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  Stretch  the Points  

         A much needed skill in temari making is not a stitch or technique but a concept, that of "stretching the points". Were it not for Sue H and Sarah R. sharing their experiences from lessons with Ozaki Sensei during their stays in Japan back in the 1990's, it would have been a much longer road when we al started out together. It's that of, as Sarah said, "stretch the points".

        While Sarah was referring to the bottom points of uwagake chidori kagari, it is actually applicable to all corners (points are really only sharp corners). There has to be space allowance made for the volume of the thread when placing a stitch. Ordinarily this would be about the width of the thread, but when the stitch is a sharp corner, more has to be allowed. This is especially true if it's a point (and therefore every important in uwagake and shitagake chidori kagari as tsumu kagari. There must be enough space around the stitch for the thread to double back on itself at the vertex. Otherwise, there is no place for it to go and points/corners don't lay flat or appear sharp and crisp. The result is a messy appearance, and can be very frustrating.

        The amount of space needed varies on the gauge of the thread, and the acuteness of the angle. An acute angle is one that is less than 90° (degrees). The more acute the angle of the corner or point, the more the stitch has to be "stretched" - that is, taken farther away from what might be thought of the normal position.  The thicker the thread, likewise the larger the stretch needs to be. When working with pearl cotton #5, the amount of stretch is often about 2mm below the previous stitch. However, there is no hard and fast rule. The biggest help is to follow the rule of laying the thread where it needs to be and then take the stitch to keep it there: carry the thread from the upper stitch down to the point, straight along its lay, and where it crosses the marking line is generally where the stitch needs to go.

        On the other hand, neither should there be open space showing between the stitches of the points. A little practice and experience will soon have this being second nature.

stretch points
stretch points
These tutorial photos all show examples of stretch the point - the stitch is being placed farther away from the previous round than instinct may will it to be. The extra space is necessary for the volume of the thread to have a place to lay.
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