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 #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 #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 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.

Three New Temari: different sizes and different purposes

Three new temari finished, each with a different function and size.

temari 77Temari #77, a very small temari (about 3/4″ in diameter) was made to be a book marker and given to another book lover as a thank you gift. The threads used for stitching this temari and for the braided cord are embroidery floss.

temari 78Temari #78, a medium sized temari ( 2″ in diameter) serves as a pincushion on one of my temari project tote bags. The decorative stitching is around the equator and on the bottom, leaving the top blank, except some small seed stitches to make sure the thread wrappings don’t move. Perle cotton threads in #5 and #8 were used for stitching. All are hand dyed except the off-white thread. When it is loaded with colorful pins, it looks like the top of a cupcake with sprinkles.

temari 79Temari #79, a large ball (about 7″ in diameter) was made just for looking at and the joy of making it. Three different sizes of thread were used to stitch this ball. A fine #8 perle cotton for the pentagons and triangles. #8 perle cotton was used for the blue diamonds. The thicker black thread and variegated threads are actually a silk/bamboo yarn. Except the black, all the decorative stitching threads are ones I have hand dyed.

Temari 3

temari #3

temari #3

This lovely ball is my third temari.

This C10 division temari was made on a 2 ½” Styrofoam core with three layers of
cotton/poly batting and then wrapped with a variegated ribbon yarn. The ball was
marked with red cotton perle then stitched with lavender and purple cotton perle
and a variegated hand dyed cotton thread.

There were some difficulties in making this ball.

One I should have expected is trouble with accuracy with marking lines. This should have been expected since: 1. I have never made a C10 ball and 2. C10 divisions are supposed to be more difficult than a C4 or C8. I had no problems with accuracy in measuring and marking intersections on the ball with pins, but the way I applied the thread made the intersection go off center of the pins. When presenting my problem to the Temari Challenge yahoo group, a member sent me a link to a video on accurate marking of a C10 division. Great video. For my next C10 division ball, I will follow the video while working on marking the ball.

Another difficulty I  encountered was working with a “z” twist thread. The beautiful hand dyed yellow/orang/fuchsia variegated thread has a tight “z” twist and as I was stitching, the thread kept tangling. Most of the threads I work with have an “s” twist, which is in the opposite direction, and I usually have the problem of the threads twist becoming untwisted. Here the tight twist was just getting twisted tighter. So, I learned that I need to train myself to sew without spinning the needle to prevent both problems.

The ribbon yarn was turned out to be easy to work with and gave the ball a unique background  for the stitching. The ribbon yarn is not slippery, so stays in place while marking the ball with thread. Also, it was easy to slide the needle under the edge of the ribbon to bury thread ends.

The end product is beautiful and one that I learned from the process of making it.