Once the mari is finished, it needs to be "divided," based on the pattern that will be stitched. A temari is traditionally broken down with geographical terms, as if it's a small earth (there's a diagram at the very bottom of the sidebar at the right). The "top" is the north pole, the "bottom" the is south pole, and the line around the middle is the equator. Having these points helps orient the ball while stitching. Simple patterns are often designs that originate from the two poles, and the equator gets a wrapped band called the obi (which is the Japanese word for the sash around a kimono). A perfect example is the very traditional Kiku, or chrysanthemum.
Luckily for me, this isn't a tutorial, so I can generalize. . . .
The thread-wrapped mari is first marked with pins, and then the pins serve as guides for adding division lines in heavier thread, which usually become part of the final design, but may be removed, depending on the pattern.
Since mari size varies, measuring is started by using a paper strip (1/4-inch wide and long enough to wrap around the circumference and then some). To get the basic measurements, numbers and math aren't needed — it's all relational.
The end of the strip is pinned to the ball and this becomes the north pole (using pins with colored tips, one can designate different colors for different pins, e.g. white for the north pole, blue for the south pole, and red for the equator, like the diagram). The paper strip is wrapped around the circumference and trimmed to the length that equals the circumference of the mari.
While still attached at the north pole, the strip is folded in half; wrapping the folded strip will find where the halfway point —the bottom, or the south pole — is located, and another pin is inserted.
The strip is folded in half again and a notch is cut at this fold. This is the 1/4 mark of the strip, and shows where the equator is located (halfway between the north and south poles). The number of pins placed around the equator depends on the final division (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, etc.).
The pins must be spaced equally around the equator. The same paper strip can be used, since it is it the circumference of the temari; it is folded into 4ths, 6ths, 8ths, or whatever your desired measurement is, and notches cut at the folds, and — theoretically — a pin at each notch will space them equidistantly around the equator. Alternatively (and this is what I prefer), you can pin a fabric tape measure around the temari, divide the circumference by the number of pins you want and use the tape measure to place your pins exactly (for example, a 24 cm circumference divided by 8 for a simple 8 division equals a pin placed every 3 cm).
Example one — simple 16 (S16) division, used for the above mentioned chrysanthemum (though these are actually early photographs of no. 43, "the breaking of a wave") — in this temari the division lines are part of the design, so they're made with metallic thread and left on and used as the guidelines for sewing (you can see this if you click on the link for no. 43):
There are simple divisions: S4, S6, S8, S10, S12, S16 . . . the number referring to the number of N–S division lines. And there are combination divisions: C6, C8 and C10, which don't have an equator / obi, and have multiple poles.
Example two — combination 10 (C10) division. Used, for example, for an all-over spiral.
This starts out as an S10. Note that in the following two photos, the pins that were on the equator have been moved relative to the poles using a particular formula specific to the C10 (which does require math and a ruler), to get the mari ready for adding the division lines.
|S10 showing the north pole pin (white) and the N–S division lines, with the 10 equator pins (red and green) already repositioned for a C10.|
|Another view of the same, from a different angle, showing both north pole pin and south pole pin (blue).|
Using the repositioned equator pins, more lines are wrapped around each to divide it into the "combination" division: each pin will become a pole with 10 division lines radiating outwards. I'm using regular sewing thread, because after I'm done marking it, I'll remove the thread before embroidering.
|The additional division lines have been added. Switching out pin colors during the process helps me keep track of my progress and orientation.|
|A C10 with pins removed. The tacking (the stitches that hold the intersections of threads at each pole in place) are really big and sloppy because I will be removing all this thread before embroidering, and I don't want to lose it!|
Once the C10 is complete, "shapes" are picked out on which to work the design. You can see stars, triangles, pentagons, octagons, diamonds. . . . If the division lines are part of the design, they're done in decorative thread and used to guide the stitching. For the all-over spiral, the next steps are to put new pins in at the corners of the right shapes and remove the division lines before beginning stitching since they are not part of the design — as seen here.
Update 18 October: see the finished "plum" all-over spiral.
So, that's a very simplified explanation with just a couple of examples of how to ready the mari for the design. End of anatomy lessons!
For each temari I complete, I try to include a label / tag with the type of division. Over in the sidebar is a list of tags, so you can click on any one and get a list of posts & pictures of temari using that division — for an example, here's the list of S8 temari.