Temari: Christmas Wreath


Merry Christmas! I’m finally posting this year’s Christmas temari, though I technically finished it back before I went up to the Campbell to teach. This year the temari class was scheduled for Christmas Craft Week, and I had a great group of six beginner students. Being up at the folk school for Christmas week was also a great experience!


There were holiday activities all week, including a reading of A Christmas Carol and a performance by the local Morris dance troupe(s).



Back to the temari, though: If you’d like to recreate it for yourself, it’s an inward-stitched S12 kiku in two shades of green with red colonial knots for the berries. (I personally have never had a lot of luck with French knots on temari, but the colonial knot turns out to have the same end result, but uses a more secure method of fixing the thread around the needle before pulling through to form the knot.)


The obi gets its plaid-like look from doing two rounds of decorative herringbone overstitching, rather than just one. (To be honest, the obi only got this ornate because I was procrastinating doing the knots, but I like the end result!)


Temari: Rubik’s Cube

I finally finished a temari I started over the summer! This one started because I saw a very cute pattern for a crocheted Rubik’s cube, but when I thought back to my last attempt at crochet, I decided it would probably actually be easier for me to make up a temari pattern for it on the fly instead. (I appear to be one of those people who can knit but not crochet, alas. It’s fine; I don’t have time for another hobby anyway. *gazes sadly at all the cute amigurumi animals I can’t make*)

The completed Rubik's cube temari staged with other children's toys
Completed Rubik’s cube temari

The reason it took me so long to finish is that I wasn’t satisfied with just stitching big flat squares and then running dividing lines over the top. Oh, no, I wanted the individual faces within each color block to have dimension! This meant I ended up using doubled thread (not my favorite) and a back-and-forth hatchwork that resulted in a lot of thread build-up at the edges of each color block.

Rubik's cube temari in progress
Rubik’s cube temari in progress

I did a lot of the color stitching in the car on the way to Michigan and back, and let me tell you, there were blisters on both the pad of my thumb and the side of my forefinger from trying to force the needle through all that thread for the final rows. Worth it? Probably, but I’m definitely not doing a repeat of this pattern.

The edge frames were also challenging because the anchoring stitches needed to be taken down in the valley between each of these built-up color faces, but fortunately I did all of that after I got home and found my jewelry pliers to help pull the needle through. (It’s really not a good sign when you have to get out pliers for temari stitching. I definitely recommend anyone else interested in doing this pattern consider going the big solid squares of color route.)

Completed temari: yellow, orange, and green faces
Completed temari: red, white, and blue faces
Completed temari: red face straight on

Temari: Baseball Season

I am reliably informed there is important-ish post-season baseballing going on right now, which I have clearly not been paying any attention to this year, but it did remind me that I never posted these two baseball-themed temari I made for some friends who are big Houston Astros fans.


The background of the C8 interwoven bands ball really is navy in person, as per Astros colors, it just always photographs as black. The C8 asa no ha isn’t necessarily baseball-y in and of itself, but the red stitching-on-white worked with the theme, and with the C8 pattern class series I was teaching at the time. (As I recall, I had vague plans to also do one in green with white squares around the corner intersections to somehow evoke a baseball diamond, but the design never quite coalesced.)


Temari: Emerald Isle

Been a while since I posted a temari! This is one I did as a test pattern for Barb and only finished to the point of being able to see what it would look like finished on one side before I got distracted by other things. But I was looking for something to work on while watching TV last weekend and found it waiting patiently in my WIP bin.


Emerald Isle is one of the “Challenge Designs” from Barb Suess’s Temari Techniques (pg. 153), featuring a C10 marking, solid hexagons, continuous triwings, and layered kiku herringbones.

Illuminated Letters

One of the perks of teaching for the folk school is getting to take a free class for yourself later that year, which I finally got to do this past week. I signed up for a calligraphy class on illuminated letter decoration and gilding. The emphasis was very much on the decorative patterns and learning to use a variety of media for color application, rather than actual letter forms, so it was open to people of all levels, which is good, because I haven’t practiced any actual calligraphic writing in forever.

Things I learned: Celtic knotwork is a fun brain puzzle, I have apparently been drawing Gothic ivy leaf vines all my life without knowing it was an Official Calligraphy Technique, and laying gold foil is way easier than laying real gold leaf.

Media used: Microns, gel pens, fine-tipped felt pens, brush pens, watercolor pencils, gouache, gold foil, gold leaf.

Also, I realized I hadn’t been at the Campbell in the spring before, as the temari class is usually held in the fall, and while we did have a lot of rain, it was also very, very green.


Art in Bloom 2019

We went to Art in Bloom again this year, once again conveniently scheduled around my birthday! I posted a few of preliminary pictures off my phone on Twitter, but here’s the full set of “best of” pictures from both my real camera and my phone. (We went on Saturday this time, which meant peak crowding, alas, but I still managed some decent shots.)

Do you have a favorite? Mine was the next-to-last one, the modern painting with all the stripes, which was, amusingly, directly across from the painting that was paired with my favorite floral interpretation last year.