Temari: Japanese embroidered balls

I regularly browse the shelves of my local bookstores to find craft books and I stumbled across one about "Temari", an ancient Japanese craft. I didn't buy it the first time though, I thought that embroidery was not my thing, but then I saw it again and decided that I should give it a try. I'm glad I did! These thread balls are fun to make, relaxing, and I find the endless variations of patterns mesmerizing. I did 1 complete ball and started another, following the book (by Anna Diamond) step by step. I do not like all the patterns in the book but the descriptions are good.

By looking on the internet I also found several web sites related to Temari, the best I've seen (and bookmarked) is Temarikai.com. It contains a lot of info for the beginner or advanced Temari adept. There are also a good deal of free patterns.
When I'll get more experienced I'll try the mystery pattern, this is a challenge where you only get written instruction, no picture, see if you can get it right... Sounds fun!

Steps to create a Temari:

I have written a description on how to make the star pattern (chrysanthemum). Temarikai.com has a nice description, with lots of pictures.
In a nutshell here is what you will have to do:
  1. Randomly wrap a polystyrene ball (3'') with thick thread, cover the entire ball
  2. Do it again with a sewing thread. This thread will show so choose the color carefully. The thread must completely hide the previous one
    You will need a lot of thread and a cheap one is OK.
  3. Pins are regularly placed on the ball, depending on which pattern you want to do.
    This is the tricky part and it is well described in Anna Diamond's book so I'm just giving you the short version:
    She uses a thin strip of paper that goes around the ball at its widest. She places a pin at the North pole (anywhere), then fold the piece of paper in half: this gives the location of the second pole. Folding it again gives the location of the equator line. Folding it again gives the 8 points on the equator where the 8 spokes will be.
  4. A marking thread (usually metallic) is placed on the ball, linking the pins, and creating triangular, square, pentagonal, etc. shapes that will be embroidered.
  5. The ball is embroidered using patterns that you can find on the books, in the internet, or that you can create. The embroidery thread is usually cotton perle DMC #5, and the stitch is a herringbone (see images below)