Temari #111-113: on dynamic design

Each of these three temari designs have a dynamic element to their design.

Sometimes a creative block occurs for a particular project and it gets put on hold for a while. Temari #111 is such a project. It was on hold so long that I forgot I had it until I came upon it while sorting and reorganizing sewing supplies.

Only the purple triangles were stitched at the time it was abandoned. They looked like floating picture frames with no purpose. Not very interesting or dynamic.

In the picture above, you can see there are two needles at rest, stuck in the ball while I take the picture. There are two needles because the squares are stitched in alternate light blue and dark blue rounds.

So, I added the square picture frames as connectors to tie the triangles together and to emphasize the spin of the design. I had started thinking of them as picture frames because they looked empty as if they needed to display something to give them meaning.

Both the square and triangle picture frames were filled.

Temari #111 is a C8 division. Think of cube or tetrahedron polyhedrons. The squares are on the faces of a cube or the points of a tetrahedron. The triangles are on the faces of a tetrahedron or the points of a cube.

The 6 blue squares are on the poles. The orange trefoils (I forget the Japanese temari term) are on the center of the triangles with their points at the center of each side of the triangle markings. You can see the black thread marking the ball as I forgot to remove it. The purple triangles are also centered on the marked triangles, but turned so that their points are about halfway between side and point of marked triangle.

Temari #111 is dynamic in that it has bold design elements and a design that creates a strong illusion of motion.

Although temari #112 is a relatively simple design of only two elements, the division is a C10 which is a bit more difficult and time consuming than a C8.

 A C10 is based on the the polyhderon the dodecahedron with its 12 pentagon faces.

Originally, I had planned for the triangles to have multiple rows of stitches, but it became too dominating, so unstitched what little I had done and scaled back to one row.

Without color, Temari #112 would be a very static design. To prevent the allover pattern from becoming completely static, a variegated thread was used for the triangles. The underlying triangles help move the eye from one pentagon flower to another with the use of changing color relationships.

Temari #113 is another C8. It was marked for a C8 with thread matching the ball wrap, then additional division lines were added in light blue to define the faces of a Great rhombicuboctahedron (also known as truncated cuboctahedron), which has octagon, hexagon and square faces.

Double thread lines were wrapped with another thread to create a thicker thread line to define the shapes. The octagon design was stitched first since they were to be the focal points of the temari design. Something seemed to be missing until the little french knots were added to the points of the single thread design element.

Lately, the lattice design that is referred to as asanoha (translating to hemp leaf) in Japanese design, has been showing up in my temari. It is a lovely triaxial embroidery pattern that makes a wonderful filler. I could not resist using it in the hexagon spaces on this temari.

The little squares needed a fill that would visually connect the octagons and hexagons without demanding much attention, adding to the overall design without detracting from the other two elements.

Here again, variegated thread does help break up the otherwise static design. Although the lattice design in the hexagons use almost solid colors, changing scale of design detail helps prevent the overall design from appearing flat.

The threads for all three temari are some of my hand dyed threads.

Dynamic design is something I work towards in most of my artwork. Here, design element placement was used in temari #111 to create an illusion of movement of shapes.  In temari #112 and #113, change in scale played a small role in contributing to a dynamic design by preventing the surface from appearing flat. I know, not possible on a curved surface, but the concept if on a 2D surface would be better illustrated. Also, in temari #112 and #113, variegated color threads were used to create changing relationships between design elements, causing the eye to explore the surface. 

I hope you enjoyed an inside view of some of the thought processes that goes on when I design temari as much as I enjoyed making them.

 

Advertisements

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 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.

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.

Knot Temari: a very large temari

temari 26 with ruler and small temari for size reference

Why Big:

Always looking to explore new challenges, I decided to make a large temari- a very large temari.

Most temari average 3″ to 4″ in diameter and larger ones that I have seen on internet are about 6″ to 7″ in diameter. The largest one that I had made was slightly larger than a basket ball at a little over 10″ in diameter. That size did not really present much in the way of technical or design challenges, so I decided to go even larger. Temari #26 (aka Knot Temari or Big Temari) is 21″ in diameter. That is about the size of a typical large beach ball.

Challenges with Big:

The biggest challenges in making a very large temari had to do with handling a beach ball sized ball. If the core was made with my usual materials such as scraps of fleece or batting wadded around a noise maker, as lightweight as those materials are, they would have made the ball too heavy to handle.

Wrapping the ball in yarn and thread was another challenge that required a new method for coping with size.

I decided to use a thicker thread that would be more proportionately pleasing on the large ball size and type of stitched designs that were going to cover the surface. Trying to find the right size thread was a challenge that was met by not finding it, but making it.

Thicker thread required a larger eyed needle. Stitching on a surface of a sphere for which the curve is closer to flat than on a small ball meant that short straight needles were not going to be as effective as a long curved needle. So, a large eyed, long curved needle was needed, but where could I find one?

creating designs suitable for a large scale ball, rather than an enlarged version of something appropriate for an average sized temari, was a challenge that provided an opportunity to explore more complex designs.

In the following section on how the temari was made, I explain how all these challenges were tackled.

filler

How made Big:

One of the most important things I had to consider before starting was determining what to materials to use for the core. It needed to be light weight so that as a large ball it could be reasonable to handle without causing fatigue. It also needed to be malleable that could be shaped into a sphere while being firm enough to retain its spherical form. I did not want to use a material that would degrade. And finally, cost and environmental impact were concerns.

Polystyrene packing peanuts fit all these requirements. Polystyrene is an inert material which does not break down, attract moths or other bugs, and is very lightweight.  As a bonus, it was free since it was donated by a friend and their use defers their destination to a landfill.

Using polystyrene packing peanuts meant a means of containing them had to be found. On internet, I noticed that temari makers who use loose fillings such as rice hulls, will fill the toe of a sock or stocking or wrap paper or plastic around the loose fill. I used two mesh laundry bags to hold the peanuts.

Making the core of this temari started with partially filling  two mesh laundry bags with polystyrene peanuts. One bag was not big enough, so I used two. They were not completely filled as a rectangular pillow shape would have been difficult to reshape into sphere. A bell was added to each bag. (A friend’s mother who is Japanese and used to make them when she was younger is disappointed when a temari is silent, so out of respect to her, I add a bell to each temari I make.)wrapping ball 1

Then just enough yarn was wrapped around the two bags of foam peanuts to make it roughly spherical in shape. Next, strips of batting were wound around the rough ball to smooth out the big lumps and provide a smoother surface for the yarn wrap. Three pounds of yarn was used for the next layer. For the final thread layer that would be stitched on,  four cones of black serger thread (3000 yards each) were used.

wrapping ball 2 At first, I used a chair to rest the core on while winding yarn. The height of the chair seat height was good for thumping the ball down to compact the foam peanuts while shaping it into a tight ball so they would not shift around and deform the shape later.

Once the ball was stable with no foam peanuts moving around, I found that winding the yarn was easier when I had the ball resting on a smooth table. My sewing machine table is a desk with plastic laminate at a good height to work at while standing. After some trial and error, I found a method of spinning the ball with one hand while guiding the yarn or thread with the other hand. Winding the yarn and thread on the core took a long time since I found it necessary to work in small time chunks each day to prevent repetitive motion injury.

008

When I was done wrapping the ball in its final layer of black thread, I discovered that the solid black on that scale was not very pleasing as it gave the surface a dead flatness (for lack of better description) that was contrary to its physical shape. So, I added touches of color that would be used to embroider the surface later. Machine embroidery threads in purple, turquoise and dark pink were sparsely wrapped over surface of the black and then a sparse layer of black over the colors to visually integrate them with the black surface. The solid black on such a large surface made the ball remind me of a black hole, giving the whole thing a heavy appearance, so adding the colors near the surface tied the surface of the background into the stitched designs.

When I started this temari, I was unable to find a large eyed, long curved needle to purchase locally, so I made a couple. Later I found some which I bought. For larger curved needles, I prefer the shallower curve of the ones I made over the purchased ones.

024

Small purchased needle and two large handmade needles

The surface of the ball was divided as a C10 in the usual way with a strip of paper. Actually tyvec was used here since I had a piece long enough. I don’t intend to use that again since it was a little stretchy therefore hard to keep marking accurate. The finished marking was close enough to true that it would not affect the stitched designs, so I left the marking.

measuring ball

Then the purple bands were marked and stitched based on the icosidodecahedron polyhedron, which is the tessellation of twelve pentagons and 20 triangles on the surface, for 32 faces. To do this, the bands went through the middle of adjacent sides of pentagons which creates a smaller pentagon on point inside each pentagon and the lobbed off corners of the larger pentagons become the triangles.

 stitching bands

I am very fond of variegated yarns and threads since they add a dynamic quality to what would otherwise be a static design, but I usually use them with a solid to show off their changing nature. I found the perfect colors, but not in the right size. The yarn for the purple in the bands was an eight ply cotton yarn which I split into 4 plies. The yarn used for the knot designs were 4 ply cotton crochet threads all of which I split into 2 plies. Splitting the yarns brought all of them down to about the size of #5 perle (pearl) cotton.

Each of the pentagon areas were embroidered with knot designs. For the triangle, I used the same pattern and colors for all 20 to have a constant throughout the ball. For the 12 pentagons, I created 6 knot designs to use as pairs on opposite poles so that no two alike are seen at the same time.

stitching triagle designs

At first, the ball was just placed on a round lipped waste basket (don’t worry- it was new and clean) while stitching the knots, but this required frequent lifting and turning of the ball. I found this to be really tiring and hard on the arms and shoulders. So I mounted the waste basket on a lazy susan (turntable with ball bearings) which I mounted on a piece of plywood (to stabilize the base). This was placed on the floor in front of my chair. The turntable significantly reduced the amount of turning necessary to stitch the designs, but it still had to be lifted occasionally.

temari 26 view 1-3

temari 26 view 4-6

Having Fun:

I have to fight a tendency to preplan projects down to the last detail in my head or on paper, leaving no room for spontaneity or happy accidents and once it is done in my head, then I get bored with the project long before it is completed. Consequently, I try to save some things for designing as I go.

Although I designed each knot pattern as I went, I had already determined the thread colors and made up some design rules to help guide the design process. Some of the rules I made up were things like: the number of threads wide for the bands of each color, each color occupied the center of two knot designs, the green thread was the main color and the other two played supporting roles, the main color must create a knot without the aid of the intertwining of the other colors. Then I deliberately bent or broke the rules to add interest created by inconsistency.

This was a fun and challenging project for which I found the entire process and end product to be very rewarding. I am certain there are more temari in the large to very large categories in my future as there is something about the scale that is just appealing to me.

waiting

 

Temari 30

temari 30

This temari was made for someone whose only request was that it be blue and since it is winter, blue sky and snowflakes with intertwined pentagons and hexagons was the creative response to otherwise unlimited options.

To create the design for this temari, the surface was divided into 16 faces. It is based on a truncated triakis tetrahedron, which is a convex polyhedron with 16 faces: 4 sets of 3 pentagons arranged in a tetrahedral arrangement with 4 hexagons in the gaps. It is also a Johnsons solid near-miss polyhedron with pentagons that are not quite regular.

This is one of my favorite temari that I have made. I find that things I make with someone in mind are some of my better pieces and I believe that is because there is something about the person that gives me focus.

From 2D to 3D

An introduction by a friend to the stabilizer material, Peltex, has lead me on adventure diverging from quilt making. This stabilizer is like a polyester batting that has been compressed to a thin, relatively stiff fabric. It can be used in many different kinds of projects.

Last year, I made my first projects using Peltex, which were Christmas ornaments. I used it like a batting, but for a stiff backing so the ornaments would keep their flat shape and to have a base to sew beads onto.

Beaded kaleidescope fractal ornament

Beaded kaleidescope fractal ornament

The next Peltex projects were quilted fabric boxes. These were fun to create and make nice gifts. They are like making mini 3D quilts. These boxes are a great way to use up scraps left over from making quilts, so I will continue making them.

Fabric boxes

Fabric boxes

Many years ago, my mother gave me a copy of the book Polyhedron Models by Magnus J. Wenninger. It is wonderful book describing and illustrating geometric solids, which I would pull off my shelf and look at every so often. I had made several of the geometric forms in paper many years ago, but with a new (at least relatively new to me)stabilizer material that made it possible to make a polyhedron out of fabric, I just had to try it. My first one was a Small Ditrigonal Icosidodecahedron.

This polyhedron is made of five-pointed stars and pairs of equilateral triangles. The shapes were cut out of Peltex, then machine edge stitched with a zigzag stitch to the backs of fabric pieces.

Edge stitching a star

Edge stitching a star

The fabric seam allowance was turned to the back and hand stitched to the stabilizer. Then the separate pieces were hand sewn together.

Polyhedron in progress

Polyhedron in progress

The tips of the points turned out a little blunt with so much bulk coming together, so beads were added to the tip of each points.

Small Ditrigonal Icosidodecahedron

Small Ditrigonal Icosidodecahedron

The next polyhedron was much smaller- a Christmas ornament. It is a heptagonal dipyramid. Heptagon means seven sided, and the term septagon (which is a combination of Latin and Greek) is sometimes used instead. Also, bipyramid is used interchangeably with dipyramid, with both meaning two pyramids that are placed base-to-base symmetrically. Wolfram Mathworld is an excellent website for more information on geometric solids.

Heptagonal dipyramid

Heptagonal dipyramid

There are some lovely stellated polyhedrons in my Polyhedron Models book by Magnus Wenninger and even more on the internet that are tempting me to create them in fabric.

A new material has led me on a side path from quiltmaking, but not away from it. As I explore 3D sewing, I continue to work on quilts.