Temari #116 & #117 – therapeutic gifts

The next two temari, #116 & #117, were both made for and given as gifts.

The first one, temari #116- lunes and stars, was given to a physical therapy student who was working with my physical therapist.

temari 116 view 1

 

It is a simple division temari, meaning it is a sphere with two opposing poles, like the earth having a north pole and a south pole. The division is a hosohedron with “a tessellation of lunes on a spherical surface, such that each lune shares the same two polar opposite vertices.” The lunes are like the wedges in an orange, the shapes on the peel are like elongated ovals with points that meet at the poles.

The picture below shows a different temari in progress which illustrates the division of the sphere surface into lunes as described above.

Dee ball showing lunes

You can also see the lune shape in the center of temari #116 in the picture below.

temari 116 view 2

The next picture shows the temari in progress. Look at all the lune shapes surrounding the temari on the hospital gown.

temari 116 view 3

This temari came with me to several doctors’ appointments to pleasantly pass waiting time. At this appointment, I was working on stitching the four lune shapes that lay diagonally along the equator. I started working on stitching purple as around the lunes shapes, but realized that I did not like the effect, which darkened the whole design.  So, I changed the color to a peach and outlined the lunes and the two polar star shapes with the peach thread.

The next temari, # 117- Leah’s temari, seen below, was given to my wonderful physical therapist, Leah.

temari 117 view 2

temari 117 view 1

Below is a series of pictures showing temari 117 in progress. This is a C8 division temari. It is very similar to temari 107.

temari 117 in progress

The next post will be a tip explaining what to do when switching back and forth between one thread and another when stitching a temari and you don’t want to finish off a thread but don’t want a dangling thread to get in the way of stitching another thread.

Although these temari were gifts for physical therapists, working on them is a sort of therapy too. For me, there is something calm and meditative about stitching temari.

Well, mostly. Once in a while they can supply moments of frustration when a something is not working the way it should. Like when the purple in #116 just didn’t do the job of finishing the design, so it required waiting until I returned home to find the color that worked as an outline for the lunes and the stars.

Did you know that the word lune comes from luna, which is latin for moon? So the name for temari #116 means moons and stars.

 

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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.

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 #106: a snowman temari with a mini snowball temari

temari-106-snowman-with-mini

 

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.

four-ball-temari-in-progress

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

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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.

temari-106-in-progress-3

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.

temari-106-in-progress-2

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.

temari-106-in-progress-4

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

temari-106-in-progress-5jpg

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.

temari-106-in-progress-7jpg

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.

temari-106-in-progress-6

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.

temari-106-mini-without-its-snowman

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.

temari-106-in-progress-8

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing, Finishing and Starting: three concurrent projects

In the previous post, a preview of  a winter themed temari showed the start of the temari in the picture below. The couching is finished and now I am continuing with beading. It is slow going, so it will be a while before a picture of the finished temari is posted.

temari-105-detail-in-progress-2

Stitching and things fiber are not my only skills or medium I work in. Occasionally, a drawing gets produced. It has been too long, so I had forgotten how much I enjoy working with graphite pencils and drawing. Now, with a new pad of paper I received as a Christmas gift today, there might just be more drawing in my near future.

Our wonderful dog was the subject of the drawing below and a gift for my husband. With being unable to do much with my dominant hand for over a month, my plans on getting this drawing and several other projects finished well before Christmas was impossible. So, the drawing got top priority when my hand was ready to draw, finishing it just in time. The other projects will just have to wait on my to-do list.

drawing-of-our-dog

Although I have not finished the turquoise winter temari, I have started another one. Yes, one even though the picture below shows three balls. In fact, a fourth ball and smallest one is missing from the picture. No, I will not tell you what it will be until it is done. And work in progress pictures would probably give away what it is supposed to be. Anyway, it is coming along quickly enough that it should be posted soon.

four-ball-temari-in-progress

Can you guess what the four temari balls will be?

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 95- blooming

Observing the energy and beauty of Spring season is always a source of inspiration; both to work in the garden and to create art that reflects what I see in the garden.

The last temari, #94, was inspired by ferns unfurling. This temari, #95, is obviously about flowers blooming, with no reference to a particular flower, just symbolic of flowers blooming in general.

temari 95 view 1

This is a C8 division temari, so there are 6 faces that are “square” and the tips of each leaf go to the corners of the squares. See where three leaves meet? That would be a corner on cube.

temari 95 wip 1

The leaves are really just two overlapping pointed ovals.

temari 95 wip 2

An X was stitched across the center of both. The X marks the spot that will be the center of the flower. A pin through the flower and into the center of the X made alignment easy.

temari 95 wip 3

Next,  a long stem lazy daisy stitch was used to create stamens and to secure the flower to the ball.

temari 95 wip 4

An X was stitched in the center of the flower as stitching guidelines.

temari 95 wip 5

The flower center was stitched.

temari 95 wip 6

And the last little finishing detail is the little triangle stitching at the intersection of the leaves.

temari 95 view 2

Hand dyed perle cotton #5 thread was used to stitch the leaves and to embellish the flowers. The flowers are made of hand dyed rayon/wool felt.

Temari 94- unfurling

Here you get to see row by row, how  the spirals in temari #94 grew. Four different embroidery stitches, one crochet stitch, and eight different color threads were used to  create the spirals. The threads are perle cotton in sizes 5 and 8 and all are hand dyed except the red.

The layout of the spiral design is on a simple division, an S4, with no markings.

  1. An open network of thin pale green spirals was stitched with a stem stitch.
  2.  Using a crochet hook, a row of a brighter green chain stitching was added. This gave the next row something to stitch through so the first row would still be completely visible.

temari 94 view 1

3. Next, a row of scroll stitching in a green/turquoise variegated thread was added.

temari 94 view 2

4. Basque stitch in a darker green was used to build on the scroll stitch. With this stitch I was able to vary the width of the spiral lines and create open spaces in the stitching.

temari 94 view 3

5. Another layer of stem stitching was added in a pale bright green.

temari 94 view 4

6. The next round of stitching did not add to the width of the spirals, but added color and interest. Turquoise french knots were stitched inside each of the open spaces of the basque stitches.

temari 94 view 5

7. A row of a peach color was stitched on both sides of the spirals, outlining them with a color that is not quite a complimentary color.

temari 94 view 6

8. The final outlining of the spirals was stem stitched in a complimentary red. I was ready to be finished with this temari after the french knots were added, but it just needed the outlining with the contrasting warm colors for it to appear finished.

temari 94 view 7

Finally, after close to 2,400 stitches, it is done.

temari 94 fininshed