Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Santas Galore!

Beverly E. stitched up a jolly batch of Santas for her book club!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stitching Santuary

I think the last time I cleaned my office/studio/sewing room was when I began writing Temari Techniques, sometime in 2009! Yes, I have sorted and rearranged and dusted and vacuumed a bit along the way. My stash busting sale on Monday went so well that I was inspired to keep digging. I found several projects that I'm eager to finish and have been working on them while binging on MI5 on Netflix and stitching is fabulous. I was going to say relaxing, but if you've seen MI5, you know the show is NEVER relaxing!

Here are some pictures so I can be reminded to clean up again some day. It's such a cozy place. I'm truly fortunate to have this sanctuary.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stash Busting Sale - I need your help!

It's been two years since I cleaned out my studio/office and had a stash busting sale. I've spent a happy weekend playing with thread and sorting skeins and cards of metallics into attractive groups for stitching lots of different temari designs.

All are photographed and for sale now in my shop.

Will you help me restore order and downsize? You will find some great bargains.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Today is the day!

It's the last day to sign up for Desert Spirit online temari class. 

I've got just a few thread kits left and when they are gone, they are gone!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Deadline to sign up is 6 days


The deadline to sign up for class is next Friday, September 27.

This online class is six weeks long and begins October 8. This promises to be an exciting class with students who live all over the world. Over 110 temari stitchers have signed up! There are a lot of people who have never tried temari and are eager to get a jump start on making gifts for the holidays this year. The first four temari we make are perfect for gifts - quick and unique! Many students who have taken all my previous classes have loyally returned to study the herringbone stitch in detail.

I have just a few kits left and hope you can join me. Please don't delay in signing up. Here is a link to the page where you can purchase the class.

There are many basic skills covered in this class making it suitable for the absolute beginner and intermediate stitcher as well:make a ball from scratch, mark a simple 10 division, mark a simple 12 division, mark a ball with 20 centers, stitch wrapped bands, pine needles, layered open shapes to make a framework, make a hanger for the ball, and stitch six different herringbone variations. The larger ball, Desert Spirit, looks like a combination division with so many small shapes to be filled. But it is based on a simple 12 division and is so much easier to mark than a combination division!

Deadline to sign up for class is Friday, September 27.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Temari class sign-up begins this week.

Temari class sign-up begins this week.

Desert Spirit Temari - close-up view of diamond

Desert Spirit Temari Class - ball 3

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Desert Spirit Temari Online Class

Finally!!! I will be getting back to work and teaching a temari class online. Heads up! Registration begins next week for those on my email list and on September 9 for those on the Shining Needle list. The class will last six weeks.

Are you on my email list? Here is a link to the sign-up page

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rosemary Bell, Shihan, Japan Temari Association

Congratulations to Rosemary Bell who just passed level 3 certification with the Japan Temari Association. 

Rosemary is from Texas and is one of the most talented temari stitchers I know. When she first started stitching temari, she sent me a few of her creations because she had never seen any at all and wondered if she was stitching them correctly. I have an evaluation sheet of standard skills just for that purpose but had to call Rosemary and tell her that I had never seen such beautifully stitched temari, with pearl 8, no less! I could see nothing to improve and was inspired to improve the accuracy of my own stitching.

I know Rosemary will continue to be a wonderful teacher for those lucky students around Mineola, Texas!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thread Challenge in TemariChallenge Yahoo group

Would you like to experiment with different threads for stitching temari? We will be starting a new challenge soon. Be sure to watch the group messages on TemariChallenge for some fun.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Temari news May 9, 2013

I'm back from another wonderful week at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Total immersion in the art of temari allowed beginners to make C8s and C10s by the end of the week. We got into exploring multicenters temari, too. Talk about a jump start - more like a turbo boost! Thanks so much to Crystal, Shelley, Kathy, Carrie, Maritza and Sarah for coming to stitch with me in the mountains of North Carolina.  The small class sizes at the folk school and the creative atmosphere make it a very special place.

Thread order deadline - this Sunday!
Rainbow Gallery has a glittering assortment of threads perfect for temari.  Are you interested in purchasing a 300 yard spool? RBG takes special orders for these. Check out their website and let me know what you would like.  The price for 300 yards of Nordic Gold is $20.25 and 300 yards of Treasure Braid Petite is $24.75.  The price will be different for other kinds of thread and I can get a quote for you if you fancy something else. Send me an email ( by midnight on Sunday, May 12, and I'll get back to you with a quote on the price.

I've dedicated a large portion of my website to an illustrated glossary of temari techniques, links to other fiber artists and resources for temari stitching. Please feel free to visit this section often. Download and print for your reference off-line. If you would like to be added to the links section, just let me know.
Happy stitching,
Barb Suess

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Need thread?

Rainbow Gallery has a glittering assortment of threads perfect for temari. I have just received a large order and will be listing it in my shop in about ten days. Why wait? Because I'm headed out to Brasstown, NC, next week to teach a class at the Campbell Folk School. 

There is gold and silver thread in my box right now - Nordic Gold and Treasure Braid Petite. Are you interested in another color in a 300 yard spool? RBG takes special orders for these. Check out their website and let me know what you would like. I can always order more in different colors - by special request, when there are enough people interested to make the shipping cost less. 

Send me an email ( with your request and I'll get back to you around May 7. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

NPO Temari group is active - pretty pictures of temari!

Non-profit Organization Japan Temari Cultural Association

Above is a screenshot of a temari group in Japan. Turn on your translator and follow links to find some unique temari designs. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Quilted wall hanging is on the wall!

Simple blue and white so far...
I'll take some close-up photos next time.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quilted wall hanging for the river house

I have a bad habit of working on a lot of different projects at the same time. Lately, my choices have been huge and time consuming! I guess I just get bored with one thing and pick up something else for a while. So while I have not completed my little crazy quilt (the embroidery is all done - I just need to assemble it now) and I have not completed writing for the next online temari class (Desert Spirit), I started something else. Using up stash fabric is part of my New Year's resolution so the timing feels right.

Three panel walling hanging

I love the tile on the island on my kitchen for pressing large projects!

For many, many years (more than I like to count), I've collected fabric from Japan. We've got this new (to us) little house down on the Pamlico River and the walls are bare and bleak. So I'm making a wall hanging to go above the sofa. The three panels are nice "cheater" cloths - printed scroll-shaped panels from Japan. The sashing is from a wedding kimono and just glows against the dark blue of the panels. I added just a pop of red batik in the 1/2" border to echo the red in the panels. The outside border is an upholstery fabric with fantastic texture to contrast with the other textures in the quilt.

Yes, there is temari here! Just a little block in each corner.

Just a touch of temari on the quilt - a block in each corner.

I can always see improvements and things that I'd like to do for the next project. Next time, I'll add hand embroidery to the panels before I assemble the quilt. Wouldn't that moon look great with reverse applique using the same wedding kimono fabric?!! I'd I would continue the wheat onto the moon with embroidery. The center panel has infinite opportunities for embellishment. While the crane panel doesn't need much (I do love its simplicity), some sashiko quilting would really set it off. Just a touch here and there.

Back to pinning.....

Friday, March 8, 2013

Temari Addict Australia celebrates 4 years!

It's hard for me to believe that Rebecca has been blogging for four years now. Congratulations on making such a cheerful and interesting place to visit, Rebecca. May you have many, many more years on the web!

Rebecca is holding a contest. Visit her blog and leave a comment. You'll be entered in a drawing for some Kyo thread from Japan!

Here is the link to Temari Addict Australia

Monday, March 4, 2013

Interlocking Pentagons Temari

This temari caught my eye the very first time I looked through the Japanese temari book Flower Temari from the Kaga Region of Kyoto (Kaga Hana Temari) by Takahara, published in 1992 by Macaw. I finally got around to stitching it last week and am really pleased with the result. Now, I'm off to buy some variegated perle cotton to make another.

Here is what you do:

Stitch around the outside of one of the pentagons marked on a C10. Keep going until the corners meet the centers of the 4-part diamonds. Then stitch the same pentagon around the other centers on the C10, interlocking them as you go. Fill in the remaining space with solid pentagon stitching in a contrasting color.

There are so many temari in this book that I want to try!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stitch along on TemariChallenge

Joan Z. is leading us in a stitch along for a temari that has wrapped bands that are woven! I love this design. It was quite challenging and totally worth the time for the weaving. Thanks Joan!

Here is a link to our group. If you are not already a member, please join us for sharing and learning temari.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I've gone "crazy"

Such fun! Crazy quilting with Judith Baker Montano

Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting ready for class with Judith Baker Montano

I got into the class at Campbell Folk School!

Judith Baker Montano is one of my idols in the fiber arts field. Her diagrams inspired me when I began drawing for temari. When we went to Japan in the fall of 2011, I collected bits of fabric from the temple markets and we dyed some indigo pieces during the workshops on the tour. They have been waiting patiently for me to find time and inspiration to create a wall hanging to remember that trip and the years that I lived in Japan in the late 1980s. So, last fall when I saw her class listed at Campbell, I signed up right away to get her expert help in creating a wall hanging full of wonderful memories. I was first on the waiting list and found out in early January that I got in. Yay!

Going out on a limb and risking true embarrassment, I'll share how I've prepared and later, I'll share what I learned.

In class, we will be making four crazy quilt blocks and students will be using them in whatever project they choose. Mine will be the center focus of a wall hanging - the four squares filled with squiggles in this diagram:

Here the fabric laid out on the island in my kitchen:

Each crazy quilt block is made on a 12" square piece of muslin. The small brown squares are pieces that I purchased in Kyoto. They are resist designs dyed with kaki (persimmon) and are a lovely deep brown. The blue squares are cut from one panel, a cheater cloth of sorts also purchased in Japan.

This layout came about by trail and error - probably more errors that I know about now! Our kitchen island is just that wide and the background blue fabric is 55" wide (the length of the piece).  Maybe the whole thing should be a bit wider? I hope to get lots of help next week.

Ms. Montano asked us to bring 1/3 solids, 1/3 prints, and 1/3 textures to make the crazy quilt blocks. Most textures are also solids. She recommends 12 - 16 different fabrics to complete the four blocks. I have way more than that, especially in the prints pile. Those came from my stash and my mom's stash of quilting fabric. I've decided to work with blue and brown (on the orange side) as complementary colors. This is one of my favorite combinations and is traditional in Japan.

Retreat to the mountains!

focus fabrics

all fabrics

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A new year brings a new resolution

Happy New Year!


How can it be 2013 already???? It's time for my annual ritual of looking back at last year's successes and failures, good times and bad, and make a resolution for self-improvement. I really do like this time of year because it is so full of opportunity. I'm in a hallway with lots of open doors. So many possibilities. Which way should I go this year? It's never a scary thing because I can always begin again in the same place next year! And often I don't quite reach the goal I set for myself but I learn so much along the way that the effort pays off. No pressure.

I think this year I'll do nothing. 

Nothing new, that is. And I'll take more time to do it. Sally Mavor posted a link to a blog post about time and creativity. This is just what I need! My next step into the art of temari involves creating six unique designs for the top, the very top, level of certification given by the Japan Temari Association. I still have so much to learn about temari and need time to explore more temari techniques. Quiet, all-alone time to stitch and experiment.

I'll need some clear space as well as time for creativity and right now, my project pile is a mile high and my sewing room/studio is packed with jumbled up supplies and projects half-begun and ideas jotted on paper in piles around the room. First step for the new year is to finish up as much as I can and sort and clean.

We have an old denim slip cover. Here is a photo from the internet of a new one.

Ours is so worn that it really needs to be replaced. But the denim is still good enough to make one of those quilts with the seams on the outside. I've made one before and know it's easy and lots of fun.

 I had the flu over the holidays (yes, I did have a flu shot!) and while I was recovering, I tore the slip cover into long strips, 8" wide. Then I cut those into 8" squares. There are over 160 squares! I've been cleaning out my stash of blue fabric and hope to end up with another quilt soon.

First thing to finish: those denim quilts. 
Seems like a good place to start the new year. Beautiful blues.