me to indulge in while waiting until I am able to do more physically demanding activities.

Currently, I have another temari almost done, and plans for many more. And then there are other non-temari sewing projects too, which I will write about another time.



Temari 97- another gift

Temari 97 was made as a gift for my mother, who is red/green color blind.

temari 97

Since she is as fond of plants as I am, it was tempting to make one that was botanically inspired. I was seeing green leaves with red flowers in my mind, but I also wanted to make one for which she could see the colors as a non-color blind person would see them.

This is a C8 division temari stitched with cotton perle in both hand dyed (light blue and yellow) and commercially dyed (black and dark blue).

I chose blue, yellow, black and white. The six blue pointed stars with yellow centers ended up being somewhat flower-like in design. So, I was pleased with how the temari turned out; I hope Mom is pleased with it too.


Temari 96- a gift

temari 96 view 1

This temari was made to be a gift for my father. It is a C8 division that is made of six units of interwoven pairs of spindles that make X’s and 8 units of 3 spindles that interweave to make stars.

The dark X’s were stitched with three different hand dyed perle cotton #5 threads, from light blue/green in the center to dark blue on the outside.

The X’s were stitched first, knowing there would be some design element in the almost hexagon spaces, but not know what. After the dark spindle X’s were done, making spindle stars in the remaining spaces seemed like the logical solution.

Three different hand dyed perle cotton #8 threads were used, a different one for each spindle, to stitch the stars. Lighter colors were used for the stars so they would be a secondary design element as they contrast less with the background.  Each spindle color traces a line around the ball, which gives some movement to an otherwise almost static design.

An ecru color was used to outline all the spindles, which helped to emphasize the weaving, at least on the dark X’s.

temari 96 view 2

I am pleased with the finished temari and I am sure my father, a mathematician, will enjoy it too.

Three New Temari: different sizes and different purposes

Three new temari finished, each with a different function and size.

temari 77Temari #77, a very small temari (about 3/4″ in diameter) was made to be a book marker and given to another book lover as a thank you gift. The threads used for stitching this temari and for the braided cord are embroidery floss.

temari 78Temari #78, a medium sized temari ( 2″ in diameter) serves as a pincushion on one of my temari project tote bags. The decorative stitching is around the equator and on the bottom, leaving the top blank, except some small seed stitches to make sure the thread wrappings don’t move. Perle cotton threads in #5 and #8 were used for stitching. All are hand dyed except the off-white thread. When it is loaded with colorful pins, it looks like the top of a cupcake with sprinkles.

temari 79Temari #79, a large ball (about 7″ in diameter) was made just for looking at and the joy of making it. Three different sizes of thread were used to stitch this ball. A fine #8 perle cotton for the pentagons and triangles. #8 perle cotton was used for the blue diamonds. The thicker black thread and variegated threads are actually a silk/bamboo yarn. Except the black, all the decorative stitching threads are ones I have hand dyed.

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.

Several More Temari

Over the holidays, I created four more temari which were all made as gifts except one.

temari 31 pole view

temari 31 pole view

temari 31 side view

temari 31 side view

The simplicity of this temari lends to its bold, graphic quality. Only one thread, a variegated thread, was used to stitch the six spindles. By selecting a different color on the thread to start the stitching, then it was possible to get six differently patterned spindles.

This is an S6 temari for which additional guidelines were added to  skew the spindles so they did not run straight from pole to pole, but rather diagonally to create a spin effect when seen from a pole end. The original guide lines were removed so they would not distract from the design.

temari 32 side view

temari 32 side view

temari 32 pole view

temari 32 pole view

The design of this temari is an S16 with the silver guidelines clearly visible. The design is easier to make than it appears. Only one thread, a variegated thread, was used to stitch the two zig zag bands that cross at the equator. A solid green thread was used to stitch the star pattern at the poles.

temari 33 view 2

temari 33 view 2

temari 33

temari 33

This is a C8 division temari. The triangles bands are turned on point to the marked triangles and interlock at their points. The sides of four triangles create a square in which a solid square is stitched within a four pointed star. The stars interlock at their points to reflect the interlocking of the triangles, but creating a more complex design in the center of each triangle.

There are 8 triangles and 6 squares formed by the triangle sides which are the fourteen faces of the cuboctahedron polyhedron.

This temari was made as a gift for my mother who is red/green color blind so the emphasis was on line, shape, value contrast, and color gradation without the use of pure green or red.

temari 34 view 1

temari 34 view 1

temari 34 view 2

temari 34 view 2

This temari was made for the fun of it. The core of the ball is a cat toy bell encased in hard plastic sphere. The yarn wrapping a is made of three different wool yarns which was wet felted. The bell was safe inside its plastic shell from water corroding. Rather than obliterate the interesting textures and subtle colors of the wool yarns with a covering of thread, only a small amount of thread was added so that the yarn and the thread became the background.

Using the yarn as a background for stitching on makes for a challenging surface to get detail, so I did not even try. I opted for simple bands in a C4 design.

With this temari, the focus became texture instead of color. It is a quiet, unassuming ball.

It was a good thing this temari needed a simple design as I am supposed to be resting my right arm. A couple months ago I strained my elbow, or so I thought. I found out recently that it is a torn tendon which my doctor said would take several months to heal, if I am nice to it and longer if not. Some activities are okay and some are not. I have found that I can get away with some sewing if I use my other hand to pull the ball away from the needle rather than the needle away from the thread, and doing much more than a little is too much.

Holiday Bazaar

temari display at craft bazaarThis past Saturday, I participated in the Holiday Craft Bazaar, hosted by the American Sewing Guild at a local church. The picture above is of my table which had (from left to right) sterling silver earrings made by my son, temari, quilted boxes, folded fabric ornaments, re-usable fabric wraps and bags with tags sets, and fabric origami butterfly pins (scattered around table).

The quilt and the large temari were for display only. The quilt was for a backdrop to hide an ugly rack.

While sitting at my table, I worked on making a new temari. There were several people who knew that the embroidered thread balls were temari, but many asked about what they were and how they were made. It was fun to share.

Two Temari- with Healing Prayers Inside Each

Temari for Thomas

Temari for Thomas

Temari for Dad

Temari for Dad

Since both the son of a good friend and my father are currently in hospitals for different reasons, I decided to make them each a temari. The idea for putting a prayer inside came from a discussion in the Temari Challenge group that I joined. One of the members said she put prayers folded into hearts at the center of the ball.

I make charity quilts for pediatric oncology patients, but it did not occur to me to make temari for someone as a comfort item until I read her post about prayers in the heart of her temari. Then it gave the idea to make  temari with a healing prayer as a comfort item.

Both balls have the same background color and almost the same design, but color and texture change the personalities.

Turquoise: a temari and a kimekomi temari hybrid

For some reason, turquoise was the color of choice when I made these balls. I started the temari and ran out of silver thread and was unable to finish until I bought more a couple days later, so I moved on to making another kimekomi temari.

temari #7

temari #7

This C10 temari was a bit challenging for me to make since it required the use of pins where the silver stars connect to keep the tension correct until the stars were connected. Otherwise, if I pulled too tightly, then the stars would have been too small or lopsided. I am not very fond of pins and this project reinforced that sentiment. The silver thread kept catching on pinheads, even though I kept them pushed in most of the way.

When the silver thread ran out before the ball was done, I was ready for a break and switched to making another of my hybrid balls.

kimekomi temari hybrid #3

kimekomi temari hybrid #3

Three different hand dyed turquoise fabrics were used in this hybrid ball. Bits of other colors in the fabrics are reflected in the thread colors. The kimekomi is a C8 division and the temari is a C8 division. Turquoise crochet thread was braided and used for the thread marking lines. I rather like the heavier line look on this ball and plan on experimenting with different weights and different braids.

Two More Temari

I like how this temari turned out with the concentric bands changing from a
square near the pole to a circle at the equator.

temari #5 view 1

temari #5 view 1

And from another view, a different pattern is visible:

temari 5 view 2

temari 5 view 2

The next temari was made to feature one of the pieces of crocheted lace made by
my grandmother, which I hand dyed lace and used as the obi.

temair 6 side view

temair 6 side view

The lace connects the stitched designs at the two poles:

temari 6 top view

temari 6 top view