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  The Temarikai "Smorgasball" - Jump start for personal composition designs    

        A pending question as the NY 2007 Stitchin was coming up was "what makes an original or personal composition design?" Better yet - how does one ever concoct an original composition design? We'd spent what was some 8 years working on figuring out the basics, cracking the code of Japanese book patterns, and had been adopted by a wonderful JTA qualified mentor, so we were learning. However, the idea of creating a design? Yikes. Then came the parallel question of how do you know it's original?

         The answer to the first question is rather easy: take a read of Original Composition Designs here on TK. It's a temari that you stitch from "inside" you - not following someone else's instructions, be it book, web, kit, etc.; don't get hung up on whether someone else has stitched it before. The second question is easy in theory: a design is a combination of marking, stitches, and styles. In reality, it's a tad tougher: "where do I start?". The StitchIn project of 2007 became what was to come to be known as the "Smorgasball". Participants had with them mari and threads. They were given a "menu" - a list of various temari techniques and stitches, organized in columns, kind of like a choose your entree, starch and veggie dinner - to jump-start the creative process of an original temari design. Basically - a little of this, a little of that, a tad of that stuff over there - like a Swedish Smorgasbord ("Smorgasball" was coined by Karin K., attending the StitchIn from Sweden).

        Yes. Well. Ahem. I wasn't sure I was going to live to see dinner that night, with the looks that came back at me when I described the project in the morning. And yes, we had a few that broke ranks and spent the time working on other temari projects. However, by the end of the day, there were a few eureka moments - and even more of them after everyone went home (that was a huge StitchIn, about 26 people). The Smorgasball, as it became known, became a hot topic of discussion on the TalkTemari list, with people admitting that while stitching & thinking on the spur of the moment as a group project wasn't the coziest, when they had more time to think, dither and play when they got home, things were clicking.

        It's easy to make up your own menu, but minds tend to go blank at the most inopportune times. Here's one you can play with (though by no means complete). The idea is choose a technique, stitch, style, etc. from each column (or more than one, depending, and in no particular order), and use them to create a design, as a jump start, rather than sitting there staring at a blank mari for unending hours waiting for inspiration. It's not about "has someone else done this before?" but rather how can you combine a few (or more) elements for a temari.

Basic Stitches (see the ToolKit)
Beyond the Basics
Simple Division
8 Combination Division
10 Combination Division
Extra Marking Lines
Remove Marking Lines
Stitch “Off the Grid”
Invisible marking lines
Use different thread types
Chidori Kagari
Uwagake Chidori Kagari
Shitagake Chidori Kagari
Maki Kagari
Tsumu Kagari
Matsuba kagari
Mitsubane Kikkou Kagari
Hoshi Kagari
Sakasa Uwagake Kagari
Modified Uwagake
Kousa Style
Nejiri Style
Vary thread spacing
Free Embroidery
Woven detail
Matsuba Kagari


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