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  Working on Small Mari (Teenies)   

        When working on smaller mari ("Teenies" have become to be known as about 1' diameter, and "Bitsies" about 1/2") there are some things to bear in mind and adjust for. That being said, most people are surprised that many traditional patterns can be worked on such a small scale with very little adjusting. It's so much fun to have a jar of teenies sitting there and watch peoples' expressions as you pour them into their hands. Just like beads or marbles, they are mesmerizing.

        The regular techniques of Temari making hold here, with a few adjustments. Dodai mari are still made from scratch - small bits of bitsiespoly-fill work great, as does a little wad of facial tissue. You can use a small bead or marble inside if a little ballast is needed, but the same rules apply about making versus keeping a round base.

        It does become important on smaller mari that you use fine yarn as the under wrap or you will have lumps that are unforgiving; thicker yarn will also "grow" the mari to the point of being too large. Some crafters use only thread to wrap teenies, and if you have a soft core with a thick thread wrap you will have an adequate stitching surface. I personally still like using a fine yarn underneath.

        Marking can be a little easier than it is on larger mari; most people find that they can work simple divisions and 8 combination by eye with little difficulty on smaller mari. 10 Combination still requires the traditional technique, using a paper strip. Smaller pins such as sequin or applique pins fit the need better if you are truly working a very small mari.

      teenies  Almost any basic pattern can be used, but be advised that very intricate ones are not in line for teenies. Thread gauge may need to be adjusted depending on the design. Pearl #5 can still be used down to about a 1" mari but you will need only 3 to 5 rows, give or take, for the whole design. Using a finer thread such as Pearl #8 or #12, or one or several strands of floss will allow you to work more rounds and achieve a higher resolution in the design.

        It is important to remember that the smaller the mari, the more pronounced the rules of spherical geometry become. This is especially important to remember when working on mari of 16cm circumference (about 2 inches) or less.  The smaller ball has a much more pronounced curve than a larger one. That means paying attention to mistakes - they will magnify greatly if not corrected. Maki kagari generally needs to be supported with additional stitches to hold it in place, since more than 2 or 3 rows of wrapping begins to fall off the curve. That being said, only your imagination will limit what you can do with these little guys. They can also be a great way to use up smaller lengths of thread when you don't have enough for a larger project.         


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