Temari #115- learning

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.

temari 115 penny rug view 1

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.

temari 115 penny rug detail 1

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.

temari 115 penny rug detail 4

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.

temari 115 penny rug detail 3

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.

temari 115 penny rug view 2

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.

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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 #105- frost

Temari #105 is finally done after 4 weeks in the making.  It started with couching silver cording to the ball. This temarii does not have any geometric division of the surface, The embroidery is free form.temari-105-detail-in-progress

So that the couching thread would be less noticeable, a fine silver thread was used. Because the thread is not smooth like an embroidery or perle cotton thread, the thread would snag on threads in the ball when stitching. This would lead to the thread shredding and breaking. Very annoying. But the effect was worth the extra effort.

Each spiral is crested with a ridge of silver and turquoise beads, like the hoar frost.
temari-105-detail-in-progress-2  The leaves were frosted too.temari-105-finished-3

 

And then sequins and beads were added to the background, creating the glitter of sunshine being refracted from all the frost in the area surrounding the leaves and tendrils.temari-105-finished-4

 

This was a difficult temari to photograph. The ball looked dull with indirect lighting, or there was glare with direct lighting reflecting off of the beads. The glare is much like sun on the snow in our yard now.snow

Do you see the glitter of sun on the snow in the picture above?the-gate-in-snow

The picture above was taken yesterday.

temari-105-finished

snow-on-patio

By this morning, there was about 6″ accumulation.

 

 

Temari #104- colors of autumn

The colors of autumn inspired the color theme of this temari, which is #104.

We have two Japanese red maple trees in our yard that are a joy to watch their colors change with the changes of the seasons. One stays red from spring to autumn, just changing to a deep, dark red and the other is a bit more dramatic in its color changes. The second tree starts red in spring. Next, the the leaf canopy of the taller oaks and hickory trees fills out and shades the little red maple tree. Then, the red maple tree turns green until autumn when the leaves turn a lovely deep red to burgundy, like in temari #104.

temari-104

I just finished this temari. It has been over a month since I started to stitch the pattern. It would not have taken so long except I had to take a break from stitching and other fun stuff that required the use of my dominant hand.

Compression of nerves and tendons at the wrist caused much irritation of nerves and tendons, requiring a brace and resting the arm. The arm is almost well. The tendons are still a bit tight, so range of motion still has not recovered yet, but it is slowly improving with gentle stretching exercises.

What was begun in autumn was finished in winter. The trees are bare now and we have had subfreezing temperatures at night and frost. So it looks and feels like winter too.

My next temari, the one I am currently working on, is winter inspired. The colors are turquoise and silver.

I keep a basket of what I call temari blanks. They are temari balls that have been wrapped and are ready for stitching. I don’t measure and mark a blank ball until I have a general idea of what kind of design I am planning on stitching. So, they really are blanks.

This temari is a rare departure from my typical temari designs which are usually based on geometric division of the ball surface. The design is being freehand embroidered, so there was not need for measuring and marking the ball.

A turquoise ball in the basket and some recently purchased silver colored cording are turning into a winter temari. A winter theme was the perfect excuse to try out couching the new cording on a temari.

temari-105-detail-in-progress

Here is a preview of the start. To see how it looks finished, you will need to come back soon.

Temari: #102 & #103

Temari #102 and #103 represent all my temari production for the past couple months.

 

The one above is #102, a C8 division. If it looks suspiciously familiar, it is because it is a C8 version of my temari #101, which is a C10.

There are less Shasta daisies on this one, but the flowers are a bit fuller appearing since there are more petals per flower.

The perle cotton threads on this ball are ones I hand dyed.

The next temari, #103, is a C10 division. There are six bands that make up the wider nine thread bands. The sixth band is a zigzag that circumscribes the ball instead of a straight line.

The remaining negative spaces were highlighted with narrow three thread bands.

A pastel variegated thread alternates with black in the wide bands. Although this might no show well on the computer screen, in person, this creates a subtle dynamic quality to the design.

Only the pale peach thread used in the diamonds and to tack down intersections is one of my hand dyed threads.

Only two temari to show for over two months is very low production for  me. With a number of health issues that are as tangled as a ball of thread after a cat has played with it, I am pleased to have achieved this much.

There is another temari in the works that is going with me to doctors appointments. Lately, the wait times have been relatively short, so not much progress at appointments.

A new C10 temari, maroon background with twelve stars, is going with me today to an appointment. What will go in the hexagon negative spaces between the stars is yet to be decided. Postponing that decision gives me something to look forward to.

 

Temari #101- a dozen daisies

This is temari #101, just finished. It is a reflection of our yard garden, with brightly colored  summer flowers in bloom.

temari 101 view 2

There are twelve daisies on this ball, in six different colors. The pair of each color is on polar opposite sides of the ball, so that only one of each color can be seen at a time.

temari 101 view 1

This is a C10 temari that is 4″ (10.2cm) in diameter. It is stitched with hand dyed #5 perle cotton thread.

Temari #100- a mini c10

This is my 100th temari that I have made.

temari 100 view 2

It is a mini c10 stitched with embroidery floss (single, double and triple strands) and perle cotton #8. The perle cotton is hand dyed.

temari 100 view 1

It is 1 1/4″ in diameter.

 

 

 

 

 

Temari #99

This is the 99th temari I have made since I first discovered temari and started making them three years ago.

 

temari 99

I think it was the lure of geometry in the round and the seemingly endless design possibilities were irresistible and hooked me in spite of my anti-hand sewing bent. I have since been reformed and enjoy hand sewing, at least in some applications (still not fond of hemming or mending).

Polyhedrons are fascinating and a sphere is such a perfect form, so I find designing and creating embroidered works based on spherical polyhedrons to be very rewarding.

This temari is a C8 with asanoha stitching inside the 8 hexagon areas and the 6 four-pointed stars include stem stitch and chain stitching. Asanoha stitching is a traditional Japanese pattern that is named for resemblance to the hemp leaf.

All the threads used for stitching are hand dyed perle cotton in sizes #5 and #8.

temari 99 close up of asanoha pattern

 

Temari #98- Black Trillium

What? You think there is no such thing as Black Trillium?

temari 98 black trillium view 2

A Trillium in a woodland plant that is native in temperate regions of North America and Asia. The flowers have only three petals. There is much variety in the shape of the flowers and the colors of the petals range in shades of red, purple, pink, white, yellow, or green,  but no black.

temari 98 black trillium view 1

At least no black Trillium flowers in nature, so I created a cluster of them on a temari. This is a C10 division temari that is stitched with hand dyed perle cotton thread in sizes 5 and 8.

Sadly, there are no Trillium in my yard garden, of any color. Maybe one of these days, my garden will be graced with a Trillium, and any color would be fine with me as they are all lovely.

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.