Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ancient Ceremonial Lights, a temari class in Japan

Tea and snacks. Temari cookies!
I'm sorting through files in my computer and organizing a bit. What a mess! My problem is that I get distracted from the job when I come across a wonderful memory. Did we really get to go to Japan in 2011 and take lessons from three temari masters? Yes, we did. I still can't believe it. How lucky!

I found a tour that I'd recommend for anyone - Nancy of Kyoto Kimono takes you on a textile tour with sites to see and workshops to attend. You have some free days to fill however you like. For our trip, Glenna worked with our JTA contact in Japan to set up lessons with Itoh Sensei, Takahara Sensei, and Ozaki Sensei. Kathy, Glenna, and I were in heaven! I've written about this special day before. It's worth another post.

Memories of the day trip to Itoh Sensei's house/studio

"Ancient Ceremonial Lights" temari design by our
teacher Itoh-san. This is the temari we came to make.

Pastel version of the temari.
Complicated stitching path! We took photos as we stitched.

Our teacher was so nice and helpful.

Patient, too!

One of her students made this set of dolls as a gift.

Delightful! They made all of us smile.

Close up of the dolls.

Sensei brought out this HUGE temari.

From the left: Kathy, me (Barb), Itoh Sensei, and Glenna

On the way back to the train station,
Kathy (aka Vanna) found the temari cookies!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dawn's Santa Army

Dawn S. made these Santa temari from Barb's Santa pattern

Look at Dawn's Santa Army!

She writes, "My Santa army was made with 2” or 3” Styrofoam ball cores so they would be light to hang on the tree.  I wrapped the balls with a layer of yarn…then thread power wrapped.  There are Santas on both sides of each ball.  They are holiday gifts although I might “steal” one for myself.  The 3” ones have the pom-poms and will be gifted with little white wooden stands.  I made twisted thread loops to attach to the 2” ones."

Thanks for sharing your temari picture, Dawn!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Oshogatsu Temari (New Year Temari) 2015 - The Three Companions of the Deep Cold

When looking through my Japanese temari books for a pattern to celebrate New Year 2015, I came across a design that is one of my favorites. It's an older temari design that conveys the symbolism and feeling of celebration for this most famous of all holidays in Japan. A flood of my own New Year memories from living in Japan came back to me!

For the coming year and for all years, I wish you beauty and endurance, strength and flexibility, and resilience and longevity!

New Year Temari 2015 by Barbara B. Suess

Our little family moved to Yokohama in 1987, towards the end of the year.  Terry, a research scientist/manager for DuPont, was recruited to help DuPont Japan start up a new research facility. Alison was just a year old and since I’d quit my job to stay home with her, the timing was perfect for us. Four years of living in the Far East was a wonderful adventure!

Before the move, we’d spent eight weeks that fall in San Mateo, California, in intensive language and culture training. How nice it was to be able to jump into life in Japan with a basic understanding of the customs and a bit of “survival” Japanese language skills. I could get in a cab and talk to the driver. I could find the grocery store and ask questions and understand the currency. Even with all the preparation, day-to-day life in Yokohama was always full of surprises.

When looking through my collection of temari books from Japan for a design suitable for a New Year celebration, memories of that time of year came flooding back to me. There is a lot of information about this special time of year in Japanese culture. Just do an internet search and you’ll be overwhelmed! What I remember is a bit different. It all revolves around our family living in a foreign land.

Running up the steep stairs to the roof of our house in the evening with my toddler and husband, trying not to fall! Fireworks were exploding over Yokohama harbor. We couldn’t quite see the ships in the harbor, just the tops of the huge cranes positioned there to lift cargo containers. At night, we had an incredible view of the fireworks though. I remember cold air, wind, oohing and aahing over the pretty explosion of lights, and seeing their reflections in Alison’s big blue eyes.

I remember one afternoon, probably January 3 or 4, pushing the stroller up a hill on the way back from the park. When we reached the top of the hill, I glanced up, did a double take, and realized that on the horizon, so huge and so close I could almost touch it, stood Mount Fuji. Covered in snow and crystal clear. “Fuji-san!” I’m sure I made a fool of myself shouting like that, but who wouldn’t be impressed? It was a glorious moment. We’d been living there for several months and could only now see the famous mountain because the factories had been shut for the New Year holiday.

And I remember decorations everywhere – pine, bamboo, and plum – in all sorts of arrangements. So natural, so simple and beautiful. This temari is a perfect representation. I hope you enjoy making it. The temari techniques used for this pattern can all be found in my book Temari Techniques.

The Three Companions of the Deep Cold

I think John Dover best described the symbolism of this group of companions in his book The Elements of Japanese Design.

“Pine (matsu). Green through all seasons, the pine – like the chrysanthemum, tortoise, and crane – was an auspicious sign of longevity, symbolizing a thousand years of life. Resistant to the wind, resilient beneath the snow, it joined the bamboo and early-blooming plum blossom as one of the ‘three companions of the deep cold’ of Chinese tradition. At New Year’s in Japan, pine branches are attached over the door or gateway of the house.

“Plum Blossom (ume). The plum blossom represents more than beauty in the Orient. Delicate and fragile, it nonetheless appears early in the year, impervious to lingering winter chill…the plum blossom remained true to its tradition of endurance and emerged as one of the more popular motifs in Japanese heraldry.

“Bamboo (take). Versatile, graceful, and auspicious, from ancient times bamboo has played an extraordinarily large role in Japan... Its endurance throughout the seasons has caused it to be associated with such virtues as constancy, integrity, and honor.”
(From The Elements of Japanese Design by John Dover)

Thread wrap – combine yellow sewing thread with gold metallic machine embroidery thread, wrapping with one strand of each. This helps keep the metallic from sliding off the ball.
Marking thread – thick gold metallic like Nordic Gold from Rainbow Gallery
Embroidery thread – Pearl cotton #5 in dark green, medium green, red, brown, and white. 

1. Make a ball 27 - 32 cm in diameter. Wrap with yellow sewing thread and gold metallic thread.
First power wrap with white and yellow thread.

Then power wrap with yellow.

Wrap with a single strand of yellow.

Wrap with yellow and gold metallic together
Finally, wrap with gold metallic. It slips off the ball so spend
a lot of time stitching back and forth over the thread wrap
to keep everything in place. You'll find it well worth the time!

2. Mark in a combination 10 division with thick gold metallic thread.

Mark in a combination 10 division.

3. Pine - In one of the pentagons on the C10, stitch 3 lines in each small triangle with dark green thread. You can stitch under the pentagon center and continue to the triangle opposite to keep thread from building up in the middle. Then stitch french knots in the center to represent pine cones. Use a double strand of brown thread with two wraps around the needle. Repeat this motif so there are four on the ball.

Completed pine design.

4. Plum - Stitch a kiku herringbone design with the inside points beginning 0.5 cm from the center and the outside points beginning about .7 cm from the edge of the pentagon (red pins in the photo). The inside points are stitched on the pentagon's short lines and the outside points are stitched on the long lines. 

Marking for plum.
Stitch 5 rows with red thread. For rows 2 - 5, drop down away from the center further than you normally would. This will open up the petals a bit. Keep your tension rather loose.

Plum - step 1
Then stitch an open pentagon (3 rows) with red thread on the short lines of the C10 pentagon. Position so the last row is taken next to the edge of the marked C10 pentagon. Then, if you like, add a pine needle design with thin red thread in the center of the plum (see last photo). Stitch 3 more plum designs on the ball.

Plum - step 2

5. Bamboo - Stitch 5 spindles (3 rows light green and 1 row white). Tack the ends of the spindles if needed to secure. Then stitch 3 spindles (1 row white). Leave the pins in place for now.

Bamboo - step 1

Then with white thread, stitch 3 zigzag paths across the spindles. This will hold them in place so you can remove the pins. Stitch three more bamboo designs on the ball.

Happy New Year 2015 Temari
by Barbara B. Suess

Oshogatsu Temari 
This pattern is used with permission of the Japan Temari Association (granted to Shihan, Level 3, certified members).

For more about the JTA, please visit my website.

This pattern can be found in the book Temari for 12 Months, Vol. 2 (Temari Juni Kagetsu), page 3.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I'll be teaching for a full week September 27, 2015 - October 2, 2015. This is the week before Fall Festival so if you'd like to come next year, please sign up early. Only 12 are allowed in the class and it's likely to fill early.

Here is some info about the class: http://www.japanesetemari.com/classes/Campbell/CampbellFolkSchool.html

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Need thread? I'm ordering cones tomorrow!

I'll be ordering from Rainbow Gallery next Monday, December 8. Would you like me to get some thread for you? They will make special put-ups on cones for any of their thread. After I place the order, it usually takes about a week for me to get it. I cannot guarantee delivery before Christmas.

I usually order 300 yard cones of some of my favorites. 

Nordic Gold (limited colors available now- good size for general marking) - $22.25 for 300 yard cone

Gold Rush XS (similar to Nordic Gold in size) - $24.00 for 300 yard cone

Treasure Braid Petite (finer for more intricate markings) - $$24.75 for 300 yard cone

first page of colors

second page of colors

If you'd like to get in on the order, please send me your wish list by midnight, Sunday, December 7. Remember that you can request any of their threads and I'll get a quote for you.


Happy stitching,
Barb Suess

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fabric covered kimekomi balls - Roll Tide Alabama!

Roll Tide Roll! Hoping for a 16th National Championship in football! These fabric covered balls were made by my nice SIL Rachel Redwine Blanton. She used the technique from my book Japanese Kimekomi. Love em!
Roll Tide! Fabric covered balls

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Embellishing Temari

Adding tatting and pearls to temari is a good thing!
Temari by Barbara B. Suess

Monday, December 1, 2014

Update on temari shop sale

Oops! The coupon for today has expired. If you are shopping in my etsy shop, please enter the coupon code 2ShopSmall2014 to receive a 25% discount.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Temari Shop Sale

Sale, sale, sale! That's what we all want to hear this time of year, right? Ok, here you go....
use the coupon below to shop until Monday night and receive 25% discount off everything in my etsy shop.


Here is a link to my shop


And here is a link on how to use the coupon if you have trouble

I just received a box of Kyo thread from Japan and have also listed some DMC #5 pearl cotton.

How to make a temari ball - quick and easy!

Over the years, I've developed some techniques to speed up the process and make a thick wrap of thread that will hold your stitches well. Have a look!


How to make a temari ball with a perfect surface for stitching!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sign up today for JTA certification class


Today is the last day to sign up with me for JTA certifiation classes. I know it seems early when the judging is next summer. But we will use the time to work together to grow your temari skills and present the best to the JTA judges. (Hint: they really aren't all that tough. They want you to learn and just do your best!)

A little background ... when I first began teaching these classes several years ago, the head the Chidori Chapter (for international members) approved my classes and texts. So you are assured you will be learning their methods of making temari. And although you may have recently heard a different story, it is fine to pursue certifiation with me now even if you are already a JTA member. We can get you switched over and it's all JTA approved. As you may know, I took a couple of years off from teaching the JTA classes and am now glad to be back! 

Next week, I'll set up a Yahoo group just for this certification group. We have ten eager temari stitchers going for it as of this morning! If you would like to join us, let me know ASAP. Deadline is tonight.

Here's the link with more information:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New business cards remind me that....

New business cards for Japanese temari
Ordering new business cards is fun. But I am reminded that nobody around here calls me "Master Instructor," not even my dog!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Desert Spirit Temari Course now available

Did you miss the online course? This is your chance to purchase the text and videos. Work at your own pace. Send an email to the instructor if you have questions!

Purchase the course in my etsy shop!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Are you interested in joining the Japan Temari Association?

I can make it happen! This year, I am again accepting students who would like to join the JTA and go through the certification process.  The JTA has four levels of certification - each of which is a challenge! You'll learn a lot about temari by pushing yourself to complete stitching the balls and writing patterns. Reach Level 3 and the JTA will certify you to teach - quite an honor.

Read about the process on my website and let me know if you are interested. I'll get back to you as soon as I can with more information and a contract.

NOTE!! The deadline to sign up for certification in the summer of 2015 is NOVEMBER 15, 2014.

I hope you'll join me in this exploration of your temari skills and talent.

This is a brochure from the JTA...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shifting Spindles

Still in the spirit of stitching fall foliage, here's a leaf stitched on an 8-way center.

This ball is marked in a combination 8 division and I'm stitching large maple leaves at each of the six 8-way intersections of guidelines on the ball. Shifting the spindles a little bit or a lot  really changes the look of the leaf. Here's how...

Place pins 3cm from the center. Stitch a partial spindle with the tip extending 1cm past the guideline.

Stitch a spindle with the top extending 0.5cm past the guideline.

Stitch another spindle with the top extending 0.5cm past the guideline.

Stitch the last spindle with the tips even with the guidelines.

Add veins and a stem.

You can vary the placement and the length of spindles to make different leaves. 

Happy Autumn!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Timely Maple Leaf on Temari

In our TemariChallenge Yahoo group, we are working on temari with a fall foliage theme. I'm trying out one from the Japanese book Creative Temari. Looks like I need a little work on my spindles but so far I'm loving this design!

Below are the steps for stitching the leaf on a 10-way intersection of guidelines.