Temari with elongated kiku flowers tutorial

Work in progress: kiku on S12

A couple of days ago Judy asked for the directions of how to make a temari with slightly modified and elongated kiku flowers. Here is a tutorial!

Green modified kiku temari

Start with a temari base (I chose the orange ball today) and divide it into eight sectors (Simple 8, S8 division) with an obi center line. Here is a great tutorial on how to do it.

Balls for temari embroidery Continue reading “Temari with elongated kiku flowers tutorial”

Floss conversion table (DMC – Anchor – Madeira)

As you may have noticed, I usually use DMC floss in my cross stitch patterns. So for those of you who wish to use different type of floss, here is a long table of floss conversion.

Continue reading “Floss conversion table (DMC – Anchor – Madeira)”

Basic temari patterns: kiku (chrysanthemum)

Pink chrysanthemum temari
Temari with kiku pattern
Kiku, or the chrysanthemum, is one of the most common patterns for a temari ball along with spindles and squares. It can be designed in various sizes and colors, but the basics are the same.

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.

First row.

Temari kiku pattern - row 1

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)

Second row.

Temari kiku pattern - row 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.

Common division types in temari marking

S8 marked temariBefore you start stitching a pattern on your mari you have to mark it into a division.

The process of marking is one of the most dull and yet important steps in making a good temari. The geometrical beauty of the finished ball depends directly on the preciseness of your marking (in web-design I would add !important modifier to every word, but in text I’ll stick to bold letters).

Marking is made with marking threads (jiwari), that are traditionally metallic, but can also be the same as design treads. You can even make the division invisible (but non inexistent!) by using the thread similar in color to the ball base.

There are two basic types of divisions: simple and combination (complex). Continue reading “Common division types in temari marking”

Cross stitching basics (+ photo)

To show that cross stitching is really easy, here is the a small photo-tutorial on how to do it. (You may also want to take a look at cross stitching tips beforehand.)

Basics - materials

Materials: I used thick Aida canvas and wool in order to make stitches more contrast and thus better looking on pictures. But everything written applies to smaller canvases and thread as well. I strongly recommend using Aida canvas for your first cross stitching projects, because it is already marked into squares.

One cross stitch.

To make your first cross stitch choose any square on the fabric and bring your needle up from the wrong side in it’s lower left corner. Leave a tail of 2 cm (1 inch) on the wrong side and bring the needle back through the upper right corner. Now you have a diagonal stitch – a half stitch. Half stitches are used in tapestries and as additional stitches in other needlework.

Basics - half stitch Continue reading “Cross stitching basics (+ photo)”

How to make a biscornu pincushion

How to make a Biscornu A biscornu (pronounced biss-core-new) is an eight-sided stuffed pincushion with French origins. The name literally means ‘two-horned’, though I found four horns on mine 🙂 It may look intricate and irregular, but in fact it’s really easy to make. This photo tutorial will guide through the process step by step.

Biscornu materialsMaterials. You will need:
– a square cross stitch pattern (or two if you want your biscornu to have different pictures on top and bottom). I found it easier to use motifs with even number of stitches.
– some canvas enough to stitch your pattern twice
– stuffing material (I used fiber pillow fill)
– a needle and colored thread for stitching Continue reading “How to make a biscornu pincushion”

Cross stitch: choosing the pattern

Simple pattern and canvasThe choice of a design is very important for somebody making first steps in the art of embroidery. If you are only learning to embroider, start with a relatively simple pattern. If the project turns out to be too complicated and hard to accomplish, it may remain unfinished, which is disheartening and discouraging. After such an experience, you may lose interest in embroidery for a long time.

The best size for a beginner is 15 by 15 cm (5.5 by 5.5 in), that is, no more than 60 by 60 stitches. Assessing the complexity of a design is not an easy task in itself. A simple pattern should not contain many details. Also, look for the number of colours and their shades. Of course, shades melting into one another make the picture more natural and beautiful, but the work in this case will be more difficult. It is best to choose a pattern with contrasting colors.

Same as with the details, there should not be too many colours in the design. We recommend beginning with charts with large parts of the same colour. These may be pictures of fruits, simple landscapes or fairytale characters. Continue reading “Cross stitch: choosing the pattern”

Cross Stitching for beginners: Accessories

Cross stitching accessories

The art of cross stitching is one of the most popular hobbies in the world. It is an easy stitch to master but using it you can create beautiful designs to decorate all sorts of items for your family and home. And you’ll have fun doing it!

Cross stitching is an easy hobby in many ways. First, it is an easy technique; second, you don’t need many things to start embroidering with it. What you will need is primarily motivation (a quite necessary component), and also an embroiderers hoop, the fabric, threads, needles, and a pattern. Using needle threader, special scissors and thimble is not necessary but convenient. We recommend purchasing all accessories in advance, and an original pattern for cross stitching you can find at this website.

The best fabric to use for beginners is canvas. It comes in different colours, with or without tacking, with large, medium or small grids. The higher the grid number, the denser the canvas. The most popular canvas type is Aida. More intricate designs are usually done on Aida No.18, while for beginners we recommend Aida No.14.

The embroiderers hoop helps to stretch the fabric and keep the stitches even.

Cross stitching requires special embroidery threads. They can be of different quality, which determine the ultimate result. Good-quality threads are more fun to work with and the design comes out better-looking and more professional. The threads come in a wide variety of colours. Check your chosen design pattern carefully for the colours you’ll actually need. To make things easier, you could buy an organizer to keep your threads and note their reference numbers. Embroidery organizer is a cardboard box with perforations near the edges, which will help you to keep your threads in order and always find the right colour.

Cross stitching accessoriesThe needle used for cross stitch is a round-ended needle with a wider eye than a sewing needle. The higher the number, the finer the needle. The needle size varies according to the weft. For example, embroidery needles no. 22, 24, 26 are suitable for canvas no. 14. Sometimes a needle threader would be handy, especially when you need to thread two or three threads together.

You will also need small pointed scissors that you will use only for your embroidery. To protect your middle finger, use a thimble.

Now, when you have assembled everything you’ll need, the fun part starts. You can begin embroidering!

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) Continue reading “Basic temari patterns (masu, spindle, swirl)”

Halloween temari ball

How to make a Halloween temari

This nice thematic Halloween ball is really easy to make even if you are a temari newbie, just follow the steps of the tutorial. (Tip: You can use the ball that is not perfectly round)

Colors and materials: 8 colors (orange, dark orange and beige for the pumpkin, two different greens for the leaf, black and red for the spider and gray for the web); dark orange or brown sewing thread Continue reading “Halloween temari ball”