Basic temari patterns (masu, spindle, swirl)

A list of most commonly used temari patterns with names and how-to instructions in pictures.

0. Basic recommendations.

– Stitch on the ball itself, not on the marking thread
– Mark with keeper pins the points where you start stitching, but take the pins out after the first stitches are made. The pins can loosen the thread and damage the pattern.
– In most temari stitches you first go over the marking thread and then tuck under it and backwards.
– Remember to rotate the ball after every stitch (so that you always start a new stitch from the same angle/position).

! Marking thread on the pictures is drawn in yellow, while working thread is purple. Numbers indicate the sequence of stitches.

1. Square (Masu)

Masu is one of the basic patterns and is a great starting patterns for a beginner. (I made my first temari ball with this pattern 🙂 ). The term masu refers to a wooden rice-measuring cup used in ancient Japan. The same stitching method can be used not only for squares but for any rectangle.

Masu is worked around the center of intersecting marking lines.


Masu temari primer

2. Spindle (Tsumu Kagari)

Another basic pattern that every beginner is familiar with is the spindle. It is also one of the simplest patterns because it is worked around two pins (points) on one single marking thread.


Spindle temari primer

3. The swirl

The swirl is harder than two previous patterns, but it has it’s pros: it does not require the accuracy in marking that most of other patterns need. But you will need a steady hand and the ability to make even stitches. Start at the corner of the polygon and stitch inside of it. Try to make the distance from the stitch to the “walls” as equal with the previous as possible.

Swirl temari primer

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