Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The holiday season in the US is a bit darker, a bit sadder this year as we try to understand and cope with the tragic shooting a week ago. Whatever your faith, I'm sure your celebrations are softer and quieter. We'll all hold our loved ones a bit closer and a bit longer this year. I've been stitching a lot this week and that always brings me comfort and calm. I had planned to stitch all white temari this year and it seems fitting to continue. I find the subtle sheen of the pearl cotton and the little sparkle of thin gold metallic just charming.

2012 was another wonderful year for sharing temari. I love seeing  the temari displays, events, classes, and stitching group photos sent to me by temari friends all over the world. Thank you for your support throughout the year!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peace on Earth, a prayer

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Taking a holiday break

Happy Holidays, everyone!

My little temari shop will be closed from December 15, 2012, until January 15, 2013.

Many of the temari will be given away or sold over the break. So, please order now if you see any that you’d like to purchase. I will continue to have lots of books and supplies.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vintage Temari and Cranes

I love collecting vintage temari that I find on eBay.  Here is one that I recently purchased because I have not seen the details of the crane's body on a temari before. I know how to wrap threads to get the effect of the wings but have a look at the detail of the head, body and legs. All photos of this temari were taken by the seller.

You really get the full effect of a crane with its wings spread. I experienced this close-up when we visited the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin last month. I was wearing dark grey pants and a black jacket with a red turtle neck shirt peeking out (that's me on the right). One of the cranes strutted over to the fence where I stood and went into a full display squawking like crazy with wings spread up and out. He thought I was a crane. Before we entered, a staff member told us not to interact with the cranes so I stood still and just giggled. Couldn't help that!

This temari feels very hard and has small indentations at the poles so I'm fairly certain it was wrapped by machine. I've got some smaller ones made the same way. The body details are glued in place and are made of thin cord.

The body itself seems to be a piece of fuzzy fabric.

The addition of a formal knot and 8 inch long red and white tassels make for a stunning work of fiber art.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Moments of zen working on a new online class

Night fades to a calm, glassy river in the morning.

Beginner to intermediate class coming in 2013.

Desert Spirit with adaptations for Christmas Spirit and Water Spirit.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Need thread?

I need more metallic thread. Do you?

This is an opportunity for you to get your hands on 300 yard spools of thread from Rainbow Gallery. I need thread ASAP and will place the order on Monday morning at 9AM Eastern time, November 19. If you would like me to order cones for you, please contact me ( and let me know what you would like. I will figure the postage and send you an invoice. I am not ordering individual cards at this time.

Nordic Gold (any color) $19.50 per 300 yard spool

Treasure Braid Petite (any color) $23.75

Note that Treasure Braid Petite shimmer colors and white pearl are slightly higher in price.

If you see any other thread on their website that you'd like to order in the bulk size, let me know and I will ask them about the price.

Etsy gift cards now available

I love! It's so easy to set up a shop and they are constantly improving and adding new features.

Here is a link to my temari shop there:

To purchase a gift card:

I've cleaned out and tuned up the listings. They have a feature now so you can pay for your item directly through the site. No need to go through PayPal any more although you can if you'd prefer. The new feature that I love is the ability to create a gift card when you check out. I hope you'll check it out!

I've stitched many temari for books.
Now they are for sale in the shop.

Kimekomi hand ball by Barbara B. Suess
Kimekomi hand ball by Barbara B. Suess

If you missed the class, you can purchase the DVD.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

We've come a long way baby!

Yes, we've come a long way! Last weekend, one of the best temari stitchers in the US (I say this with prejudice since she's a "bestie" and I promise that it's SO TRUE) participated in Whidbey Weavers Guild Annual Show and Sale.

Kathy Hewitt of Tacoma and Whidbey Island, Washington, spent weeks gathering her temari, packaging and pricing them for the sale. It was a lot of hard work and since this was the first show of this sort for her, she was a bit worried about it going well.

She was highly successful! Who wouldn't want one of her gorgeous creations? Sales were fantastic and she was excited to be able to introduce temari to so many like-minded artists. One of the best things about a show like this is being able to share your passion with so many interested people. Kathy said she talked so much, her voice was strained and her mouth dry. She made a lot of contacts for the future and I bet her classes will be filled with happy students. She is, after all, certified by the Japan Temari Association in Tokyo as Shihan (Master Instructor).

The idea for the display boxes came from Rebecca from Perth, another "temari addict".  We found them in the US at They have lots and lots of styles. What a gorgeous presentation!

In case you missed the event, Kathy shared lots of pictures with me to pass on to everyone interested in temari and fiber arts. We love the way the guild displayed her temari along with other items for sale. They made color-coordinated and eye-popping displays.

Kathy Hewitt's temari stacked and ready to transport to the sale.

Friday, November 2, 2012

OT Painting furniture fun

Saving money...finding old furniture in the attic, under the house, at garage sales. Paint! Uh, oh, this could be addictive!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

We are away from home, visiting our daughter in Madison, WI.  Our neighbors on the Pamlico River said Sandy passed and the water did not come over the bulkhead.  Our house is located on the west side of the Pamlico Sound and the wind was from the west pushing the water away from us. We are flying back to Raleigh this afternoon and do not expect any problems. Pray for those to the north!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Upcoming demo and class

I hope to see you!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dana Watson and I will be stitching temari all day in Chapel Hill. Bring your temari and sit, stitch, visit.

The Ackland Art Museum
BUNKA NO HI | Japanese Culture Day    文化の日
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Free and open to the public. An all-ages event.

Join the Ackland on Bunka no Hi (Culture Day), a national holiday in Japan that celebrates culture and the arts. In addition to exploring the Ackland’s exhibitions of Japanese art, participate in workshops and events, learn about Japanese art forms like bonsai and temari (embroidered balls), and get creative with do-it-yourself activities available all day.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Temari class at my home in Raleigh, NC

Temari class by Barbara B. Suess

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Great review from Library Journal!

Verdict: thumbs up! Your local library can now access the review and purchase Temari Techniques for their collections. Please spread the word. 

"Suess, Barbara B. Temari Techniques: A Visual Guide to Making Japanese Embroidered Thread Balls. Breckling Pr., dist. by Independent Publishers Group. 2012. c.209p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9781933308326. pap. $29.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Embroidery and geometry collide in temari, a traditional Japanese fiber craft of spheres embellished with colorful thread. In this comprehensive guide to temari, Suess (Japanese Kimekomi: Fast, Fun, and Fabulous Fabric Handballs ) introduces the basics of the craft, beginning with creating the core of the temari ball and progressing to selecting a design for the outside and hand stitching techniques for temari. The patterns range from simple wrapped designs to detailed combinations of wrapping and hand stitching. Diagrams for the designs are provided.

VERDICT Embroiderers of all skill levels, as well as fans of Japanese culture and handcraft, will find themselves inspired by Suess’s creations."

Monday, October 15, 2012

A surprise in an out-of-print temari book

Out-of-print temari book from 1992

Since I contracted this crazy addition to making temari, I have collected books on the craft from Japan. At first I ordered a few from Japanese book stores. Then my husband stopped by the JTA shop in Tokyo and bought me a few when he traveled there for business. What a sweetie! Ebay has always been a good source but you really have to watch the prices and make sure you don't pay too much, especially with shipping added.

Sometimes, an out-of-print book sneaks on to eBay, one that I haven't seen before. I just got my hands on a copy of the New Life Series 7 book about temari titled Tanoshii Temari Nyumon (Temari Lessons for Beginners) ISBN 4-522-01307-8. It was written by Chiyoko Ozaki and published in 1992.

This copy is in perfect condition! I'm so lucky to find a mint condition book even though it's twenty years old. It's 125 pages and like most of the temari books from Japan, the color photos are grouped in the front of the book with instructions in black and white placed at the back. It's too bad this book is out of print. It would be a wonderful resource for beginners. The instructions are brief like so many of the Japanese books, but there is a lot to be learned from the photos and diagrams. It teaches simple divisions, as well as combination 8 and combination 10 (beginning with a simple 10). Most of the basic stitches and designs are represented - wrapped bands, spindles, and lot of variations of herringbone stitching for example.

The surprise? Just a little something I've not seen before.  It made me smile. So simple - the ball on the left in the scan below uses a very different path for the kiku herringbone stitching. Can you see it? You can click on this scan to make it bigger.

The inside point and outside point are taken on the same guideline. Then you'd skip a guideline. The artist must have adjusted the guidelines before beginning so they are paired (another novel idea). This is a simple 16 division. How fascinating!

The middle temari in the scan uses the same technique but skips two guidelines. And the guidelines are evenly spaced at the top. This is a simple 15 division - very unusual.

The swirling effect in the ball on the right side is a slightly different path. After stitching at an inside point, go back one guideline to make the stitch for an outside point. Then skip over a guideline to make the stitch for an inside point. Once again, it's a simple 15 division.

There is always something new to learn with temari!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Date change for Desert Spirit temari class

I've changed the date for temari class to Saturday, November 10. Hope you can make it!

Sign up for Desert Spirit temari class

Temari class on November 10, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Unfolding Kiku temari pattern is ready for download

Much requested pattern for advanced temari stitchers....

Purchase by download on my website

Saturday, October 6, 2012

All day temari class at Barb's house

Saturday, November 3, 2012, at Barb's house in Raleigh, NC.
6 hour class beginning at  9 AM.  Please bring your lunch and a ball already wrapped and marked into a simple division.

Desert Spirit temari is a study of the herringbone stitch, elegantly executed on a simple division temari. It is photographed on page 16 of my book Temari Techniques. This class is suitable for advanced beginners who are able to make a large, round ball and mark it into a simple division temari. You should also have experience with herringbone stitching on temari and be ready to learn several variations.

We'll begin at 9 AM and take 30 minutes for lunch during the day. Please bring your lunch so you don't miss class time running out to eat. I will have lots of temari on display and my collection of Japanese temari books available for you to see. Let's talk about temari designs that you'd like to see me write up for future patterns. Bring show and tell. We'd love to see what you have been stitching!

Preparation: bring a temari already made and marked. I'll give you details when you sign up for class. You can use your own threads in colors of your choice or purchase a kit from me before class begins. If you decide to purchase the kit from me, you'll need to stop by and pick it up or have me mail it to you in time for you to make and mark the ball before class begins. Also, be sure to bring other temari already made and marked for practice stitching, especially if the stitches are new to you. I'll also give you details for those temari when you sign up.

Sign up on my website. I hope to see you soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Everything is connected to a sphere..."

"On the macro level, the cosmic level, the whole universe is like a sphere.

The planets are spheres, ya know.  Atoms are spheres.

…It's probably the most natural form that we have. Things of wonder and beauty."

Bernard Hosey, artist

My good friend Kathy recently shared a link to a video about Bernard Hosey, a sculptor who creates spheres. This short video is beautifully done and well worth your time. I can relate!

The artist's website provides a biography, galleries of works, exhibitions, links, blog and contact information.

From Mr. Hosey's web gallery
"The 8-foot steel spheres are the beginning of a new dimension.
Despite the heavy weight of these steel spheres they look buoyant."


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cast on stitching makes an adorable, dimensional flower

Week 32 in Sharon's TAST (Take a stitch Tuesday) was the cast on stitch. If you have ever started a knitting project, this stitch will be a snap for you to pick up. It makes an adorable flower!

Cast on stitch
The flower stands up above the surface.

Progress so far on a new temari design