Some Temari stitching techniques
and patterns call for using keeper
... that is, pins that are placed in the mari not so much
for indicating where to take a stitch, but for holding threads in place
as you work a design or stitch. Without a doubt, keeper pins can be a
bane or a blessing; some
stitchers think they cause more hindrance than help because the thread
gets caught on them. Others have pins all over in the temari they are
working on, and more find a happy medium (it's everyone's personal
choice - there is no "keeper pin police"). If you don't like using them
and can achieve the stitch or design outcome without them, that's fine.
You will see keeper pins called for in many pattern directions so it's
worth knowing what they are needed for.
The most common use of
keeper pins is using a pair of pins to hold bundles of threads together
when they cross each other (often at the equator line). Jyouge Douji
north-south stitching) is the most common example. As you build up
rows, a bundle of thread is created at each place that the threads cross
each other. It is important to keep these threads in place, and
to keep them
neat (flat and aligned) as you work, since later on you will finish them
in some way - perhaps either over-stitching or wrapping. How neatly the
appearance of the design turns out will be determined by how well
controlled the bundles of threads were as your worked.
Note that keeper pins are helpers
- make them work for you. You will most likely need to adjust them as
your work progresses and more threads build up between them. It's fine
to open up the pins a bit and reposition them as needed. It's also helpful
to place one above and one below the equator.
While it is possible to "groom"
the thread alignment after you are through stitching, it usually cannot
be done to the degree needed to correct not keeping the threads neat to
start with. This will ultimately affect the outcome of your design, no
matter how precise your other stitching is. In situations like this the
keeper pins are usually kept in place until the design is complete and
whatever anchor you are using on them is completed.
The other common use of keeper
pins is when working Tsumu
, commonly known as "spindles". Once the spindle
shape has been set up after a few rows and the design element is
pins can be removed. This can happen other times when keeper pins are
needed - they may not be needed through the whole project so you can
remove them after they serve their purpose.
While larger-sized head pins are
shown in the photos, it is for illustration purposes. You'll find that
smaller-head pins are easier to use. First, it's easier to see around
the smaller ones when placing stitches. More importantly, the smaller
heads will be a bit more forgiving in terms of snagging the threads as
you stitch. There is no getting around this, and the purpose of the
keeper pins far outweighs the inconvenience of the threads catching the
pins as you work; just work carefully. Pull your thread through a
bit more slowly as you complete the stitch so it doesn't twist or
tangle, which makes it more likely to catch on the pins. Be picky about
your pins: use ones with smooth heads and no other damage. Metal or
glass head pins are usually smoother than plastic. Lastly - when
stitching and you are pulling your thread through, turn your mari so the
pin heads are upside down - works like a charm to lessen snagging, since
the thread usually dangles below the pins.
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