Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another Swirl Temari

Here is another try at a swirl temari. I love this color combination! I think I am improving, but there is still some work needed on the first round on each shape.


This couple of inches of thread is all that was left from a full skein of pearl #5 after I finished stitching! I was nervous about running out the whole time I was stitching, and wouldn't you know it, I picked a color that I only had one skein of! I did discover a partial skein last night when I was getting very nervous. It was the same color (DMC 806) but a different dye lot. I think I could have gotten away with using it, but I was glad I did not have to.


Next time I stitch a swirl, remind me to have at least 1 1/2 skeins that match before I start!

I really want to stitch this swirl from Nana Akoa. It is on a c10, and each diamond is divided into 4 triangles. Half are stitched clockwise, half counter-clockwise. This example was stitched with a fine pearl, but she has another example using a couple of strands of floss. I think I would want to try this on a large mari.

My next project is Poinsettias on my Flower Sampler. I think I have the pattern worked out in my head, now it just has to come out through my fingers.

Speaking of which... I watched this video about Japanese embroidery: Around minute 6 of the video, the sensei says "Hands are the exit of the spirit." Do you agree with that? I don't know if I do or not... but it is very thought provoking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Challenge

In one of my temari groups we had a March Challenge, lead by Joan Z. You can see some of her lovely work here. This is the temari we planned on making, with Joan's help. She found the original pattern in one of the Japanese books and "reverse engineered" the pattern.

Pole view

Equator view

You can barely see the mari, it is almost completely covered. There are just a few places, between spindles, where you can see her mari is black.

It took me a while to get going on this, and then when I did, my supplies were in one place, and the pattern was in another. I thought I had read the instructions carefully, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. This is what I came up with:

Pole view


Equator view


Even though I sort of followed the instructions, mine looks way different! The main problem is that I didn't start the kiku close enough to the center. That opened up the center, and it limited my space for the interlocked kiku/spindle combination, so the cream spindles turned out a little spindly. So then, of course, the blue spindles couldn't be bigger, because then they would take over the whole pattern, and the balance would be lost.

I actually like the way mine turned out. The pumpkin colored mari was my inspiration for the colors I used, and I would have been sad if the whole thing was covered up. The obi stitching was a variegated pearl cotton. I thought of using the DMC color variations, in the orange and yellow tones for the obi, but the orange/rust clashed with the mari too much. (So much for planning ahead!)

Of course, with all the open space at the pole, the embellishment worked out differently too. (Plus I still didn't have the pattern at hand to look at.) I sort of like the negative space flower that developed.


DH immediately said "Merry-go-round (in a good way)" when I showed it to him, and I agree. The obi stitching reminds me of the platform, the light blue spindles of the animals/poles, and the white and blue triangles remind me of the canopy.

Of course Joan didn't stop here. She adapted the pattern from a s16 to a c8 and c10!

Aren't these amazing! I love the alternating red and yellow petals on the C10! And these were not even all the variations she came up with. Thank you so much, Joan, for leading this challenge, and for permission to share your pictures.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I have belonged to one of my guilds for more than 20 years, so all the people in it are either old friends, or soon to become old friends. I had the privilege of leading a workshop this past weekend with several people from that guild, and we had a wonderful time! We had a wonderful room to stitch in, with comfortable chairs, ample table room, bright natural light, and a coffee maker. There were 6 people in the class, which is a wonderful size for personalized attention. We started by marking a mari with a s4 marking with obi, and stitching bands around those markings. I stitched this temari demonstrating that part of the lesson. IMG_0459 One of the members had a box of #8 pearl cotton, and another box of #5 pearl cotton (in balls!). She kindly allowed me to use her #8 to stitch this, it was a little mari, and the #8 was just the right size. Next we wound our own mari. I think it always helps to stitch a temari before you make a mari. It always surprises me how infrequently the mari pops out of my hands any more. When I started, it would pop out every 5 minutes or so, and I would have to levitate out of my recliner to get it back. After two and a half years of making mari I think I drop each one once or so when I am winding. Your hands just get used to the motion and to hanging on. Everyone was tired of wrapping thread by the time they got done, but all the mari turned out very nice. We had some thread from a late member's stash, and so we were able to come up with some very interesting colors. Part of the way through the wrapping we stopped for lunch. One of the members made sloppy Joes, so we enjoyed our food and each other's company. Someone had to leave for a while to go to a shower, and left the shower as soon as the games started. One of our group asked her "What did they say when you left that party to come to do this?" She hadn't really made an announcement as to why she was leaving, but I said "This IS a party!" and everyone else agreed. With our newly wrapped mari, we stitched a kiku, or chrysanthemum pattern on a S8 marking. IMG_0461 Everyone was very engaged in the work, and some of the kikus were coming along very nicely, but I did not get a picture. I cannot wait for our guild meeting so I can see what everyone did. I did see one person's work on the next morning. She had gone home, finished her bands, and re-marked her mari for the kiku. Her bands were beautiful, and she had a good start on the kiku... with beautiful colors. I cannot wait to see all of them finished. I went home and sat down to finish my kiku as well, and promptly fell asleep! Teaching is a lot of fun, but it is hard work as well.