While I was in Honolulu last week, I began to notice that a lot of stitchers are into traditional and contemporary Japanese embroidery and thread crafts. These thread art forms are vibrant, fun – and often easy!
Temari balls are a terrific example of a colorful Japanese thread craft that anyone can learn. Temari are made of yarn wrapped around a soft core, and embellished with DMC pearl cotton. As your skills grow, so will the complexity of the Temari you create.
The name means hand ball in Japanese, and the balls were originally created for children. Today, they are a symbol of good luck, and are given as gifts on special occasions, or to decorate the home.
All of the balls shown here were created by designer Barbara Seuss, and were featured in her book, Japanese Temari, a Colorful Spin on an Ancient Craft, available on her website as well as online and local bookstores. You can also see dozens of inspiring samples in her Temari Gallery.
Japanese designer Kyoko Maruoka is also creating fun, colorful thread crafts on her Gera! site including these adorable purses. Her site is full of inspiration for unique ways to use surface embroidery! Also, be sure to check out the patterns on her freebies page.
Sashiko, a form of Japanese embroidery that is popular with quilters, is another popular art form using intricate running stitch patterns, stitched in Pearl Cotton. You can find free patterns and ideas for Sashiko on Australian designer Karen McAuliffe’s Designs in Stitches web site.
Another thread craft from Japan, inspired by a series of books called Kyuuto (which means “cute” in Japanese) is gaining popularity as well. It’s similar to crewel or surface embroidery, but with an Asian twist.
These Asian-inspired thread crafts are popular, fresh and exciting!