Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Temari Ball # 1

rjf | Posted in Photo Gallery on

Here’s the good side of a temari ball.  They’re fun to make and don’t take too long.  I think if I do a few more, I’ll be able to invent my own but the book certainly has enough patterns if that doesn’t happen.  Choosing the colors is the best part and it uses up lots of ends from weaving.      rjf



  1. FitnessNut | | #1

    AMAZING!!!! Is that your first effort?


    1. rjf | | #2

      I'm glad you like it.  I showed the second side since the first side wasn't too great so I guess it's really the second one.  And it doesn't take forever which is nice.     rjf

  2. Marion6422 | | #3

    That's marvelous, rjf! You look like an expert already. I've made eight in the last few months and gave away 6 as Christmas ornaments. I've never attached a photo on gatherings,  but I'll give it a try.  This is a photo of the first 4 that I made, and I displayed them as a table decoration with a "Galileo" thermometer.

    1. FitnessNut | | #4

      The talent of you ladies just blows me away!

      Are they difficult at all to make? I can see these as amazing Christmas ornaments. Obviously, I NEED yet another hobby!


    2. rjf | | #5

      Gorgeous!  They are really beautiful and so perfect.  I especially like the rainbowy one in the front.  They make very good partners with the thermometer.  Do you wrap with yarn and thread (from the temarikai site) or just thread which is what my book says to do?  I think that maybe yarn and thread would make it easy to pick up the stitches and they might also stay in place better.     rjf

      Edited 12/31/2003 8:25:25 AM ET by rjf

      1. Marion6422 | | #6

        Thanks for your kind words.  Mine are certainly not perfect and I, too, display them with the best side up, and have to hide a spot of blood on one of them that I didn't see until it had dried.

        I like a lot of padding so I don't have to go through the styrofoam when the needle goes from one pattern to the next. I usually start with a 3 inch styrofoam ball, wrap with 2 thin layers of fleece shaped like the cover on a baseball (four pieces all together), wrap with leftover worsted weight yarn, then with thread from a cone. I made a smaller one from an old pair of support panty hose wadded up and was amazed to watch it become round as I wrapped with yarn and thread.  Didn't use fleece on that one.   

        1. rjf | | #7

          I love that one!  Great colors!  Last evening I tried worsted weight yarn and then sewing thread but it really didn't look as if it would "unlump" so I unwound and started again with just sewing thread.  The fleece idea sounds good and I have lots of scraps.  You do mean polar fleece, yes?  What do you use for metallic thread?  What I have is thin sewing thread and I use it two strands at a time.  It's not as easy to use as the perle cotton but I didn't want to invest in more materials if it wasn't going to be any better.    rjf

        2. rjf | | #8

          Okay!  I've been thinking about this ball all morning and looked through my book four or five times and can't find anything like it.  It looks as if it were wrapped rather than stitched but I can't see how all three bands go both under AND over the other two bands.  It's so beautiful I hope you will tell me where I can find the pattern.    rjf

          1. Marion6422 | | #9

            I'm pretty sure the three color wrapped design came from a book I got at the library: Temari Adventures by Diane Vandervoort. The red was wrapped first, the green then wrapped over it and the purple was partially wrapped then stitched under the red at the appropriate places. It took me a while to figure out just where to do the stitching-under but once I figured that out, it went well and I think it was my favorite. This was the pantyhose based ball and I found it the easiest of all I've made to stitch through.

            I'm sure polar fleece scraps would be perfect to use over styrofoam.  I used scraps I already had which was a needle-punched iron-on fleece. I didn't use the iron-on feature at all and it didn't seem to interfer. The metallic thread I like, and I'll have to say I've used only two kinds since I'm just a beginner, is DMC Metallic Pearl #5.  It's more tightly twisted than the other kind I used and the strands don't seem to come apart and get hung up as I stitch like the other one did, whose name I've forgotten.

            For me, the secret to getting a fairly round ball is to start with a maleable base, like panty hose balled up, or styrofoam well padded with fleece (or rice hulls in a piece of plastic, which I've heard recommended but haven't used myself), and then being very careful when wrapping with yarn and thread to turn the ball one quarter of a turn on the bias with each wrap, going straight from back from front with the yarn/thread. If I notice any bulges, I push them down with my thumb and sometimes roll the ball around on a hard surface with some pressure from my hand. I wrap with yarn until I can't see the fleece any more and with thread until the yarn disappears.

            I do hope you enjoy temari and permanently add this hobby to your many other ones.

          2. rjf | | #10

            Thank you for the information.  My library will get books on interlibrary loan and I'm hoping it's somewhere in the system.  DMC metallic perle is what I had in my hand the other day and then put back.  Aaargh!  Most of the supplies I need are 20 miles away although as a weaver, there are usually perle cotton leftovers if I'm not looking for a special color.  I've finished a second one and started a third with 4 centers.  You know that saying "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"?  Now I'm daring to disagree with the author of my book...I think her math is faulty  so it will be interesting to see how this next one comes out.        rjf

          3. Marion6422 | | #11

            This is getting way off the subject, but I would like to congratulate you on having the self confidence to disagree “in public" with one who appears to be at least somewhat of an expert, since she wrote a book on the subject. Maybe you'll get some supporting and informative feedback from others who have read the book and also dispute the math.  Some time ago, I was reading a book about pants fitting and found the only reference I have ever run across about how to modify a pattern for knock knees.  The reference said to do the exact opposite to what I thought had to be done. If I had mentioned this on “gatherings,”  maybe somebody would have agreed with me and explained how they do it, or else set me straight and explained more about how to do it the book’s way.  Now I don't remember what book it was.

          4. JeanetteR | | #12

            Happy New Year everyone!

            I've tried all sorts of metallic threads for temari and the one that's been most successful for me is 'Au Papillon' Fil D'or de Luxe (made in Greece) in a bronze gold.  The colour goes with everything and it is a strong fine 2-ply cord.  The silvers in this range are 3-ply and for some reason not as strong.  It has been great fun teaching temari in 2003, can't post pictures as they're all in the shop window or given away, as you do!

          5. rjf | | #13

            I've joined both a knitting and a weaving group in past two years and we've had lots of workshops given by people who "know".  Maybe we've been lucky but not one of our speakers spoke words written in stone.  If we asked questions or suggested another way, they seriously considered our comments.  Really good dialogues with no one needing to right.  So I hope I haven't stepped on toes with my comment.  I'd be happy to hear what others think. (Maybe)     I went to the library yesterday and they found 3 books by Dianne Vandervoort in the system and they will be here next week, I hope.    rjf

            Edited 1/3/2004 9:13:55 AM ET by rjf

          6. Marion6422 | | #14

            Re: "... I'd be happy to hear what others think. (Maybe)."  I love your sense of humor!  I'm sure you didn't step on any toes at all.  You are always very kind with your comments.

            About the math in Anna Diamond's book, there is a discussion group called "talktemari" in Yahoo Groups that is incredibly active.  There were three messages just yesterday about her math or instructions: message numbers 12512, 12513, and 12517. You can find out about how to join the group from the temarikai.com site if you click on the "Join In" button on the left side.

          7. rjf | | #15

            After great effort I managed to get into talktemari and read the messages you told me about.  I guess it was a project that appealed to many people.  Too bad it was so hard to figure out.  Maybe "is so hard" is more appropriate because I'm still working on it.  I've pulled out a lot of thread.  Minor breakthrough however!  It said to follow the directions for finishing ball 1 but the picture of the one I was working on didn't look anything like the first ball and I finally noticed that!  Dumb.  So I'm going to try to invent one for myself.  I didn't have time to look at many of the pictures but the few I saw were great and I'll go back again.  Thanks for the push in the right direction.    And I promise to take down the Christmas tree just as soon as I finish this one.  I really, really will.     rjf

          8. carolfresia | | #16

            All the temari balls look wonderful! And why would you take down the Christmas tree when you're still making ornaments? Don't you need to try them on?

            But seriously, I will take down my tree this weekend, too. First, though, I have to figure out where to put all the toys that are being "stored" under its branches. Barbie needs a garage for her new pink Mustang!


          9. rjf | | #17

            Well, my library found three books by Diane and I picked them up yesterday.  I spent the whole day on the sofa reading because they were so beautiful.  She writes great directions.  BUT not one of the three was "Temari Adventures" so I didn't get directions for your wrapped ball but several of the ones I saw seemed to use the same technique.  I took a finished ball to show the lady who checks out the books and then she took me to the reference librarian who now wants to try it.  When the books came in, they were intrigued with them and seeing an example helped.  I'm finding talktemari very interesting.  Thanks for letting me know about it.    rjf

          10. carolfresia | | #18

            So temari is contagious, huh? Take two styrofoam balls before bed with a spool of thread.


          11. rjf | | #19

            Well, I need more than two!  Sitting on the edge of the chair complusively pushing that needle through thread and styrofoam really has done in my back.  I'm spending a lot of time lying on the sofa watching Asian ladies play billiards.  Not a good substitute but the best I could find.      rjf

          12. carolfresia | | #20

            I didn't realize there was such a thing as a temari-related injury. OK, so you need to put those styrofoam balls into a sock and roll them over your back.


          13. CTI | | #21

            "I didn't realize there was such a thing as a temari-related injury. OK, so you need to put those styrofoam balls into a sock and roll them over your back."

            Good one! Hey, players often get injuries related to ball playing activities ;/

            This is one hobby I will admire with awe rather than attempt as I've done a fake type, meaning no idea of what to do or use, and it reflected my lack of ability. There is a definite limit to abilities that come easily to me.

            Thanks for the word for it! Temari is a new word for me.

          14. rjf | | #22

            I'm happy to report that my back is temporarily better. (I'm afraid to say more than that)  I got so bored not moving that I stood up for 2 hours making my styrofoam ball a light blue polar fleece jacket (it looked like a fuzzy blue softball) and then I wrapped it in sports-weight alpaca yarn and after that, a final coat of light blue sewing thread.  Tomorrow, if the back cooperates, I'll start a new pattern called Merry-go-Round.  Sometimes the names are very fitting and other times, not so good.  I'll post a picture when it's done and you can decide.       rjf

          15. Marion6422 | | #23

            I just found out that our library system (Montgomery County, MD) participates in an Interlibrary Loan System and there's a web site for searching even out of state for books you want.  Too bad I didn't find this out sooner -- I had just ordered Anna Diamond's book from Jo Ann's.  Maybe your library participates in it, too.

          16. rjf | | #24

            I don't know if our library does out-of-state but I'll find out next time I go there.  Anna Diamond's book has some great looking patterns but her technique and directions are not as good as Diana V.'s.  You probably have enough experience to put the two together and get a great temari.  I'm going to scrounge #5 perle cotton at my next weavers' meeting.  That's a favorite thread for weaving and I'm hoping there are some members who have 8-10 yards of left overs to contribute to temari.  When the pattarns call for 17 colors, it begins to get expensive.  When I started weaving, I made a table runner and ran out of one color.  Unfortunately, so did the local Michael's but I found the yarnbarn online and they were very speedy in sending me what I needed.  I may go back to that site and see what they have.  Especially the metallics since I don't think I'm using the right kind.  My loom is getting lonely.   rjf

          17. Marion6422 | | #25

            Please, please don't tell me how much you enjoy weaving.  I keep telling myself I don't have room for any more hobbies.  The temari I just couldn't resist and I figured I could keep all supplies for that in a tote bag, which I can manage room for. So far, since I just got started a few months ago, that has worked out. I just ordered another of Dianne's  book that I haven't seen from an out-of-county library -- Temari Treasures. I want to try the interlocking diamonds shown on the front cover.

          18. rjf | | #26

            The library is looking for Temari Adventures and they will go out-of-state.  I've got the Traditions book on loan now and those diamonds are interesting.  There's another one called Square Dance that I like but I'm doing one called Merry-go-Round from the first book.  She's changed her technique for wrapping the ball in batting in the Traditions book.  It looks like a softball cover and seems easy to do.  I used polar fleece and wrapped in yarn and then thread.  It's the first one I've done that to and it makes stitching much easier but I think my ball is not so perfectly round now.  You win some, you lose some.   Weaving shares some things with temari.  The preparation time is much longer than you expect and the actual weaving or stitching goes fast.                 rjf

          19. carolfresia | | #27

            It seems a shame to cover up the alpaca layer...but whatever it takes! This sounds like a great topic for a class for your weaving guild.

            Time to go out and brave the very cold temperatures here. Have a good weekend, all,


          20. rjf | | #28

            Do you get your thread at Joann's?  Or have you found another place?  Joann's is a twenty mile drive for me and I was hoping to find a place on the web.  There seem to be several but  the prices are a little high and the postage not too cheap either.  What metallic stuff do you use?  They talk about cords and braids and fine and floss.....I have no clue!       rjf

          21. Marion6422 | | #29

            I'm pretty sure I got the gold metallic thread I use for temari (DMC 5 Perle Metalisse 5287) at AC Moore, although I think I've seen it at Michael's.  I don't know about Jo Ann's.  The one near me doesn't have a lot of embroidery threads, but I may be confusing it with Hancock's  I tell you, it's a hardship to remember who has what around here when there's so much to choose from.  Did I mention I live on the same street as G St. Fabrics? Seriously though, I'm having lunch Sun. with an expert temariist, and I hope to find out more about metallic threads and where to get them, because this one I'm using leaves a lot to be desired. I've learned to manage it better by Stay-Fraying both ends before cutting it but it still wants to untwist as it's pulled through the mari.  Incidentally, don't confuse this one with the DMC Mouline Metallica, which looks gorgeous all sealed up in its closely fitting transparent envelope. As soon as you open it, the end frays out for about three inches and when I used it, I ended up having to pull each of its 7 strands through each stitch separately to get them even. I'll let you know what I find out Sun.

            What all have you done?

          22. rjf | | #30

            I've been using something called mouline metallic, a DMC thread.  It has twelve strands which seem to split into 6 pairs.  One pair seems to work when the pattern calls for fine stuff but I've had the same problem you report when I use 3 pairs together for marking guidelines.  My weaving group met Saturday and I got lots of perle cotton from them.  Little balls of all different colors and one huge cone of peach.  I could weave a whole blanket from that one cone, I think.  I've finished 3 balls from Anna Diamond's book and one from Diana's called Merry-go-round.  The color scheme is good but marking 16 sections around the obi left something to be desired.  Now I'm working on Garland of Ribbons and that's going better.  This one has 18 sections but for some reason, it seemed easier to mark evenly (practice makes perfect?)  It has a 1.5 inch band around the middle which she said to cut from tissue or rice paper and then you sew over it.  I didn't have rice paper and tissue didn't seem strong enough so I used a dryer sheet and it seems to be working okay.  For the last "ribbon", you have to weave under the previous work and I guess that's why it's lined with tissue.  I'm envying you your chance to talk with someone who knows what she's doing.  Please let me know what you learn!

            G Street fabrics has been mentioned often on this site.  My youngest daughter lives in Baltimore and if her dog would let us in her house, maybe we could visit and she would take me there.  When I get to a place like Web's, the amount of stuff to choose from is overwhelming and I never get all I need but I do get stuff I didn't plan on.  And lists don't help!  I've taken to filling up the basement because if I put anything more in the attic, I'm afraid it will collapse!    rjf

          23. Marion6422 | | #31

            Do let me know if you can come to this area to visit. Maybe I could arrange to have the expert temariist meet again and with both of us this time. You sound like you're coming right along on your own  Any more photos? -- Marion

          24. rjf | | #32

            I'll post the one I'm working on when it's done...if I can corral my husband long enough.  Yesterday was a banner day.  I discovered a quilt shop in the town next door, Tala's quilt shop and not only does she carry DMC perle cotton but she will order the colors I want.  It was so exciting to find this place so close and I didn't even know it existed until this weekend but it's such a great store with great people.  They were part of quilt shop tour this past month and that was something I hadn't heard of.  Quilters get on a bus and visit 9 or 10 shops on a 3-day weekend, getting their passports stamped at each shop and putting their names in for a grand prize drawing.  Sounds like fun if you're into quilting!  Tala's shop got voted one of the best shops in the country and will be featured in Better Homes and Gardens? Or was it the other one of those magazines?  We spent half an hour looking through her order books for metallic thread and then I asked about perle cotton.  She pointed across the shop and there were two baskets full of skeins, looking like a huge floppy flower.  Heaven!  So I'm going to make a list of colors and go back with a sample so they can see what I'm talking about.  But I still haven't quite solved the metallic thread problem.  I thought of you yesterday when I was struggling to get the dumb stuff to go through smoothly and lie flat.  Maybe a small curved upholstery needle would work.         rjf

          25. Marion6422 | | #35

            How lucky to find the quilting shop with perle cotton.  Maybe they will know about a couple of the metallic threads that I have heard about but have not been able to locate.  On TalkTemari, several times I have heard people say they use "YLI Candlelight" and another one mentioned was "Rainbow Galleries Nordic Gold". I will ask my expert about them Sun. -- if it doesn't snow and we have to postpone again. I don't know about the rest of the country, but around here just a hint of snow throws everybody into a panic and justifiably so. A couple of weeks ago we had three quarters of an inch of snow and the TV screens and newspapers were filled with photos of cars sliding sideways down hills at 5 miles per hour. I was home sick with the flu so was spared that ordeal. -- Marion

          26. carolfresia | | #36

            Take a look at http://www.uncommonthread.com. They carry YLI Candlelight and a whole lot more.


          27. rjf | | #39

            Thanks for the link.     rjf

          28. rjf | | #37

            I'm smiling at your snow story.  When my daughter moved there, she was appalled because they cancelled school at the merest hint of snow.  She grew up with snow all winter so she was used to it.  Maybe if she drove instead of taking busses, she feel differently.  Everyone here has snow tires and that sort of helps.  We have a theory that you have to be crazy to drive in snow and so they drive crazily.  Pulling out in front of you and then going 5 miles an hour.  Interesting.  I'm so glad to hear about the Candlelight thread because that was what I thought would work out of all the zillions I saw in the catalog.  I'll feel safe now in ordering.  I don't remember seeing the other one but yesterday I got samples from one the weavers that looks very good and I'll try it today.  It's one strand that looks as if it were wound, quite regular, a little wiry (sp?) and a little stiff.  She didn't say what the name was; sometimes if it's a cone, the label gets lost.  I'm going to cry when I have to take the books back to the library.....maybe I'll get my husband to find some on Ebay or amazon.  He likes to do that.   Hope you get to see the expert this weekend.  How did you meet her?       rjf

          29. rjf | | #38

            Here are two views of the latest temari, Garland of Ribbons.  I took some liberties with color and design but I like the result.  I hope it comes through clearly so you can see the threads.     rjf

          30. FitnessNut | | #40

            All I can say is....WOW!!!!!


          31. Marion6422 | | #41

            I can't believe you're doing such a complicated pattern as that Garland of Ribbons already and taking liberties with the design no less! It is absolutely beautiful! I haven't seen any photos like that one before. Which book has that pattern and I'd love to know what the liberties were, if you don't mind sharing. I'm not experienced enough to figure out how it was done and just have to try it for myself.  You have such a wonderful sense of color and your marking and stitching look perfect. What type of threads did you use on it?

            I made contact with my "expert temariist" through Talktemari. Someone else had asked if there other practitioners in the DC area and she answered and said she teaches it.

          32. rjf | | #42

            I'm glad you like it, thank you.  The pattern came from Diana V.'s "Temari, How to Make Temari Thread Balls"  or something like that.  It's her first one, I think.  It reminded me of the one you posted and I'm still waiting to see if the library can locate that book for me.  I think for yours, you went under some wrapping when you did the last color and mine has a similar part: the silver banded light blue that goes over and under.  In the book the wrapping was pale pink with fine silver thread in what are purple sections on mine.  She has crisscross marking silver going up the remaining plain sections.  I just did a little star stuff because the contrast of lots of silver against the dark blue drew your eye away from the band.  That's not taking too much liberty.  Stay warm.      rjf

          33. rjf | | #43

            I heard you were having freezing rain on the weekend....aaargh.  Did you have to cancel your meeting with the expert?  I hope not.  I'm working on one with 6 centers, wrapped bands and interlocking triangles.  The author (Anna Diamond) said it looked intricate but was actually easy but authors often have a different sense of what's easy and what's hard, don't you think?  It's still getting the ball marked accurately, I've decided, and mine still look a little lopsided.  Oh well, I can't play golf  and this is a great substitute.        rjf

          34. Marion6422 | | #44

            I'm sending you all the details privately since I'll be rambling on and on. -- Marion

        3. rjf | | #45

          Marion, I'm about to undo the first color wrap of the one I started yesterday.  It's the pattern you used on the message I'm replying to.  Two, maybe two, mistakes:  I didn't pay attention to the size of the ball and started on a 3" ball so I went out and got two inchers this morning but the other (maybe) mistake is that  I stitched through the wrap at the keeper pins with gold and then it occurred to me that I needed to go under those stitches with the last color and I don't see how I can do that if I've stitched into the wrap at that point.  I can't tell from your picture just what you did at that point and the directions are a little vague.  Any hints for me?   It looks pretty good so far and I don't want to mess up.  rjf 

          1. Marion6422 | | #46

            For the tri-color ball, don't worry about stitching through at the keeper pins. You really have to do that.  When you get around to the last wrap that goes underneath, you won't be weaving under but stitching under and your needle will go deep before it exits. The base I used for this ball was a wadded up pair of old support panty hose because I didn't have a styrofoam ball that size. It ended up being 7 5/8 in. in circumference. Sorry I didn't check my e-mail before this today.  You're probably completely finished at this point. If not and you have more questions, please ask.

    3. Helene | | #33

      Loved your picture--- what is a temari ball?

      1. Marion6422 | | #34

        Temari is a very old, very addictive Japanese craft of embroidery on thread-wrapped balls, which can start out as anything from a styrofoam sphere to balled-up panty hose.  Not only do you create something beautiful from next to nothing, but the most intriguing aspect to me is to find secondary patterns emerging all by themselves, so to speak, as you are working on the main pattern. There is a marvelous site that has lots of photos showing what can be done, as well as directions for how to do it:  http://www.temarikai.com -- Marion

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All