HNW - Temari Balls

Laura Shumar lshumar at
Wed Nov 22 05:13:48 PST 2000

On Wed, 22 Nov 2000, Jennifer Crimmins wrote:

> I know this is slightly off topic but I am in the process of making temari 
> balls as Christmas presents and I'm running into some problems.......

>   Has anyone else on the list made them?  If so, which method do you use to 
> make the balls?  I'll go the styrofoam ball route if I must, but I would 
> prefer not to.  Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

I use fabric scraps for my temari balls - as you said, it's more
historically accurate.  I think it also makes a nicer ball - they have
some weight, and feel better in your hand.  I've also heard that styrofoam
will break down over a few years, causing the entire ball to collapse!

The only information I've seen just says that fabric scraps were
traditionally used, but doesn't give any other advice.  All the
instruction books seem to advocate using styrofoam balls - ick.

So here's how I do it:

Start with a pile of little tiny fabric bits (like confetti), or dried
herbs, or whatever.  Wrap this with a scrap of fabric, about 6" square.
Wind a piece of yarn around this to hold the fabric on - the yarn doesn't
cover the fabric, it's just used to hold everything together.

Next I start wrapping with long strips of fabric.  If you sew, the
leftover bits from trimming seam allowances are great.  Keep checking the
ball as you wrap to make sure it's becoming spherical....roll it around,
feel for lumps, etc.

Sometimes I won't have anything but the fabric beneath the thread (in
which case the outer layer of fabric should be close to the same color as
the thread), but sometimes I'll wrap a layer of soft yarn (usually the
Sugar-n-Cream type cotton) around the ball.  I'm not sure which way works

One set of directions I saw suggested using a strip of paper to make sure
your ball is spherical by measuring it in several directions.

I should mention that few of my temari have been perfect, but I'm not sure
if that's due to a non-spherical ball or to errors in the stitching.  It
may be that I just don't manage to adopt the proper Japanese mindset
towards perfection in crafting!


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