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Figure A

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Figure B

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Figure C

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Figure D

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Figure E

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Figure F

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Figure G

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Figure H

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Figure I

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Figure J


Simple and inexpensive materials are easy to find and fun to combine. A StyrofoamŪ ball forms the core, a layer of batting is applied and trimmed to the ball, thin yarn is randomly wrapped over, then sewing thread is randomly wrapped on the outside of the ball. These layers produce a cushioned surface to stitch into. Preparation of a ball takes only about 20 minutes.

The Secret... A plain paper strip with no numbers creates all of the patterns! The strip measures the ball in different directions. Each time, the length is the same because it is a ball. Colored glass-headed pins mark the North Pole, South Pole and Equator.

First, the strip is pinned to the ball with the North Pole pin. The strip measures around the ball, the excess is cut off. Then, it is folded in half - half the length of the strip marks the South Pole. Then fold in fourths - a fourth of the strip's length marks the Equator. Pins are placed around the ball against the 1/4 divisions on the strip. This line of pins creates the Equator. The strip is removed from the ball and folded into eighths, and 8 pins may be placed, equally spaced, around the Equator.

Any number of divisions may be  made around the Equator - 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, etc. Divisions are also placed between the Poles and the Equator on the mark lines. These create Cube Sides and Pentagon divisions.

This simple method of measuring gives perfect precision to mark the patterns of Temari!

Sample Temari Ball Steps:


  • foam ball 2-1/2 inches to three inches in diameter
  • polyester fiberfill batting
  • fine weight colored yarn
  • sewing thread - medium spool color to match yarn
  • DMC Pearl Cotton #5 in selected colors
  • gold or silver metallic thread
  • colored glass-headed pins
  • needles: yarn darners #18, 2-1/4-inch long with large eye
  • paper strips - 1 per ball, cut to measure 3/8-inch wide (paper cutter and 20 lb. bond copier paper work best)


1. Cut two pieces of batting in 3" x 6" rectangles.

2. Place the rectangles on the foam ball so that their interlocking fit resembles the two pieces of a baseball cover that is sewn together.

3. Pin the batting in place and trim the corners of the rectangular pieces (figure A).

4. Randomly wrap enough colored yarn around the ball to cover the white color of the batting (figure A). Remove the pins.

5. Wrap random colors of sewing thread around the ball to cover the yarn. Stitch the ends of the thread into the ball.

6. Visually divide the ball into North and South hemispheres (figure B). Measuring is the key to successfully dividing the ball. Anywhere on the ball, place a white pin on the spot where you want the North Pole to be.

7. Use the white pin at the North Pole to attach the end of a paper strip, folded to a 3/8-inch width, to the ball.

8. Wrap the paper strip around the middle of the ball so that the strip passes over the South Pole and ends at the North Pole (figure C). To obtain an accurate measurement of the circumference of the ball, repeat this step at several different longitudes. Stick the pin at the very tip of the paper, as indicated.

9. When you are satisfied with your measurement, cut off any excess paper on the strip, so that both ends meet exactly at the North Pole when the strip is wrapped around the ball.

10. With one end still attached to the North Pole, crease the strip in half. In other words, make a fold in the paper where it passes over the South Pole.

11. With scissors, place a tiny notch in the fold (figure D).

12. To find the best location for the South Pole on your ball, wrap the strip around the ball, and place a black pin at the notch you made in step 11. Check the pin placement by wrapping the strip around the ball at several different longitudes. Adjust the location of the black pin as needed. Be patient.

13. To find the Obi Line (i.e., the equator), fold the paper strip in half, and then halve it again (figure E).

14. With scissors, place a tiny notch in the fold.

15. Wrap the strip around the ball again, and place pins around the ball at the notches you made in Step 14 to delineate the equator.

16. Insert another white pin at the North Pole. Remove the first pin and the paper strip.

17. Fold the strip again, but this time in eighths. To do this, simply fold the strip in half three consecutive times.

18. With scissors, place a tiny notch in the fold.

19. Attach one end of the strip to the middle of the ball under one of the pins at the Equator (figure F).

20. Wrap the strip around the equator and attach it to the ball, with the equator pin opposite your beginning point.

21. Using your paper as your guide, create an even line around the ball by placing a pin at each eighth notch on the strip.

22. Using the pins as alignment and spacing guides, wrap metallic threads around the ball to create divisions (figure G). Division threads are attached to the ball where they initially attach to the ball and where they end on the ball. They divide the ball into eight equal vertical sections resembling those of an orange.

23. Measure four wraps of thread around the circumference of the ball.

24. Thread your needle, and knot the thread's end.

25. Enter the needle at the North Pole pin.

26. Using the pins around the equator and the pin at the South Pole as guides, wrap the string around the ball four times so that you've created eight identical divisions around the ball.

27. Stitch the end of the thread into the North Pole.

28. Tack the North and South Pole intersections in place after you have created the sections.

29. Sewing an Obi Line around the equator will keep the eight longitudinal lines in place. Cut a length of thread that is three times the diameter of the ball. This is easily measured by wrapping the thread around the circumference of the ball three times.

30. Thread your needle, knot the thread's end, and sew the beginning of the thread into the ball at one of the pins delineating the equator.

31. Using the equator pins as your guide, wrap the thread once around the ball in a straight line.

32. Wrap the thread around the ball in the same fashion again, but this time, tack down the longitudinal lines from under the ball's surface at each place that they intersect the equator.

33. Repeat Step 31 with the remaining thread, and stitch the end of the thread into the ball at the point where it was first inserted into the ball.

34. Now you are ready to create adesign. One basic stitch will create most of your design. The basic stitch can take many shapes, a square, a zigzag, a triangle or a circle, just by changing its direction (figure H). Most of the patterns are variations of the basic stitch. Because you're sewing on a ball and the surface threads are random, you can go in any direction. You are not limited to up-and-down , side-to-side or flat embroidery stitches (figure I).

35. Use colored pins to divide the lines again when you establish your pattern stitches.

36. Use a long needle to reach under the ball's surface. The needle must have a large eye to accommodate large thread: Pearl Cotton #5 and the metallic gold or silver thread that creates the design.

37. Apply layers of thread shapes using numerical order. Keep track of where you are by pinning little numbered tabs to the ball. These will keep you going in the right direction. It's as easy as following the dots!

38. There are simple tricks that guide threads: little gates to cross through or paper bridges to cross under or over (figure J). Only three basic divisions make all the patterns: 1) the North Pole/South Pole/equator division, 2) a division that applies the six square sides of a cube, and 3) a division that applies pentagons. With these three divisions and the basic stitch, thousands of patterns have evolved. After a few basic lessons, you can begin to create your own patterns with your own colors. The combinations are endless.

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