Friday, 24 February 2012

Post #400

This is the 400th post I've written. I am quite shy in person (with people I don't know well) so it amazes me that I have managed to keep posting to this blog fairly consistently for almost 3 years. In real life I am sure I'd run out of things to say in under five minutes but somehow I can almost always find stuff to chat about here. Over time I've posted about all kinds of things: baking, chickens, driving, family, all the other crafts I try out, but it always comes back to temari.

When I started temari making I stitched with a group but as the years have gone by our weekly group temari making got less and less regular... some ladies went back to work or changed jobs, others had more kids and many moved on to pursue other crafting. I got ORBsessed with temari making and am the only one from the original group still stitching temari on an almost daily basis. We began this blog as a shout out for our group and more importantly to shout out to the rest of Australia to say 'Hey, you like temari? So do we! Let's chat about it.'

So on to chatting about temari...

I have been experimenting with things to contain my rice hulls while I wrap my mari. I used to use stockings but no one I know wears them anymore and I can't see the sense in buying them just to cut up to make temari. Then I used freezer bags (much cheaper, you get a hundred bags for less than 1 pair of stockings) but recently the local grocery store has stopped stocking the small size that I use and using a larger bag is too cumbersome (and creates too many potential airpockets). This week when I picked up the dry-cleaning I caught myself looking slyly at the bag and wondering if they would cut nicely into squares to hold the rice hulls.

The answer is: They do, I got twelve approximately 8 inch squares cut out of 1 dry-cleaning bag and I dumped about 1.25cups of rice hull onto the centre of a square before gathering up the edges very carefully and hoping it wouldn't burst onto the carpet. It was weird to gather the loose hulls into a flat sheet of plastic but I seem to recall seeing more than one Japanese video of rice hulls being wrapped in what looked like sheets of some kind of thin paper. Once I got over the fear of the very thin plastic breaking it was actually quite easy to mould the mari as I wrapped them... and I only spilled 2 bits of hull on the floor.

I like to stab the plastic bags with a needle lots of times to help remove air pockets and reduce the risk of deflating the ball while stitching on it later. This did prove tricky as the dry-cleaning bag plastic seemed to grip onto the needle and poked out of the yarn layer a few times. By the time I finished wrapping the outer layer of threads you would not have guessed that the hull had been contained by anything different...and the bag was totally free, better yet it was saved from going into landfill.

Today I had oven chips for lunch. Ok, I felt like eating steamed rice but wasn't in the mood to pull out the rice cooker. I also didn't want to wash up the oven tray so I lined it with baking paper. (I usually buy a really good quality baking paper but one day a while back I was feeling a bit stingy so I opted for a cheaper brand which requires me to use 2 sheets to get he same effect as the more expensive version - talk about false economy) So as I covered the tray in two sheets of paper it occurred to me that because this paper was quite thin and unwaxed it might be good for holding the rice hulls for my temari making. While the chips cooked in the oven I went and tried the paper idea out, did it work? Yes it did. I was really surprised that not only did I manage to get a sheet of baking paper filled with 1.25 cups of hull without spilling any on the carpet but it then rolled into a sphere during the yarn wrap. I stabbed it all over to help release any air that might have been trapped during the gathering together of the paper corners.

I really liked how this mari felt in my hand, I felt happy with how wholesome and natural it all was... just paper and rice hulls (no foam or plastic)... then it occurred to me that I was wrapping over the paper with polyester yarn and that blew the 'natural vibe'. LOL! I think my happy-in-love-with-the-whole-world vibe was due to low blood sugar at this point because next thing I knew the fire alarm started beeping to tell me I had forgotten the chips in the oven and the had been charred beyond recognition. I had a pear for lunch instead.

I thought that tissue paper might work really well too, I've got some packing grade tissue paper so I gave that a shot too (over the tiled floor instead of the carpet just to be safe). It worked really well and crushed down nicely. I also remembered while making the two mari with tissue paper where it was I had seen the video. It was featured on the Ogijima blog.

So what do you use for the core of your mari? If you use something loose (like lint, orts or rice hull etc) how do you keep it all together while you are wrapping with yarn?

I don't think I will get time to post again this week, but next post I will share some things I have learned about a design I have been working on lately.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS!!! Are you still awake? I always wonder that while I work in the morning here in the US. May you post many, many more times!

    Love ya like a sister,

  2. Congratulation, you reach 400 post. Amazing.

  3. I've been out of touch for a while, so a day late and a dollar short I'll add my congratulations for this auspicious occasion. Your blog is one of those things I check in on as it always offers me a smile or warm feelings that there are such really nice people in the world.

    Here's to reading 400 more!!