Book Review: Japanese Temari by Barbara B. Suess

The first time I ever saw temari was way back in 2002 when I first moved to Japan. A friend gave me one for my birthday that year and it became one of my most prized possessions. I often wondered how it was made but convinced myself that it was too complicated for me to learn. I was so wrong.

Today I made my first temari ball with the help of Barbara Suess’ book Japanese Temari. I bought this book because I had such wonderful success with her other book Japanese Kimekomi. Similar to her other book, Barbara includes a short history of temari, a list of tools and supplies you will need, basic temari instruction, including everything you need to know about making the base thread ball and the different types of stitches used to create each of her beautiful designs. The book contains 25 designs you can recreate yourself, in order of difficulty. The instructions are straightforward and include colored illustrations to aid in the reader’s understanding.

I’ve never embroidered in my life but Barbara’s easy to follow stitch guide taught me the basics. I highly recommend this book to beginners.

Here is my first temari!

I used the Autumn Moon design for this ball. It’s the 2nd design in the book. I made a few changes as I went along just for the fun of it.

If you already have this book, what do you think? Let’s discuss it in the comments!

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Book Review: Japanese Kimekomi by Suess and Hewitt

I’ve had this book under Related Reading in the side bar for several months now. It’s been on my personal wish list for much longer than that, but due to my living situation it was cost prohibitive to purchase the book until now. And I’m so glad I did!

In Japanese Kimekomi, Barbara Suess and Kathleen Hewitt give easy to follow step by step instructions how to make Japanese kimekomi balls. They include a short history of kimekomi, basic kimekomi instruction, including a list of supplies and specific supply recommendations, as well as 16 designs you can recreate yourself. Suess and Hewitt’s instructions are straightforward and include useful illustrations to aid in the reader’s understanding. The templates in the back of the book are easily photocopied and used as patterns for fabric cutting or drawing a design on a ball. If you are a fan of my kimekomi designs then you will love this book.

Here is a ball I made using one of the patterns in the book.

I love this book for several reasons, one of which is the product recommendations. I’ve been able to improve my craft using several of the products the authors endorse. One of my awesome readers, Sharra from Houston, and I were discussing cutting tools last week and she told me “I checked out the Japanese Kimekomi book I saw on your website and found the hot knife that she uses. It has been WONDERFUL. You should definately check out this knife! I am over the moon with it!”

Another thing I love about this book is that with every design, the authors show you how to play with the patterns to create a new look. With each design given, one or 2 variations are also shown. So 16 designs turn into over 30! I definitely feel like I got my moneys worth.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in making Japanese kimekomi.

Do you already have this book? What do you think? Let’s discuss it in the comments!

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Purchase this book by clicking the link below.