Oh, hey, look at that! My procrastination about getting this temari set posted to the blog has turned into a bit of fortuitous good timing! How is that, you ask?
1) This is a set of temari I made for one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Bear.* (More about that in a second.)
2) Today is Release Day for her new book, Range of Ghosts!
Sadly, I have not yet gotten my hands on a copy, because this is one of those books I want to own in physical form (who wouldn’t? look at that gorgeous cover!) but my bookshelves don’t like sacrificing extra space for hardcovers.** (Also, I haven’t left the house today. Don’t judge.) Anyway, since I haven’t gotten my own copy yet, I’ve been making do with some reviews from around the internet.
So, the story of this temari set: Back in February, I actually finally sent a fan email to Elizabeth Bear. I had never sent a fan letter to any author via any medium, so I was all dorkily nervous about it. And she replied! Right away! And was super, super nice, and seemed enthusiastic about my offer to make her a temari to show my appreciation.
She said she liked jewel tones best, color-wise, which was very convenient, because I happen to be a jewel tone fan as well. (Are there actually people who aren’t? I can’t imagine this.) Initially, I was going to do one big 32-center purple and magenta labyrinth (ie, HHG, for the temari people) ball, but then I started thinking about it more and my artistic side took over with a much grander vision, and, well, it was a better vision, so I ended up going with that: a set of 3 C10 labyrinth balls, each in a different pair of colors.
To that end, I went down to the needlepoint shop to look through their silk embroidery thread selection. I could have gone with regular perle cotton, as I usually do, and I know they would have still turned out nice, but silk threads, especially in bright colors, just seem to really glow in a way that cotton never does. The silks I ended up with are from Planet Earth Fiber. (Their silk color chart is here, and the names of the colors I used are in the picture if you click to make it big, but as usual, the thumbnail color swatches don’t do them justice.) Now I want to work with silk all the time. It’s so soft!
The other two threads in the picture are what I used for the thread wrap (black) and the marking (gold). I thought I was being all clever with the underlayer thread wrap by using a strand of yellow for contrast, thereby enforcing a good, deep outer layer of black thread to cover any hint of yellow. Unfortunately, I think what ended up happening was I got too zealous about it and with making all the balls feel equally firm in the hand, and the end result was a very tight outer wrap. Fine for one ball, but punishing to the wrist for three balls, hence my reference a few weeks ago to needing to take a break from stitching.
But I really think it was worth it! Look:
After I took pictures and put them in the mail, I realized they probably would have looked better against a not-white background, because I think it kind of bleeds out some of the glowy-ness of the thread. While I was working on these, every time I would walk into the room with my sewing bag, they would make me smile, because seriously, the colors just pop out at you and demand your attention.
One more, because labyrinth balls are really hard to photograph properly, given how the design depends so much on being able to follow the paths all around the three-dimensional shape:
Fortunately, I still have about half a skein each left of these colors, so I am pondering another ambitious project to use them up. It seems that the danger of using nice thread is feeling like I need to do a project worthy of using them.
*The link above is to her official author site. Her LiveJournal is where you go if you want to see adorable pics and video of her dog breeder housemate’s adorable new litter of puppies, and discussions of tea, exercise, gender politics, and, you know, everything. Puppies!
**Of course, if anyone feels like they need to gift me a copy, I always make hardcover exceptions in those cases…