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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How do you make them?

The number one question that people ask me is how do I make a temari ball?  Even after I describe the process, they will say "so you start with a ball, right?"

Just as temari began hundreds of years ago as a recycling craft, I recycle materials when I begin to make each one.  

The smallest temari begin with scraps of thread that I save as I work.  I wrap these with a cut scrap of fabric.  I then wrap that scrap of fabric with yarn, getting progressively tighter.  The trick is to keep the ball in constant motion which makes teeny temari especially difficult because my own fingers get in the way.

For larger temari, I fill on old sock with a number of recycled or repurposed goods.  Lately I have lots of small fabric scraps that are generated as I construct my kanzashi hairclips.  I will often use dyer lint.  This makes for a very lightweight temari that can be hung on a Christmas tree.  In the past I have used heavier items such as rice, lentils and birdseed.  Again, these are then wrapped in yarn.  I like make use of the yarn scraps generated by people who knit.  Often when a project is complete there is a little left over, too small to use.  Give them to me!  The yarn layer is completely hidden so the color, style, length do not matter in the construction of the temari.

The yarn wrap is then wrapped in sewing thread.  I love the vibrant and rich colors of sewing thread I have been able to acquire.  These are the foundation for each colorful ball.

Next, the ball is divided mathematically.  I identify a North pole and at half the circumference of the ball, establish the South pole. Divide that number in half, and identify the equator of the ball.  From there, I decide on the number of divisions for that ball.  Next I apply the guidethreads at the established divisions.

I then stitch the designs based on the guidethreads.  Many of the patterns are traditional Japanese designs that have evolved over 100s of years of temari construction.  Others are original designs.

Each ball is colorful and capitvating.  I encourage people to pick them up.  There is something soothing and special about each orb.

The top pic is an origami box filled with scrap thread and fabric that I collect while I work. These will become the centers of new temari. 

The lower pic is an array of the materials used on "Mari Day" when I construct the balls in batches prior to dividing them and stitching on them.  

Stitching each one is a meditation, like making a mandala.

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