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 #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.

 

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 #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.

 

Three Purple Temari

Purple: it is a color that tends to show up in my creations quite frequently. These three were not made consecutively. There was another temari that featured felt flowers and leaves which was made after the first one shown, then the next two purples were finished.

There are usually at least two temari in progress concurrently, but mine get numbered according to the order in which they are finished.

temari 90 view 1

This S8 is temari #90. It was designed and created for a demonstration that I gave for the quilt guild chapter for which I am a member. For the demo, it was a work in progress so that people could see how the stitching was done. There were examples of temari in all the stages up to finished to further illustrate the process.

temari 90 view 2

Although this is a traditional appearing temari, various embroidery stitches that are not typical for temari were used in addition to traditional stitching. For example the little flower in the middle of the star utilizes a long stem daisy stitch.

temari 92 view 1

I am not entirely sure of what was my motivation for making this S8 temari, which is #92.

temari 92 view 2

The next temari, #93, is a C8. This one helped pass time while waiting at a couple of doctor’s appointments and was finished this morning. It is always fun to see if anyone will ask what I am making or comment on it when I stitch on a temari to while away waiting time. They usually provoke at least one comment or question.

temari 93 view 1

The open network created by the stitches created a delicate appearance compared to many of my bolder designs. A double thread border was added between the squares and triangle to create better definition of the spaces and eliminated an awkward space between them.

temari 93 view 2

All three of these are made with #8 perle cotton thread that I hand dyed. I just found out yesterday that my source for cones of white mercerized #8 perle cotton thread is out of stock with none in the foreseeable future as their supplier does not have it anymore. I hope to find more  as there are a few colors that I would like to dye to round out my color palette in the weight thread.

The three current temari in progress all have green in them. Each one is taking much longer to make than most of other ones I have made of comparable size. They are labor intensive. One is getting near done, the other two will be much longer until finished.

Library Temari Display

Beautiful things should be shared, not hoarded or stored where they can’t be appreciated. Temari by their nature are things of beauty: an art form based on geometry. They are artistic interpretations of spherical polyhedron structures, using line and color of thread to redefine the surface of a sphere.

Many of my temari creations have been temporarily freed from hiding in storage, to be displayed at our local library, for others to enjoy.

library temari display 1

Three display cases at our local library are filled with many of my temari creation and will be on display for the whole month of December. It took a little longer to set up the display than anticipated since about a dozen people stopped by to ask questions and make comments. They all thought they were beautiful, but only one knew what they were and had made one before.

library temari display 2

The display case in the picture above is the one on the left in the first picture. The top shelf has simple division temari, including a temari that measures only 3/8″ in diameter.

The middle shelf also has simple division temari. The three black temari with white thread are marked with simple, combination 8 (C8) and combination 10 (C10) markings with an explanation of markings to go with them.

On the bottom shelf in the front are the stages of producing a ball with written explanation to go with them. The temari behind them are some of my more adventuresome temari which experiment with different materials such as felt, lace, thread scraps as well as altered temari form such as a pumpkin form and a pollen grain form.

library temari display 3

The tall middle cabinet houses C10 temari on all the shelves and on the bottom are three kimekomi balls that have temari stitching added to them.

A temari the size of a basketball sits alone on the next to bottom shelf.

The C10s on the top two shelves range in size from a 7″ diameter ball (on center of middle shelf) to a 1/2″ diameter ball (center front of top shelf).

The 7″ temari has a black background on which seven different knot patterns worked in the  pentagons and triangles. This temari is actually a scaled down version of a temari that is three times the size in diameter. The larger version was about 1/2″ too large to squeeze into the case.

library temari display 4

The last display case contains C8 temari. The one on the top shelf, left hand side in purple, white and gold was the first temari I made.

Also on the top shelf, in the center, is one of my favorites because of the challenge presented by using several different types of embroidery stitches to create the flowers. Many stitches are difficult when stitching on a ball because it is three dimensional. Stitches that are easy on fabric do not necessarily translate to easy on a ball. In fact, they are usually more challenging. The French knot was a real pain to work on the surface, but worth it for the effect.

With each new temari, there is always something new to explore: a different marking of the ball, different color combinations, different kind of thread, different stitches, new materials, different arrangement of design elements,etc. The possibilities seem endless, so my explorations in temari continues. Who knows, maybe I will have a whole new set of temari for display in a year or two.