It’s true. Temari is addicting. I haven’t discovered yet if it is addicting as a craft – I don’t know, for example, whether or not I’ll be desperate to start another one once I finish my first attempt, because I haven’t finished my first attempt yet – but I do know that, in the process of creating one ball, it is addicting. I didn’t want to stop. And my First Attempt Temari is ugly. And I still didn’t want to stop!
Yesterday, the itch to try to make a Temari ball finally overcame me, and in the later afternoon when I should have been doing a dozen other things, I slunk out to the studio, furtively planning to to give in.
The first thing I had to do was gather threads.
Never start a project until you have at least a goodly bit of the supplies actually in your possession. I know this rule, but I really had to make a Temari ball yesterday afternoon!
I had some partial skeins of DMC perle cotton #5 leftover from the kids’ embroidery classes I taught last summer. Let’s see… a pink, a light blue, a very little bit of dark blue, and a rather vibrant yellow. There was also a skein of bright orange, but that didn’t seem to fit the bill, quite.
Sticking with an overall baby-colored scheme, then (with the exception of the yellow, which was too bright to be baby), I launched into embroidering the outside of one of my thread-wrapped balls from Lacis.
The ball was already divided into a simple 6 division, so I found, in Barb Suess’s book Japanese Temari, A Colorful Spin on an Ancient Craft, a pattern for a six division ball and launched in.
I wasn’t sure of the needle to use, so at first, I started out with a regular crewel needle (#3), but quickly switched to the only large darning needle that I had in my needle box. I have no idea what size it is, but it was the longest needle I had, so I stuck with that.
It isn’t exactly my favorite design that I’ve seen on Temari balls. So many of these embroidered spheres have caught my eye lately, but this particular design didn’t, exactly. Still, it was a six-division pattern and looked fairly simple (which it was).
Because the ball I had was so huge, I had to add extra rows of thread, so I expanded the original pattern a little bit.
My spacing and tension were not exactly what they should have been. I found I crammed the stitches into the end-points, instead of keeping them a bit farther apart and well-spaced. This caused some of the threads to bunch up against each other, and, in some cases, to overlap, covering up other threads.
Some of the little arms of the “star” came out better than others, but there’s still a tension and spacing problem going on here.
As I altered the pattern a bit, I jotted down the alterations in the book. Yes, I write in my books. Not in all my books, but in many of them!
Barb Suess’s book is really excellent for beginners. I recommend it highly! The other book I ordered was Temari: How to Make Japanese Thread Balls, by Diana Vandervoort. Once I got the hang of what I was doing, I liked the second book, too. It’s not as nice a book, though, as Barb Suess’s, if you’re one who judges content by appearance. The pages are that rough news-printy type paper, and, except for a couple pages right in front, there is no color throughout the book. All the diagrams look hand-sketched. But the information is really good, and there are some neat designs in there, though you don’t get to see them displayed in color.
As far as the pre-wrapped ball from Lacis goes, by the way, I find them rather large. I don’t know if this is the standard size, but it “just” fits in my hand – it’s like a softball. It feels large. I can see why making your own thread-wrapped core would be more enticing, since you can then determine the size of the finished product.
I’m eager to finish this ball. Once I see it completed, I’ll know better if I want to invest in some specific threads for the black core.
Anyway, that’s it – my First Attempt Temari.