Kiku is stitched with Uwagake Chidori (zig zag) stitch, which is quite easy to master. Though it is not recommended by most temari teachers, it is still easier to think of uwagake chidori as of a modified herringbone stitch. It is better to learn kiku pattern on even simple divisions like S8 or S10 with an obi (center line).
I will use a lot of words to describe what to do, but recommend you to start with the pictures (than maybe you won’t need all the text :))
The marking lines on illustrations are colored in gray and shown parallel for convenience.
Start 5 mm from the north pole of your mari, to the left of the marking thread 1 as close to it as possible, and go down to the right side of thread 2 (over both 1 and 2). Make a tiny stitch under thread 2 and emerge again on the left side of it to go over 2 and 3 to the top right side of thread 3. Make a tiny stitch under thread 3 (again, it should be 5 mm from the north pole) and go down again to the right side of marking thread 4. Continue to make a finished round of stitches.
(Optional: Repeat the row starting at the top of thread 2)
Start at the top left side of thread 1 and just a little bit below the stitches already made. Repeat going over 1 and 2 but step a couple of mm further down at the bottom. Make a tiny stitch under thread 2 and go over to the top right side of thread 3. Step one mm down from the previous stitches and make the top stitch a bit wider than the previous. You should always stitch under the marking thread and under previous stitches at the top of the design.
(Optional: After the whole round, repeat the row starting at the top of thread 2)
It may sound hard, but in fact you will get the hang of uwagake chidori stitches in no time. Usually it comes at the third or fourth round 🙂 This stitch type is used not only in the classical chrysanthemum, but also in abstract designs and butterflies patterns.