Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Temari Techniques: Book Review


Barbara Suess’s new book, Temari Techniques: A Visual Guide to Making Japanese Embroidered Thread Balls is out, and is it a beauty! If you are familiar with temari and fascinated by the art, this is definitely a book for you! I’ve gone a few rounds with temari myself – I made this temari ball for my niece, for example – but I’ve always wanted to venture further with the it. And now, I think I definitely will! Barbara Suess’s book is inspiring!

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

One thing about the book: it is loaded with gorgeous photos of Japanese embroidered thread balls. I always tend to be drawn to a book by visual interest. Yep, I’m the type who looks through the book at the pictures first.

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

There are some amazing temari in here!

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

I love this group. At one point in the book, Barb suggests using the embroidery stitches you already know to decorate temari, and these embroidered spheres are a perfect example of doing that. They’re covered with flowers made from detached chain stitch (daisy stitch), French knots, straight stitches, fly stitches – all simple embroidery stitches. And they are beautiful!

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

Every section of the book highlights a delightful collection of these works of art.

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

But of course, pictures aren’t everything. The book begins with the story of the art of temari – what the are and where they come from, how they developed, and so forth. And then – the instruction! The book is chockfull of instruction – step by step lessons for constructing and decorating your own temari, from making the core to the finishing touches.

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

Throughout the book, helpful tips are highlighted in the margins and footers, to make your temari adventure a successful one.

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

There are clear diagrams for dividing the temari ball into basic sections and more complex sections.

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

This is the most thorough temari book I’ve seen – there are so many possible combinations and divisions covered in here, that I’m pretty sure if you only had one book on temari and this were it, you’d be well occupied for life in creating all the possibilities!

So while I’m impressed with the aesthetic appeal of the book – it really is gorgeous and would stand alone as one of those “coffee table” books – it’s the instructional content of the book that really sells me on it. After all, what’s a technique book, without good instruction?

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

And of course, there are plenty of instructions for specific designs, grouped into stitching different types of shapes, from simple to complex. The beginner can start at the beginning of the book and worth through the various sections on stitching and wrapping, and be a pro by the end of the book.

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

There’s a beautiful section on challenge designs, so if you already have experience creating temari, you’ll still have plenty here to challenge you.

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

The books is extremely well organized, from beginning to end. At the end of the book, there’s a great pictorial index, so you can easily look up the kind of design you want to create. I love this!

You can find Temari Techniques available on Barb’s website. For those who order through her, she includes her instructional pamphlet on making temari eggs:

Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess

The idea of making temari eggs enchants me more than making the regular spheres… I see them in all kinds of applications, from Christmas tree ornaments to Easter basket additions to housewarming gifts. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to the egg shape more than the sphere, but I am! And you rarely see a really thorough covering of egg shapes in temari books. So I’m happy to have this extra instructional booklet.

If you’re keen to try temari or are already an aficionado, do check out Temari Techniques by Barbara Suess. I think you will be as enchanted with the book as I am!

You can also find Temari Techniques through Book Depository out of the UK (they have free shipping worldwide). It’s also available at Amazon:

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(17) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    I have always been intrigued by Tamari as well. This book is inspiring. Just added it to my wishlist.
    Thanks for the wonderful review.

  2. Wow.
    What a BEAUTIFUL, amazing book!
    I’ve never heard of Tamari before, but I think I’m in love already.
    Having only started stitching 2 years ago, and being the restless 22 year old that I am, there’s a whole lot I don’t know and have yet to stubble upon.
    I’m a total nut for anything Japanese, so this is right up my fairly small street!
    I’m just itching to give it go.
    Do want.

  3. Ohh! Ohh! It’s beautiful. I’ve wanted to make temari and yubinuki (thimbles) since I saw an article in “A Needle Pulling Thread” several years ago. I can make the mari, and I understand the mathematics, but for some reason I’ve never had the courage to start one all on my own. What a beautiful resource.

  4. When I worked at the New England Quilt Museum we featured Japanese fabrics and had Temari ball kits. I loved them but the instructions were in Japanese and I had no idea how to possibly put them together! I’m so happy about this book, I can’t believe there are clear instructionas and pictures – I get a second chance at making one of these wonderful creations!

  5. I bought a book of how to create Tamari several years ago and it is still hiding in my pile of things to discover. I have been wanting to make some new Christmas ornaments, but every time I look at the pictures I get very intimidated. This may just be the incentive I need to dig into my UFO bin and try it. Not to mention I failed at tatting class a couple of weeks ago and now have some beautiful threads that would work great. And don’t worry, I am not giving up on the tatting, but need to continue to do needle tatting instead of shuttle tatting. Admittedly, I’m a much better teacher than I am student. I’m a very slow learner.

  6. What I timely post! I just found my temari book (Mary Wood’s The Craft of Temari) when we cleaned out the spare room. I made temari as Christmas gifts for my family a few years back, and they were so much fun.

    This book looks so intriguing. I love the “wave” patterns on the eggs below the flower spheres. Mesmerizing!

  7. I do wish you would stop helping me spend money! rofl This looks like something I will have to get. Have never done temari but it is on my list of new things to learn.

  8. I have an older Temari instruction book and have planned on doing one but the book isn’t user friendly but you make me want to try so I will again.

  9. I have Barb’s first book (and several others) and it used to be my favorite Temari book. Now this book is. As Mary says, it’s beautiful to look at. Even better, it has step by step instructions all in one place. I could start at the beginning and worth through basic techniques (as I did with the first book). Or now that I have more experience I can jump to a design that interests me and refer back to anything that I’ve forgotten.

    I tried making Temari twice before and failed miserably. I decided to try an online class and Barb’s instructions made all the difference. Now the distillation is here in a book that I think anyone interested in the topic will love.

  10. These are so lovely to look at. The intricacy is quite intimidating to me, plus, it looks like it requires math/geometry skills, so I’ve never tried it.
    I might have to put this book on my list, although I’ve already got more projects on it now than one person could possibly start, much less finish, in a lifetime.

  11. I received my copy of this yesterday. The book is inspiring. It was also very well wrapped/protected for overseas delivery and speedily dispatched.


  12. Mary,
    You convinced me, I need to give this a try. Especially with the bonus egg designs. Barbara was very prompt. I ordered the book Wednesday night through her Etsy store – along with a pack of needles and the V tool – and had it by the weekend. The book is gorgeous and inspirational.
    P.S. I mentioned your newsletter when I ordered, so she knows how people are finding out about her book.

  13. PODZIWIAM TE CUDA i troszkę próbuje ale moje to nie takie dzieła sztuki jak tu – proszę o jak najłatwiejszy prosty wzór POZDRAWIAM I Z GÓRY DZIEKUJĘ

  14. I have this book and I really love it but there are several photos that do not have step by step directions. Can you please email me the directions for interlocking three shapes at a point on page 92?

    Thanks, julie gall

    ps, The above email is correct. I have had it for15 or 20 years.

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