Learning Temari

In December, during one of my many excursions to local craft stores, I found a book on temari. They look like colorful balls. I assumed that they were wrapped on styrofoam balls, and I thought they looked like fun.

A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to pick up a book of temari techniques (you’ll notice it listed in the Recent Reads). I placed it on my crafting shelf and left it there for another month. Last week, I picked it up and started reading it. I was surprised. There is much more to temari than wrapping thread, and you don’t actually wrap thread.

To be authentic, you really should make the entire mari (which is Japanese for “ball”). I used an old, clean pair of pantyhose, which rolled nicely into a fist-sized ball. This is covered with wool yarn wrapped “every which way”. I did that part last night with a nice heathered blue from Wool-Ease. The mari is then covered with some inexpensive thread. I opted for a blue pearl cotton, which knotted in a fantastic manner despite how carefully I laid it out before I started wrapping the mari. This the mari’s current state.

Over the next few days, I’ll be setting the equators and pins, and then I’ll be stitching (yes, stitching) an interlocking spindle pattern. I’m doing the entire mari in blues in the hopes that someone might look at this and recognize its practical uses for a LARP I participate in.

Temari are decorative and beautiful, and can be used solely for decoration. However, they were initially designed as a child’s/young adult’s toy. Artisans in the Japanese courts would actually compete to make the most beautiful temari. These balls were then given to the princess to keep her entertained on the journey to her betrothed’s home.

I’m very excited to be learning this craft that has been fun so far. We’ll see what I think of it after setting the equators and stitching the pattern.


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