Monday, August 29, 2011

temple bell

The temple bell stops.
But the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.
—Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694)

Another kiku herringbone five-petal flower. For the first time I used straight stitches to secure the obi, rather than a herringbone pattern. I like the "arts & crafts" look of it — I think that has a lot to do with the colors, too.

Thread wrap in black; S10 division in metallic gold; embroidery in dark blue, purple, lavender, pale golden yellow, and a very slightly yellowish off-white. The haiku by Bashō is in the bell box with seven brass rings. Circumference: 10.25 inches / 26 cm; diameter: 3.25 inches / just over 8 cm. Completed 28 August 2011 (no. 021).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

one month of temari

I finished my first three temari on July 26 and to celebrate I created a very small temari as a cat toy. S8 division with a simple stripe using herringbone and kiku herringbone at the points. Light purple thread wrap, division lines in violet embroidery thread, embroidery in shades of gray and blue violet. Circumference: 6.5 inches / 16.5 cm; diameter: 2 inches / just over 5 cm. Completed 26 August 2011 (no. 020).

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
— Virginia Woolf

This temari was an experiment with the traditional wrapped band technique I learned trying the Wishing Papers pattern. Wishing Papers is done on a C6 (combination 6) division*, and I was curious if a C8 (combination 8) division would enhance the pattern. The answer is no. However, it has an interesting affect, if a little sparse. The C6 works because the divisions provides three axes and the overlapping bands result in a braid-like formation. The C8 doesn't provide more diagonal axes. At least, presuming I did this correctly. I don't pretend to fully understand the math. In any case, the C8 actually gave me just two places to do the wrapped bands, not three.

While I could have made wider bands, or chosen more colors and done more bands, I am still learning how to keep the threads from bunching at the obi (equator), where, they cross — that part that is covered later by the back-stitching and looks like a little "tube." The more thread, the more pile-up, the more trouble I have still keeping the bands flat as they come out of the obi, so I limit how many threads I use. But getting better at this will come with time and practice, too.

Ecru thread for the base thread-wrap; fine gold metallic for the division lines as well as highlights; embroidery in gradated shades of light golden brown, silver brown, blue, and gray green. The quote by Virgina Woolf is in the bell box, with 11 brass rings. Circumference: 10.5 inches / 26.5 cm; diameter: just over 3.25 inches / just under 8.5 cm. Completed 24 August 2011 (no. 019).

* 4 September 2011 Update: As I continue to learn the very basics, I've realized that Wishing Papers is actually just a simple 6 (S6) division, not a combination 6 (C6) as stated above. This would explain why the C8 division doesn't give me more lines on which to create the wraps. So Wishing Papers is S6, with no diagonal divisions — the pattern itself adds the three axes for the wraps, not the division.

Top (pole) view.

Side (equator / obi) view.

3/4 view.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

contemplation — "maritime stars"

Contemplation is the highest form of activity.

This temari is my color variation on a design by Barbara Suess, "Maritime Stars" (her original is in blue, white, and black). It combines kiku stars (six of them) with the rest filled in with an "all-over" swirl. It's a combination of techniques that I first learned with the five-petal kiku herringbone and Suess's "Oliver Twist" pattern.

This is the first C8 (combination 8) division I have done. Creating the division wasn't hard, but the stars need to be perfectly placed and executed and that seems to require some feat of engineering that I have yet to fully understand. Still, it is a fairly forgiving pattern, maybe just because it is so nice to look at . . .

Thread wrap in very dark brown; no division lines (they're removed partway through the process); embroidery in light blue, dark chocolate brown, and three more shades of brown each one shade lighter. The quote by Aristotle is in the bell box, with twelve brass rings. Circumference: just over 10.25 inches / 26 cm; diameter: 3.25 inches / 8 cm. Completed 22 August 2011 (no. 018).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

moment after moment — kiku herringbone

Our way is to see what we are doing, moment after moment.
—Shunryu Suzuki (1904–1971)

This temari features a five petal kiku herringbone flower. Kiku herringbone refers to a particular style of stitch — on the inner points of the petals, the stitches go under and around, overlapping the rest of the row. This is the kiku herringbone stitch.

The quote by Shunryu Suzuki is in the bell box, with eleven brass rings; the rice hulls are mixed with dried lavender.

Dark silver-gray thread wrap; metallic silver for the division lines (this is an S10 division [simple 10]); and embroidery in golden yellow-orange, three shades of silver-gray, and light pearl gray. Circumference: 10 inches / 25.5 cm; diameter: just under 3.25 inches / just over 8 cm. Completed 19 August 2011 (no. 017).

a different kind of bouquet

Friday, August 19, 2011

oliver twist no. 3

The third "Oliver Twist" temari — my stitching is improving, getting more even. This one has a thread-wrap of very dark green, with embroidery in a sort of celadon green (called medium blue green by the manufacturer). Circumference: 9.5 inches / 24.5 cm; diameter: 3 inches / 7.8 cm. Completed 18 August 2011 (no. 016).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

anatomy of a temari: part two

The Core

Temari are constructed from the center outwards. At the core you need something to form the basic round shape. Some people use a styrofoam ball since it's already round, however this isn't for me; I like to start from scratch. Instead I use rice hulls, which are used in beer and wine making as filtering material. I take part of a new, clean sock or stocking and fill it with rice hulls — the amount depends on the size I want for the final temari. The bell box is nestled in the center of the rice hulls, and the top of the sock or stocking is folded over. The next step is to form it — almost like a snowball — into as round a sphere as possible, and then wrap with yarn. I'll save that for part three.

Alternatives to rice hulls (which are traditional in Japan) are scraps of fabric, cotton or bamboo batting, even the left over scraps of embroidery thread that are saved when sewing the pattern on the temari. Dried lavender or other scented flowers or flower buds can be mixed with the rice hulls. Or catnip, should your cat be a temari connoisseur!

rice hulls

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

echo star — variation

A variation on the "echo star" pattern, using a slightly different arrangement and number of rows for the smallest star, and different colors: a midnight blue thread wrap; metallic silver for division and highlights; and embroidery in three shades of silver gray and three shades of violet. Circumference: just under 11.5 inches / 29 cm; diameter: just over 3.5 inches / 9 cm. Completed 15 August 2011 (no. 015).

Top (pole) view

Side (equator) view

3/4 view

Monday, August 15, 2011

wishing papers variation no. 2

Another variation on "Wishing Papers" — this time using a three-color palette (unlike "Monk's Moon"), though still with fewer threads per row (5 rather than 7). Four shades each of blue, brown-gray, and golden brown; metallic bronze thread for the division lines and highlights; and a base thread-wrap in ecru. Circumference: 10 inches / 25.5 cm; diameter: about 3 inches / 8 cm. Completed 14 August 2011 (no. 014).

Top (pole) view

3/4 view

Side (equator) view — this is called the obi

Saturday, August 13, 2011

oliver twist no. 2

A second example of the pattern called "Oliver Twist." This time around I used a thread wrap of brown — coffee with just a bit of cream — and embroidery in a coffee-with-lots-and-lots-of-cream color. Circumference: approximately 9.25 inches / 23.5 cm; diameter: approximately 3 inches / 7.5 cm. Completed 13 August 2011 (no. 010).

Friday, August 12, 2011

echo star

so clear the sound
echoes to the Big Dipper
the fulling block*
—Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694)

Here is another pattern by Barbara Suess called Echo Star. While the colors are not my palette (the pattern comes as a kit with wrapping thread and embroidery thread, as did Morning Glory and Oliver Twist), the technique of layered stars is filled with possibilities. The Echo Star temari is just over 3.5 inches / 9 cm in diameter (11.25 inches / 29 cm in circumference); the other two are the smaller companion temari (3 inches / 7.5 cm in diameter). The two companion pieces focus on interlocked star and solid layered star embroidery techniques. Completed August 2011 (nos. 011, 012, 013).

*This is the haiku in the bell-box of the large temari. A fulling block (kinuta) was used to pound fabric and bedding to remove creases, making a distinctive sound.

Echo Star, top (pole view)

Echo Star, 3/4 view

Echo Star, side view

Echo Star, detail

Companion temari; interlocked star (left) and solid layered star (right)

Companion temari, another view

Sunday, August 7, 2011

oliver twist

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
—Charles Dickens

This is "Oliver Twist," a pattern by Barbara Suess. It's a deceptively simple pattern with the finished temari looking exquisitely complicated, a puzzle, Escher-like. It does require that the stitching be consistent and methodical, so it's good practice. Given the name, the quote above by Dickens for the bell box seemed apropos. 9.75 inches (25 cm) circumference; about 3 inches (10 cm) diameter. Completed 6 August 2011 (no. 009).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

monk's moon

the moon so pure
a wandering monk carries it
across the sand
—Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694)

This haiku is in the bell box of the temari I'm naming "Monk's Moon." It's based on the "Wishing Papers" pattern. One color palette instead of three: dark coffee brown, light brown, tan, and very light tan; with borders in golden brown and metallic gold, and a thread wrap of golden pumpkin. It's not as bright (or orange) as the photos below (the photo above is better); actually, it looks like a pumpkin crème brûlée.

This is a good pattern to practice keeping the embroidery threads as flat as possible and not overly overlapping or shifting position/order where they gather at the obi (the center horizontal band, or the "equator" — more on this as the anatomy posts progress); as well as not making the embroidery wraps so tight that the temari "puffs up" in between wrapped areas. About 3.25 inches diameter. Completed 2 August 2011 (no. 008).

top view

side view