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Posts Tagged ‘spindles’

I actually made this temari (quite) a while ago, inspired by the forsythia that were blooming at the time, but they were gone before the temari was finished, and then I kept putting off photographing it until I could get a sprig. Now that spring has finally rolled around again, I remembered!

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(Yes, yes, I know forsythia have four petals, but work with me here. I was experimenting with trying something unique with interweaving offset spindles.)

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Barb just posted about her new maple leaf ball, which she’s doing for Temari Challenge’s fall foliage theme. She’s working on a proper pattern from a Japanese book, and the result is going to be gorgeous, with all kinds of subtle swirls and things in the background. You should go look! She has a series of pictures showing how the maple leaf gets built out of a series of spindles.

Her post reminded me that I never completed (or posted about) my own fall foliage experiments, so here’s my version of the maple leaf. I believe I was looking at the same Japanese book she’s working from for inspiration, but I don’t remember anymore if I took direction from a different pattern, or if I just looked at the pictures for a general idea and then decided to make up my own method. Probably the latter.

Maple leaf experiment

Maple leaf experiment

The main difference between her maple leaf and mine is that hers is built out of 4 spindles, stacked one on top of the other. It looks like her first spindle, the one forming the top point, is modified to have a fatter, shorter bottom end, so it won’t stick out. She then stacks the remaining spindles on top of the first one, which works very well because she’s stitching all the spindles in the same single color.

I, however, decided to use graduated colors, and it seemed like that would make the stacking too obvious. What I ended up doing was first creating a long point and short point through the simple expedient of placing the first spindle off-center. Since it was off-center, though, it couldn’t be layered, so it can be considered stacked, as it is by itself underneath the other three spindles. The other spindles that form the more symmetrically distributed leaf points, though, are all layered, so as to get a kind of radiating effect in the colors from the center out.

Overall, I really like this look! However. The real problem with this technique is that the final row on the last layer just will not stay in place. Even having groomed it carefully before taking this picture, you can see that outermost top-side row on the NW to SE spindle is trying to fall inward. This may indicate that the points on that particular spindle aren’t stretched quite enough to keep the thread from wandering, or it may mean that this technique just isn’t viable without some sort of extra stitching to hold things down.

(Other layered spindle designs add a row of outlining just around the center shape that serves the secondary purpose of tacking everything down, but since the first spindle here isn’t part of the layering, there is no regular shape formed in the center, and I don’t think that method would enhance the look of the leaf at all.)

Anyway, this is certainly a motif I’d like to spend more time experimenting with, because maple leaves are so pretty! Hopefully I’ll find the time to concentrate on it soon.

Happy autumn!

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For my August set of classes, I was teaching my standard beginner trio again: wrapped bands, interwoven spindles, and triwing. I had gotten a little bored of having them all look the same, though, so I decided I would take each of the balls one step up in complication–still using basic skills, but to create a more interesting look.

For the first class, we did wrapped bands on an S4. After I got home, I filled in all of the blank triangles between the bands with swirl stitches. But because I’ve done that before (although apparently I never posted about it…), I also reversed the swirl from clockwise to counter-clockwise in every other triangle, which gives the radiating arcs out from the center a different look.

S4 wrapped bands with alternating CW & CCW swirls

S4 wrapped bands with alternating CW & CCW swirls

The second class was spindles, and for this one, instead of just weaving over and under each half of the spindle as normal, I wove over and under every two threads, creating a sort of basketweave/checkerboard effect in the middle. (There are also starburst pine needle stitches over the obi in the spaces between the spindles, but that wasn’t so interesting that I felt like taking an extra photo of it. But again, one step up.)

Excessively interwoven spindles.

Excessively interwoven spindles

And then the third class was the triwing. For this one, I actually did two triwings layered on top of each other; a small one in green first, to create the leaves, and then a bigger one on the other division lines to create the flower. I added a row of yellow in the center to make the color palette look more like that of an iris. (Note that this is really just a color variation of Barb Suess’s “Trillium” pattern from her first book, Japanese Temari: A Colorful Spin on an Ancient Craft, if you’re looking for directions.)

Iris-colored triwing

Iris-colored triwing

And the whole set together:

The Teacher Likes To Show Off set

The Teacher Likes To Show Off set

Hopefully these offered inspiration for the students to see what they could do with the same basic skills we learned in class, but they may have just ended up being intimidating. I liked doing them, though! The teacher has to keep herself entertained, too, after all.

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One of the other things we have in our yard (really, coming in from our neighbor’s yard) is ivy, which I probably need to go try to kill before it starts attempting to grow up the side of the house, but since it’s there, I cut a bit off and used it as a photo prop, along with an interesting tray I bought a while ago that’s basically perfect for displaying three-temari sets. I think these pictures prove that even the simplest beginner temari designs can look elegant when displayed as sets in the same colors.

Nautical Blues and Greens

Nautical Blues and Greens, with ivy

Nautical Blues and Greens, receding

Nautical Blues and Greens, receding

Corals, receding

Corals (dark side), receding

Corals (light side), with ivy

Corals (light side), with ivy

(Both of these sets are now for sale in my Etsy shop.)

If you’re a temari stitcher yourself, maybe this summer will be a good time to revisit beginner designs and really think about color combinations or ways you’ve learned to refine your technique. This is similar to the practice of karate, really; even as a black belt, I can (and should) go back to the earliest katas and practice them again, applying all the experience I have gained over the years to even the simplest of moves and stances. It’s tempting to always want to do the newest, flashiest, most complicated thing, but returning to the basics is always valuable, and can still result in something impressive in and of themselves.

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