Posts Tagged ‘temari’


One of the things Mark and I did on our impromptu trip to San Francisco in October was go to a consultation for him to get a new tattoo. It was something he’d been talking about doing for years, but hadn’t found any artists nearby that made him want to do anything about it, so since we’d found ourselves in SF anyway with no definite plans for our time, I suggested we see if there was anyone there with a style he liked.

Which is how we ended up going for a consultation appointment with Michael at Black & Blue Tattoo. He didn’t have time to get started on it that day, since he hadn’t had time to work on a sketch or anything and what Mark wanted was fairly specific (and big), so Mark scheduled a time to come back in November to get the linework done, and then in December to do the color.

During all this, of course, Mark asked if I wanted to get one as well, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was over the aversion to doing anything permanent. In looking through the portfolios of the other artists at the shop, I found Sid‘s amazing fine-line work and realized he was someone who could actually turn temari designs into clear tattoos. I emailed him about it after we got home, including a bunch of reference photos and diagrams, and he was both enthusiastic and able to schedule me for the same day Mark was flying back to SF for his linework.

I waited until now to post about it so I would have a picture of Mark’s completed colors, too, but here’s what we ended up with:

Just look at how clear that swirl temari ended up! And the shading on the kiku and asa no ha ones!

Amusing notes from my tattoo experience:

The first thing Sid said to me (after the usual greeting stuff) was, “You have such good skin for tattoos!” I always knew being this pale had to be good for something.

Sid, who is from Brazil, had been talking to me during the tattoo about how he still doesn’t think his English is very perfect, but when the artist at the station next to his came over to check the progress on my design and said, “Sid, man, I don’t know how you do it!”, he immediately replied, “Well, you see, we use needles and ink…” Sarcasm is definitely a sign of fluency, so I don’t think he has anything to worry about.

Also from the guy at the next station, upon learning this was my first tattoo: “Wow, you decided to go big for your first one!” Which I guess is a matter of perspective? They couldn’t have been any smaller and still showed the right amount of detail, and compared to what Mark was getting, this felt pretty restrained. The inside of my left forearm is also an interestingly obvious-but-not placement, since I’m right-handed. The person who most often sees my tattoo is me.

Anyway, we’re both pleased with the results, and it was definitely worth having to fly back to CA to get them.

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Temari: Monet Swirls

The other ball I finished while teaching at the folk school last week was another swirl ball, since I always end up teaching swirl. Once students see an example of it, they can’t resist. This time, just for a bit of a change, I did the hexagons in purple (what a shock, I know) and the squares in a coordinating variegated blue/pink/purple thread that reminded me of hydrangeas and Monet’s water lilies series.


Bonus pictures: Some of the inspiration I was thinking of when picking colors.

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Temari: Field of Flowers

While teaching at the folk school last week, I finally, finally, finally finished the 122-faces ball I’ve been working on (sporadically) for the past two years.


This ball has been the bane of my stitching bag for what feels like forever, so I’m greatly relieved to have it done. My first multi to break 100 faces, and my first finished one above a 42, as I think I have a 92 languishing half-finished somewhere around here. People who do high multis exclusively have my extremely exhausted respect. (Of course, I know if I did more of them, the division process wouldn’t seem so arduous anymore, and that’s really what my next goal should be, but I think I’ll drop back down to marking a nice, normal 32 again for my next new project.)

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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!


(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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Temari: Christmas Quilt

I actually made this temari last year and have been saving it to post this holiday season. This one is done entirely by wrapping the thread around the ball in a specific pattern, as opposed to stitching, so the making process involves a lot of pins to hold everything in place until the end. But the final result is nice, so it’s worth it!p1020638

Pictured here with one of the Santa Clauses I inherited from my grandmother’s collection.


Merry Christmas!


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I’ve always liked stained glass designs, so when our Campbell students started asking about how to do the rose garden temari pattern last month, I decided to finally do one in stained glass colors, the way I’d been meaning to for probably years. I think I need to play with this concept even more, because I really like how it came out just on a simple 8.



And then I had the bright idea to stage a shot with the little stained glass hummingbird I bought in the gift shop this time, which led to a hilarious extended photo session with me trying to hold the hummingbird above the temari by its invisible fishing line with my right hand and the camera in my left hand, just waiting for the hummingbird to stop spinning long enough to take a picture with it at least briefly at the right angle… How I suffer for this blog.


Not the most elegant temari shot I’ve ever staged, but not bad for having to take all the pictures with my off hand. I was amused, in any case, and later I managed to get both the ball and the hummingbird arranged on the same ornament stand, so now I can continue to enjoy them without making my arm sore.

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Temari: The Cake Is a Lie

I’ve been working on this particular temari for a really long time, and I’m excited it’s finally done!


(Yes, I really did bake a cake just to use as a photo prop.)

This started as a challenge from a friend to do a ball based on the Portal video game (hopefully you could tell), with the idea of making the two halves of the ball represent the two halves of the portal. The swirl stitch seemed like the most obvious way to create a portal-y pattern, but really does not lend itself easily to being divided in half.

The solution I eventually landed on was to use a C10 division, which does have lines that continue all the way around the ball, and use the small triangle faces instead of the more usual pentagons. To color-divide the ball, I put one line of blue and orange around the equator, then traced over the scrap thread C10 lines already on the ball with the appropriate color. The scrap thread all got cut off at the end. (If you try this, be sure to tack your scrap thread with your base wrap color and save yourself some time.) The only downside to this color-division technique that I found is that the outlines of the triangles can get a little loose, since they’re not actually held taut by traveling all the way around the ball. Be sure to anchor firmly!

Originally I was going to swirl clockwise on all the blue triangles and counter-clockwise for all the orange ones, but it turns out the triangles are too small to build a satisfactory swirl on their own, so I started over and went with alternating CW/CCW triangles, which make those nice fan shapes. It’s a little more of a fractured look than I was originally thinking of, but using the portals can be kind of disorienting (and someone posted a video of their character trapping herself intentionally inside an infinity-looped portal that was awesomely glitchy), so I figure it still works.

Process photos:

Anyway, this temari was a cool puzzle to figure out. It’s probably the most technical fiddling I’ve ever done with a design, and there were no examples to go off of, so I’m pretty proud of it. (I don’t want to swirl again for a while, though. There are a lot of triangles on this ball.)

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