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Makerly – Temari Balls

I’ve been having a go at making Temari balls from the July Makerly box ( These traditional Japanese embroidered gift balls are one of the most difficult and fiddly things I’ve ever made! 

Included in the kit was:

  • Embroidery thread
  • Cotton thread
  • Polystyrene balls
  • Wadding
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • Tape measure
  • Tassels
  • Split rings
  • Key rings
  • Bookmark

The beginning of the process was straightforward, wrapping a ball in wadding and then using a full spool of cotton thread to wrap the ball. It felt a little indulgent to use an entire spool of thread in one sitting, but was pretty satisfying! I decided to create all three of my balls at the same time so I could then go on with the next step for all three balls. My hand ached a bit afterwards but I think it was best to have all the balls prepared in advance.

The next step was the most challenging. The technique of looping the embroidery thread around the guidelines took me a little while to master and I unpicked my first attempt as I was unhappy with how messy it looked and felt I could do better once I had got the hang of the technique. I wasn’t that keen on the layout of the instruction book as it had each instruction next to the picture but in an alternating pattern that I found hard to keep track of when glancing at the book in the middle of stitching. The part I found the hardest was creating the waistband of the ball. The thread, particularly the gold, just did not want to stay put as I was winding it round, which was very frustrating as I didn’t want it to look messy. I did it as best I could and I have to say that the diagonal stitches creating the diamond pattern around the edge did hold it in place eventually.

I’m not sure if it was because I had picked up the technique by the third ball, but the pattern on the last one seemed a lot easier than the first. I think I would have preferred to do them in reverse order in terms of difficulty. 

I don’t think Temari is something I will continue as a regular hobby, but the finished balls are certainly satisfying. Although the tradition is to give them as gifts as they are, I really like the option to turn them into key rings and a bookmark. As much as I enjoy creating art I do like it when my crafting can be made into something practical and useful. I already have the next Makerly box waiting for me so I’m looking forward to trying the next project!

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