12 Months of Temari: January

January is over, which means it's finally time to share my finished kiku temari with all of you and reflect on what I've learned over the last month. 

**drum-roll please**

Here it is from the north pole!

And from the side / obi (belt):

What do you think? Leave a comment below with your thoughts, positive comments or constructive criticism -- both are welcome!

I am very happy with how this design turned out! I made quite a few mistakes along the way that I'll mention in the Learnings section below, but honestly, this ball was so much fun to make that those mistakes don't really bother me.

It was also nice to just sit on the couch at night, listen to some podcasts or watch YouTube videos, and make something with my hands again after so long. 

If you're interested, the post below will walk you through my process for this temari, what I learned that I'll take into future projects, and my plans for February's ball.


several skeins of thread

I’ve made very basic temari before, so I went into this project with a pretty good idea of the materials that I’d need. The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether or not I’d have enough thread for the design I was planning, since I only had one skein of each color on hand. Luckily, one skein in each color turned out to be plenty.

Here are the materials and resources I used for this project:

  • 9 skeins of Temaricious embroidery thread (1 for guidelines, 3 for obi, 5 for the flower)
  • 1 skein of Temaricious fine thread for wrapping the ball
  • 1 temari needle
  • English lavender essential oil (~5 drops)
  • Tissue paper
  • Rice hulls
  • 1 yarn bowl (to contain the skein of wrapping thread)
  • Some straight pins
  • Embroidery scissors

I also had a needle threader on hand, but I never needed to use it.


rice hulls on tissue paperI began by cutting a square of red tissue paper that I had laying around from gift wrapping. At first I was a little worried that such a bright color would peek through the temari wrapping threads, but this was never an issue. In fact, I think it may have helped me ensure that I was wrapping the ball with enough thread since any spot I missed would be bright red.

I then measured out ¾ of a cup of rice hulls. I was aiming for a ~24 cm temari ball, and the resource I was using suggested ¾ of a cup of hulls to achieve this size. I added ~5 drops of essential oil to the rice hulls and began shaping the tissue paper and hulls into a loose ball shape.

From there, I took out my green temari thread and began wrapping it around the ball, turning the whole thing constantly and squishing it into a sphere as I went. I knew that the tension was supposed to be kept pretty loose at this point, so I tried not to pull the thread too tightly as I wrapped.

Once I started to see less and less red, I started applying tension to the thread as I wrapped. Looking back, I think I started adding tension way too early. In the workshop I attended with Temaricious in NYC, I remember being told to start adding tension once you didn't see much of the paper anymore. Apparently I forgot that important piece of info, because as you can see in the picture below, there was plenty of red left to see. 

Once I was done wrapping, I used my hands to squish the ball into as spherical a shape as I could manage.

I placed it next to the ~24 cm temari ball I was given at the temari workshop, aaaaaaand.....

... it was nowhere near the same size. It was 18 cm rather than the 24 cm I was aiming for. Whoops! At this point I wasn't entirely sure how this would impact my pattern, but after polling my Instagram and Facebook followers, I decided to keep going rather than re-wrap the whole thing.

My next step was to mark the poles and equator and to make the divisions of the temari ball. I originally planned to mark 16 divisions, but given the size issue, I scaled back to 8 divisions. 

It hurts me a little bit to look at the photo above, as you can see that I forgot to double my thread for the equator... Oh well!

With my temari marked out, it was time to wrap the obi. This was a very exciting point in the project because I was finally introducing color to the ball!

Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos at the obi stage, but you can see what the completed obi looked like in the image below. By the way, that orange temari ball? My husband's work! He saw me working on my project ball and asked me to show him how to wrap a ball.

With the obi completed, I marked out the pins for the flower petals! I had to deviate from my pattern again here given the smaller size of the ball I'd created. My top points were about 0.5 cm from the north pole, and the bottom points were about 1.5 cm from the equator.

From here, I began stitching a herringbone stitch across alternating guidelines. Once I had completed one revolution of the ball, I'd park my thread, re-thread the needle with another thread in the same color, and work the stitch across the alternate guidelines, laying these new stitches over top of the previous ones. 

When working on the second rows of thread, I made sure to take my inner stitches under and around the previous stitch. This is what creates the beautiful smaller reverse petals around the pole. For the outer stitches, I made sure the thread was laying parallel to the previous thread and then took the stitch where the thread crossed the guideline, usually a tiny bit lower than the previous stitch. Keeping the stitches short here helped to make the points of my petals sharper, although I'll admit I didn't always do this particularly well.

I repeated this process until the petals were complete, and then I switched to the other side of the ball. For each side, I stitched two rows of yellow, two rows of light pink, two rows of both medium pinks, and five rows of the darkest pink. I then finished the ball by adding a chidori (the little zig-zag finish) over the obi belt.

Final Result

Here it is again!


I learned a lot working on this design! 

  • ¾ of a cup of rice hulls did not get me to a 24 cm temari ball. In fact, the final size of my temari ball was ~18 cm. I assume this is because of the tension I was using when wrapping the ball.
  • Next time I need to remember to make the equator the same number of threads as my guidelines. In this case I doubled the threads for my guidelines but used a single thread for the equator.
  • I placed the "seams" of the obi (where each new row of color began) in a different spot from the "seam" of my equator. These should probably be in the same spot.
  • I should spend way more time making sure that my ball is actually a sphere and that the guidelines are equally spaced. I kind of eyeballed it this time and decided it looked good, and it wasn't until the very end that I discovered that I had a flat spot and the divisions on the bottom half of the ball were not evenly spaced.
  • Tension is super important!

February Temari Ball: Spindles (Tsumu Kagari)

skeins of thread in rainbow colors

For February's ball, I'll be doing a pole-to-equator spindle design on a simple 8 division ball. I'm still waffling over ball size. I could try to make a 24 cm ball like I originally intended with the January ball, or I could just make another 18 cm ball. Stay tuned to find out!

I’ll be using a pale off-white thread to wrap the ball, a grayish color for the divisions, and a rainbow of colors for the spindles. I'm still deciding on a color for the obi.

All of the other materials (e.g. rice hulls, lavender oil) will be the same!

If you’re interested in making your own spindles temari ball, here are the various resources I’ll be referencing.

I’ll post an update on my spindles temari ball on March 1, including my process, learnings, and the plan for March's temari ball.

If you’d like to join me and make your own temari ball, please tag @shugeicraft on Instagram and / or use the hashtag #SC12monthsoftemari so I can see your beautiful creations!

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