My 2020 New Year’s Resolution - 12 Months of Temari

hand sewing temari ball

Happy new year everyone! For those of you who celebrated this past holiday season, I hope you were able to recharge a bit and sneak in some good crafting time. 

I’m one of those people who make resolutions each year, to varied success. Like most people, this usually involves resolving to exercise more or eat healthier. However, this year is a bit different. My first child turned one last November, and so January 1, 2020 marks a little over a full year since I became a parent.

One of the things that I’ve definitely deprioritized over the last 12+ months but miss the most is making. I would draw nearly every day as a teenager (anyone remember DeviantArt?). I’ve dabbled in sewing, quilting, sashiko, knitting, weaving, pottery, enameling, and a variety of other arts and crafts. I have so many unfinished projects and I made zero progress on any of them in 2019.

So for 2020, one of my resolutions is to create one temari ball a month - each in a different design - and to blog about each one here. These will be super simple posts at first, but I hope to eventually include detailed information or even videos about each pattern and my process.

Why Temari?

Temari workshop held by TemariciousNaho giving an explanation at the NYC temari workshop

Back in November 2019, I attended a temari workshop in New York City taught by Rika and Naho from Temaricious and hosted by Paola from mYak. I attended primarily to meet Rika and Naho in person while they were in the US, but I was also curious to learn more about making temari.

Rika, Jess, and Naho at the Temaricious workshopRika, me, and Naho at the Temaricious workshop in NYC

I was familiar with a variety of traditional Japanese crafts, but temari was pretty new to me. I’d previously purchased one of Temaricious’s temari ball kits for myself and made a small blue ball, but I never bothered to do any embroidery on top of it.

blue temari ball

My tiny blue temari ball

I’m a terrible perfectionist and I was super self-conscious about making mistakes in front of Rika and Naho, and so for the first 20 minutes of the workshop I was a total mess. What did they mean when they said to start the stitch from the right side of the guideline? Which pole was north again? Why did the stitch need to be perfectly perpendicular? Why was everyone else so much faster than me? 

At some point I realized that I wasn't going to make the perfect temari ball on my second try EVER, and I calmed down and just started to stitch as best I could. And while I still didn't finish my temari ball that night, what resulted was one of the most relaxing and satisfying crafting experiences I’d had in quite some time.

The Plan

My plan is to make one temari ball each month for all of 2020. Each ball will be about the same size but with a different pattern. I’m aiming to use traditional patterns as much as possible, but I’m not going to worry too much about using traditional colors and I’m not going to worry about making each ball perfectly. My goal is to rekindle my love of making and to hopefully inspire a few of you to try making temari yourselves!

My Supply List

If you’d like to join me in making one temari ball each month in 2020, here is what I’ll be starting with supply-wise. If this list evolves over the course of the year, I'll be sure to come back and update this post with any new learnings.

*I purchased these from a local brewer’s store, but if you’re not able to get these locally, you can find them on Amazon pretty easily.
**I have an easier time learning from videos than books, so while I will definitely be referencing this book, I'll also post any videos that I reference for individual designs.

January Temari Ball: Uwagake Chidori Kagari

For my first temari ball of 2020, I’ll be working on a classic kiku chrysanthemum pattern in uwagake chidori kagari (herringbone stitch). You can see an example on Barbara Suess's website here.

I’m getting a pretty late start on this one to be honest, but I’m hoping that the pattern is simple enough that ½ a month is plenty of time. We’ll see. 😅

My color palette


I’ll be using a warm light green thread to wrap the ball, four different pinks and a yellow for the flower itself, and three greens for an obi. I’m using a creamy color for the divisions, which I may also reuse to embellish the obi. For the ball base, I’ll be using tissue paper, rice hulls for stuffing, and English lavender essential oil for scent.

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

I’ll post an update on my kiku temari ball on January 31, including my process, learnings, and the plan for February’s temari ball.

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

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