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 #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 #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.

 

Felt Leaves and Flowers Temari

Looking forward to spring, this temari was inspired by my love of gardening.

illicium floridanum in snow

There is a wonderful bush in our backyard, Illicium Floridanum, also known as Star Anise.  It is a Florida native that is not supposed to do well outside its deep south native area, but for some reason it does well in our yard in Virginia. The picture above was taken this morning and the one below was take in May a few years ago while it was blooming.

illicium floridanum

It has small dark red blooms that are mostly hidden beneath the canopy of the bush’s leaves. The flowers are charming, but not showy. This bush was the original inspiration for this temari.

illicium floridanum

The first set of felt leaves just looked too big for the ball, so I made them narrower. This, of course, made the triangular areas between the leaves larger, and would thus make the flowers more exposed. With the new leaves, the design no longer reflected the idea of Star Anise flowers being mostly obscured by leaves.

temari 91 c8 felt leaves and flowers

With the design change due to the leaves, it seemed appropriate to change the flowers to suit the new open space.The flowers became a brighter, more stylized and more showy rather than representational of star anise flowers.

This is a C8 division temari. The felt is a hand dyed rayon/wool blend and the threads are hand dyed perle cotton in sizes 5 and 8.

Those too wide leaves that were set aside have a new destiny in another temari, which will be in an upcoming post, if I can work out a couple technical issues.