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11  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Star temari (image-heavy) on: May 24, 2010 03:17:50 AM

Temari literally hand-ball were originally made from wadded up scraps of silk by the ladies of the Heian court in Japan, as toys for the royal children. Over time, competition arose as to who could make the prettiest temari, and so the art of Japanese embroidered thread-wrapped balls was born.

Geometric and natural designs are produced by wrapping and stitching, with different effects made by the placement of the wrapped and stitched threads, and how the surface of the ball is subdivided.

There are different ways to make the base. You can start with some wadded up scrap fabric, wound over with yarn before wrapping the thread (the larger ball in the photo was made this way), or begin with a styrofoam ball which is covered with fabric.

The ball is then wrapped in base colour thread to cover it completely, which makes a surface to embroider on. The 'embroidery' is more like wrapping, as most of the 'stitches' involve just catching a few threads before wrapping the thread over to the next point. If you're mathematically-minded, it would be fun to come up with your own patterns. A tutorial for my version is here.

Sorry for the tiny thumbnails, the actual images are too wide for the board - click on them for a better view!


12  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Plarn 'airpot'-type planter on: May 20, 2010 09:17:54 AM


Ive started gardening on my balcony recently, and came across the air-pot system. Air pots are a kind of planter with an egg-box-like surface and lots of holes. Normally in a potted plant, when a root hits the side of the pot it is deflected and roots start to grow in a spiral round the pot. Over time, these roots grow into a dense mat which does not absorb water and nutrients very well, and may be prone to rotting and disease. The design of the airpot directs roots, when they reach the edge of the pot, to poke through the holes, where of course they dry out and are pruned by the air. This encourages new roots to grow from the base of the plant, so instead of a thick unhealthy coil of roots at the bottom of the pot you end up with a mesh of new healthy roots spreading throughout the soil. Unfortunately the air-pots are rather expensive, especially if I wanted some shipped to Japan.

holes between the crochet stitches make for healthy rootsIt occurred to me that crocheted plastic bags would have a similar effect the rounded bumps of the stitches would encourage root tips to grow through the holes between the stitches, while the holes would give really good drainage and the layers of plastic would insulate the roots from extremes of hot and cold. So I crocheted a plant pot!

The pattern/tutorial is here, just basically increasing to make a circle and then plain single crochet to make the sides.

I've sown lettuces in mine - hope it works!
13  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Candy-striped wooden pendant on: May 14, 2010 12:42:25 AM


I made another wooden necklace! This one is made of three different woods sandwiched together with wood glue. The finished sanded piece has a groove cut round the edge so that it can be mounted with a single strand of wire.

Full tutorial on my blog, as usual Wink
14  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Super simple felt beret on: May 10, 2010 01:09:30 AM


I had a lot of fun making this but got very soggy *lol*
You just wet-felt over a circle of cardboard (waterproofed and textured with bubblewrap) a bit bigger than your head. I've never made a felt hat before, but am having fun thinking up some new designs!

Full tutorial is on my blog.
15  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Ugly amigurumi and design tutorial on: May 07, 2010 07:57:00 AM


This little guy was a bit of a last minute thing, which is why he is rather wonky and the hook I used was too big for the yarn. I made him as an example of how to write an amigurumi pattern for a post on my blog, he's basically all spheres/half-spheres and tubes, so not particularly challenging.

The completed pattern is:
Quote
Body
sc 6 into magic ring, (6 sts)
sc2 into each st (12 sts)
sc1 increase 1 all round, (18 sts)
Work in sc for 14 rounds
sc 9, (inc 1, sc2) 3 times.
Sc next row plain.
Sc9, (inc 1, sc3) 3 times.
sc next row plain
sc9, (inc1, sc4) 3 times
sc next row plain.
sc9, (inc1, sc5) 3 times
sc next row plain.
(sc4, sc2tog) 6 times
(sc3, sc2tog) 6 times
(sc2, sc2tog) 6 times
(sc1, sc2tog) 6 times
sc2tog 6 times
Draw yarn through remaining stitches and close

Eyes
sc 6 into magic ring,
sc2 into each st
sc1 increase 1 all round,
sc 1 row
(sc1, sc2tog) 6 times sc2tog 6 times
sew to body

Arms
sc 6 into magic ring,
sc2 into each st
sc1 increase 1 all round,
sc 12 rows
Do not close, sew upper edge to body

Feet
sc 6 into magic ring,
sc2 into each st
sc1 increase 1 all round,
sc 6 rows
sc2sts tog 6 times
pass yarn through remaining sts and close.
16  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Koinobori bag on: May 05, 2010 02:09:35 AM

Today (May 5th) is Children's Day in Japan, when families hang up colourful carp banners outside their homes. They inspired this quick fairisle bag Smiley
Free pattern is on my blog - if you already know all about stranded colourwork, scroll to the bottom of the post!
17  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / Yuzen rice-paste resist dyeing (with link to tute) on: April 29, 2010 11:47:28 PM


I've been experimenting with Yuzen dyeing - it's similar in principle to batik, but instead of wax the resist is made from rice paste. Though I can draw I'm hopeless at painting, so my first attempts are kind of blobby, but I've written up a tutorial of my not-quite-traditional method!
18  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Easy cable shrug on: April 28, 2010 03:42:55 AM


I made this as a tutorial project for magic-loop. I didn't realise til I finished it that it looks a bit like the Union Flag - quite fitting for a Brit in Japan *lol*

The pattern is on my blog.
19  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Leather roses (with link to tute) on: April 28, 2010 03:38:57 AM

I was really surprised how easy these were! Tutorial on my blog Smiley

The pattern is basically three large circles spaced round a smaller circle. You need 2 of these, and one piece the same shape but smaller for the middle petals.

Soak the leather in warm water until it goes squishy, then lay the 2 big pieces on top of each other and pull the petals between each other so the two pieces sort of lock together. Then you can mould the petals with your fingers and roll the edges. Do the same for the small piece, and then tie with soft string so they stay in shape and let them dry.

Finish off by gluing the small piece into the middle of the rose.
20  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Simple wood pendant on: April 24, 2010 03:23:58 AM


I fell in love with the grain on this piece of wood and wanted to make something simple and dramatic out of it. Tutorial on my blog!

I simply cut the wood to the length I wanted with a hacksaw, and sanded it smooth. I oiled it, but it made it a bit too dark so I ended up sanding it again to bring up the contrast in the grain.

It's attached to the cord by a double-ended wire loop, glued to the back and held secure with a strip of leather.
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