Temari #106: a snowman temari with a mini snowball temari



Temari #106 was inspired by the current season. We have not had a snow yet this winter in our area, but there is still plenty of time in the season for snow.

This temari is really four balls wrapped in white thread, of which only one is stitched as a traditional temari. Three are stitched together to make a snowman. The fourth separate ball is a miniature traditional temari.

Making the snowman and his snowball presented interesting challenges and learning experiences.


In the previous post, a hint of a snowman to be was given in the picture above. If I had shown them arranged as in the picture below, it would have been obvious what was to become of the three balls.temari-106-in-progress


As you can see in the horizontal picture above, the third ball is an unwrapped polystyrene ball. The core of all three are open cell polystyrene balls. Normally, I do not use foam balls for the core of my temari, but this is one of the few exceptions.

The reasons for using polystyrene balls is that they are deformable. I wanted to balls to be slightly flattened so they would “fit” together and so the base of the bottom ball would be flat enough for the snowman to stand without any support.


As for the the use of open cell versus closed cell, the open cell is easier to deform and keep its shape and with the rough surface, the layer of batting and thread sticks nicely to the ball rather than sliding off a smooth surface.

To give a little more stitching room between the foam and the thread, a single layer of polyester batting was wrapped around the sides of the deformed balls. Only on the sides of the middle and bottom balls, as I did not want the batting to round out the flat surfaces.


The third ball for the head was a bit too tiny, so the whole thing got two layers of batting.

The fourth ball does not have a foam core. There is a tiny bell in the center.

Using plastic canvas, an X shape was cut out and the bell tied to the center of the X.


Opposite ends were brought together and sewn, creating a cage for the bell.


A little thread was wrapped around the cage to prevent the layer of batting from getting inside the cage and dampening the sound of the bell.


Finally, more thread was wrapped around the tiny ball to give it a finished layer for stitching into.

The final wrapping also helps to round out the rather lumpy ball. It is still a bit lumpy in the picture below as the wrapping is not quite finished.


The mini snowball temari was marked and stitched as a C8 division. The marking and the snowflakes were stitched using single strand silver embroidery floss. The metallic floss was an incredible challenge to work with. It likes to shred as it is not smooth and does not like to lay flat either since it is not smooth. So the little snowflakes have a bit more character than was intended, making each one more unique.

Working with the metallic thread was rough. So was trying to stick pins in the ball to mark it. The pins kept falling out as I could not stick them in very far due to the bell cage and size of ball. Eventually, I gave up on the pins and just marked it by eye.


When it came time for assembly and embroidery, I got so wrapped up in the project, I forgot to take more in-progress pictures.

The temari snowman needed some”stick” arms that are posable so he can hold his mini snowball temari. Separate stick arms made of thread wrapped wire bent into arms with three fingers. The thread was white,  a little bit of brown acrylic craft paint transformed them to stick color. To stick arms into the ball, a large needle was used to ream a hole into the ball from the shoulder all the way through towards the waist for each arm and excess wire shoved back into the ball.

The little felt hat and scarf set started off being a crocheted set. My patience for crocheting and the fact that the hat just did not look right, made me switch to felt.

The first felt scarf was a single piece of felt. It was stiff and looked stiff. So, I cut it into three narrow strips to braid. Nice idea, but not long enough. I was working from a small leftover scrap of felt, so I had to cut three more pieces and stitch them to the other three to have three longer ones, ones long enough to braid. And the connection had to be done carefully so as to not be visible. That made a softer scarf and one with more character, especially after adding bells to go with the one on the tip of the hat.


For some reason, the cute grin in the front view ends up looking slightly mischievous in this side view, almost as if he is contemplating throwing the snowball at someone.








3D Quilts- real, not illusory

Making things in 3D, real and not illusory, is a challenge I enjoy. I think it started with a couple origami books that probably my father bought when I was a child. I made every model in both books. I went on to making other paper models of things like polyhedrons, imaginary birds, etc. when in college.

I moved on to quilts, then came back to 3D by combining 3D and quilts. Both of the following quilts were made last year.

corrugated tessellation #1

Corrugated Tessellation #1

Technically, by the commonly accepted definition of a quilt as having two layers of fabric with a batt (which is sometime fabric or other material) in between and stitching holding together the three layer, Corrugated Tessellation #1 is a quilt. Although it has more than three layers, what and how it is quilted might be considered questionable my some. The top layer of fabric is machine stitched to a layer of stabilizer. The black back fabric encases a couple layers of heavyweight stabilizer (which are stitched together). And finally the folded top is hand stitched to the flat back with beads in the valleys. The beads on the peaks serve not only decoration, but hold the shape of folded intersections.

corrugated tessellation #1 close up

This small quilt is 12″ x 12″ x 1″. It utilizes a lightweight stabilizer as the batting on the 3D part and a heavy weight stabilizer for the 2D part.

Blue and White Double Pleat Square Tessellation Garden

Blue and White Double Pleat Square Tessellation Garden

Another small 3D quilt. It is approximately 15.25″ x 15.25″ x 1.25″. The blue fabric is one piece (except the border) and the white flowers are separate units tucked into the folds of the blue fabric. Both the white fabric and the hand dyed blue fabric were hand colored with texture rubbings using pastel dye sticks. When the pleats were folded, the textures were not visible until the pleats were pulled up and stitched together with beads to form square flowers.

blue and white double pleat close up

The quilt is self batted, meaning the folds of both the blue and the white fabrics become the inner layer that is used as the batting, with the layers held together with machine quilting.

I tend to not like picking favorites, since each quilt has something about it that makes it special, but this is one of my favorites.

Instead of limiting myself to just quilts, I have expanded into anything fiber, and lately it is three dimensional that holds my interest.

Note: the pictures are not very good representations of the quilts for two reasons. It is difficult for me to photograph them and one of my photo bulbs died so the lighting was even more compromised.