Friday, February 3, 2012

My traveling rainbow

   It's impossible to get embroidery thread other than floss in our little mountain town in Costa Rica. Because of my interest in temari, this year I brought a box of #5 perle cotton wrapped onto bobbins in a wide variety of colors. I'm really looking forward to using as many of them as I can.
   Japanese temari are often made with rice husks as their filling. I think that coffee husks are similar and last week I walked to a coffee plantation where I know the people. It's coffee harvest time here, so a very good time to ask for husks and they gave me an ample supply. (For scale, the scoop is one cup.) Normally they use the husks as mulch, which they refer to as organic fertilizer.
  I've already stitched a few temari since we got here.
The nitty-gritty: I found instructions for the swirl pattern at on page 9 of patterns. I used them on the blue swirl ball. However, I wasn't happy that the polygons I got were very irregular and the diamonds were hard to stitch. So Mr. Rududu did some spherical mathematics for me to improve the pattern.  Here's my improved method, which gives regular hexagons and squares:

1. Mark a simple 4 division with an equator.
2. Measure the distance from the north pole to the equator.
3. Multiply that number by .295 to get the number from each center to corners of the hexagon.

The result is an Archimedian Polyhedron  called a "truncated octahedron" described in about 260 BC by Archimedes. The famous knitter Elizabeth Zimmermann calls this "unventing" something because many people use the same ideas and there's not that much new under the sun. I used this method to stitch the white swirls.
   The other temari is a variation of a pattern called Belts and Buckles by Robin Stein. It can be found here. I left out the buckles for lack of space but am very happy with how it looks. I plan to do a picker version and put in the buckles.


Laura B said...

Do the temari have a lovely coffee smell? How fun wuld that be!!

Carolina said...

Unfortunately there isn't any delicious coffee smell. It has a very pleasant light aroma which I don't even notice once the ball is wrapped.