Friday, January 30, 2015

Anyone for Temari? Or perhaps some Quaker Balls?


What's that then?

'Te' means hand and 'mari' means ball and it's the Japanese art of decorating balls with thread. It is a beautiful craft which I dabbled in about 20 years ago when we were coming to the end of renovating our previous home. We had a large woven platter on the dining table and I filled it with lots of large exotic seeds interspersed with knitted/crocheted balls for a splash of colour and that's when I discovered Temari. I made a beautiful ball with a dark brown background and shades of blue on top. I have no idea what happened to it and suspect I gave it to a charity shop when we moved house.

I can remember where I first saw some examples as it was in Foyles bookstore in London as they always stocked interesting and unusual Craft books. This is the book I bought:

There are many beautiful examples some with very complicated designs which are a bit beyond me so I just started with a very basic design to get the hang of it again.

I used a polystyrene ball as my base but you can make a soft ball shaped by moulding old socks/tee shirts etc into shape. The 2 yarns are for wrapping the ball.

First I wrapped it with a 4ply yarn

Then I used a much finer silk yarn to almost completely hide the base yarn. In this example the background yarn will not be covered completely by the surface design but in some examples I've seen the whole ball covered.

I marked out the centre points of the ball and then the quarter points and then just started to stitch using herringbone stitch

Side 1 in progress

I did side 2 in different colours just as an experiment

Tilly was a tremendous help and pounced on my yarn whenever it dangled!

This is the side of the ball still displaying the threads underneath. I like the contrast of the Chinese Bourette Silk of the background against the shiny Perle thread of the pattern

I added a few decorative lines using Anchor Artiste Metallic in pink and silver

In the next 2 photos you can see where my colour inspirations came from - the Dining Room curtains.

I'm thinking of making a display of different balls on one of the sideboards so this was just a test run. It certainly isn't perfect but I'm pleased with it as a 'sampler'. Now I need to have a go at the more complicated designs.

Quaker Balls

I'm not quite sure how I came across a Quaker Ball. I think it was on Pinterest which is such a wonderful place if you're looking for inspiration.

At first I thought they must have been a traditional item produced by the Quakers but further investigation suggests they are just ball shapes embroidered using Quaker style patterns.

I was hooked and sent for the book and kit to make the smallest ball. On reflection I should have opted for the largest ball because my kit uses 40 count Newcastle Linen Flax which means it's very closely woven (the 'count' refers to the number of threads per inch). Not such a good idea bearing in mind I've got poor eyesight!

Never mind, I shall just have to use my handy magnifying glass:

This one belonged to my mum and although I have my own version it seems to have gone awol! It is a very handy gizmo that hangs from a cord around your neck and sits against your ribs. It's ideal for embroidering small items that you don't want to put on a larger floor-standing frame.

This will not be a quick project as I will probably just embroider one side a month.

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