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Temari Ball Basics

Temari Ball Basics
Meadhbh ni Dhubhthaigh

Temari Balls



A brief history:


"There is no known record of when and how Temari (meaning "to wind by hand") originated. It is said that the introduction of Temari came from China during the Nara Period. It was made from deer skin, and used only by high court lords in kickball games. At the same time, court ladies of the noble family began using the beautiful silk threads to carefully and lovingly wind them into decorative balls. They competed with each other in making the most colorful and elaborate patterns. The balls were used in tossing games or as decorative pieces. During the late Helan (Fujiwara) Period (AD 898-1185), it was known as Goten-Mari, and loved and highly valued by the princesses of the noble family.


Temari was handed down from generation to generation, mother to daughter. It gradually spread and became popular also in regional towns where it developed its own techniques, beauty and local color. It is also known as Edo-Temari, Kishu-Temari, Matsumoto-Temari, Kaga-Temari, etc., according to its geographical location and design. Following the Meiji period, rubber balls were introduced and the popularity of Temari gradually declined.


Today this traditional Japanese folk art has been revised and newly devised designs and patterns have been created. With more and more elaborate techniques and refined materials it has become very popular, and has resulted in the formation of many societies for the research of Temari."


(Temari Museum, Tokyo, as quoted on http://www.temarikai.com)


A longer history is available at http://www.temari.com.



Materials required:


A round ball (styrofoam works)

Baby yarn

A spool of cheap sewing thread

Glass- or plastic-headed pins

Metallic thread

Crochet cotton

Large-eyed needle (suggest doll needle)

Basic steps:


Make (or buy) a round ball.

Wrap the ball tightly with yarn.

Wrap the ball tightly with thread.

Mark your divisions with pins (S-4, C-8, etc.)

Add the obi line/guidelines.

Sew the pattern onto the base threads.


Detailed steps:


Make or acquire a more-or-less round ball (styrofoam is good to start with).  IMPORTANT!!!  The ball must be soft enough to pierce with pins.  A golf ball or rubber ball won't work well.


Wrap the ball tightly with fine yarn, such as baby yarn.  Keep going until there is no base (styrofoam or whatever) showing.  Not even a tiny little bit.  IMPORTANT!!!  Keep the ball as round as possible.
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Wrap the ball tightly with thread.  Cheap thread works better than expensive thread.  Keep going until every tiny little bit of the yarn layer is covered.  IMPORTANT!!!  This is the final wrap, so your ball needs to be as round as possible when you finish.  End the thread by running in down under other threads with a needle.

S-4 division:

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Place a pin straight into the ball (it doesn't matter where).  This is your north pole.  Keep the pin at the top of the ball as you're holding it.  Place one end of your paper tape at the pin and wrap the tape around the ball.  Mark the paper tape at the point where it comes back to the pin.

Turn the ball and wrap the paper tape around it again.  If the mark isn't in the same place, adjust the mark.  Your ball may not be perfectly round.  If there are bits that look higher than others, push them into shape with your thumb.


Cut the paper at the mark.  Fold it in half and mark the paper at the half-way point.  Fold in half again and mark each quarter.


Place the paper tape at the pin and wrap it around the ball.  Put a second pin at the halfway point.  Turn the ball, wrap the paper tape again, and check the placement of your second pin.  Adjust if needed.  This is your south pole.

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Working your way around the ball again, place four pins in the ball at quarter-points (the equator).  Try to space them evenly around the ball.           


Check the placement of the pins at the equator by wrapping the paper tape around the equator.  Adjust the pins as needed so every pin is at a mark on the paper (or where the ends meet).

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Cut a piece of metallic thread.  Measure the thread by wrapping it four times around the ball.


Wrap the metallic thread around the equator and in two circles from pole to pole.


Simple S-4 design:


An S-4 division has three obi lines (axes).  This simple design is created by wrapping multiple colors of threads around each obi line.  Interweaving is not required but it is a nice touch.  This is where you want to use good quality yarn.


Choose two colors of crochet cotton.  Don't use the same color as the thread wrap.


Measure a length of one color that is equal to 4 1/2 times the circumference of the ball.


Starting at a point where two obi lines intersect, pull the sewing thread under the thread wrap.  Wrap the sewing thread around the ball, laying the thread right up against the obi line.


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Wrap the thread around the ball again, laying the second round right up against the first round.


When you get back to the beginning the second time, run the needle under the threads you just laid down, and the obi line.  Wrap twice around the ball on the other side of the obi line and end the thread by running it under the wrap.

Do the same on the other two axes.


With the second color, measure a length of yarn 3 1/2 times the circumference of the ball.  Wrap three times around one side of each obi line, laying the threads next to the first color.


Continuing using the second color until there are three lines of the second color on each side of each axis.


With the fist color, wrap once around each side of each obi line, laying the threads next to the first color.

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