Temari + Shisha Stitching = Beautiful Ornaments!


Personally, I think Japanese Temari and Indian Shisha stitching compliment each other very nicely! This wasn't exactly where I was going when I started on this path but I really like where I ended up!


My original plan for the Temari? Well, I was thinking of trying to duplicate as nearly as possible the look of this ornament - but using silver thread and glueing craft mirrors to the surface! I mentioned my idea to Diane and she suggested I consider using "that cool stitch used to secure mirrors to fabric".

Hummmmm.... Had no idea what she was talking about! But if she was suggesting it, it HAD to be a good idea so I started Googling until I discovered Indian Shisha embroidery.


Actually I found a whole bunch of different tutorials for attaching little mirrors to fabric and boy am I glad I took the time to try each of them out! Most of my first attempts failed. For lots of reasons. But what I learned was that it is best to use a strong, non stretchy, fairly thick yarn; and the methods that appeared the easiest were not necessarily the best!

Another challenge, to find a Shisha stitch version that could be done fairly easily on a  hard, rigid, unforgiving, curved surface!

Actually, I didn't find the perfect solution on Google at all! The best version was in the last place I thought to look - an encyclopedia of embroidery stitches right in my own library! So to save you trial and error time, I have prepared a tutorial for the stitch variation that I found worked best on a Temari Thread Ball. Find it here!


I don't know what it is about Temari Thread Balls but I am enchanted by their deliciously textured and colorful surface which stricks me as a canvas of limitless possibilities. Actually, I think they are stunning just as they are and have a couple on my tree that are nothing but thread! All I added was a little tassel!

I must not be alone in my enthusiasm for Temari. Diane prepared this wonderful tutorial for making Temari to help me out during my first holiday season and it has remained in the top ten most popular posts on my site ever since!

Pop over and let Diane teach you how to wrap your thread ball and then come back here to see how to give them an Indian flair!

The White Ornament - mirrors, Shisha stitching, gems and hot glue!




Follow Diane's tutorial to wrap your ball and my tutorial here to divide it into 8 vertical sections. Add an "equator".

I used silver embroidery floss in my stash to create the divisions. If I were to do another like this one, I would definitely use a little thicker embroidery floss so the lines stand out more.


The mirrors were all stitched in place using the stitch variation in the "Shisha Stitch on Temari" tutorial and two strands of crewel embroidery floss. I used little craft mirrors available at most craft shops.

After I attached 13 mirrors, I realized two things - I was tired of attaching mirrors and the ball needed "something" in addition to mirrors!

It just so happens that I have a lovely little collection of "gems" found at the thrift store - something I would not usually pick up as I am not exactly a sparkly person. But my muse urged me to put the packet in my basket and I never argue with Muse. Apparently my muse can also see into the future!

It also happens that I have silver sequins from who knows when.

AND an all important hot glue gun!


A few bead ends and the sequins were attached using pins (see Diane's tutorial). The gems were glued on using the hot glue gun. And I added a tassel. Done!

Blue Ornament - gems and hot glue! Quick and easy!


Here is a version you can make in about ten minutes - after wrapping that is! All these beautiful colors were in the little thrift bag of gems!

Pink and blue sapphires and red rubies - gems found in abundance in India. Perfect!


Cover the ball with thread, divide into sections - I liked 8 - no equator needed..


Brace your ball so it won't roll around and hot glue your gems into place. Easy peasy. And quite pretty!

Red ornament - scrap paper, punched tin and embroidery


I occurred to me that little "mirrors" could be made from other reflective materials that would not be as thick as the mirrors and therefore a little easier to attach.

I tried to find palettes at local shops. I remembered Diane showing me some she had found in Mexico and they would have been perfect. But I was unable to locate them - which is actually good because it got me thinking of alternatives!

Very reflective paper in my scrap paper stash AND aluminum pie pans (aka punched tin) in the "recycle" stash.


Again, a thread wrapped ball was divided into 8 parts and given an equator.

This is how I added hanging loops to the ornaments. At the "north pole" I inserted and secured a piece of embroidery yarn leaving a long tail abojut 4" long. Then I made a series of small stitches from each section to it's opposite section.


Finally I cut the thread leaving a tail about 4" long and tied an overhand knot in the end.


Small disks of reflective scrap paper and "punched tin" were secured around the equator using the Shisha stitch. By the time I got to this ornament, I had lots of practice fastening mirrors to the white ornament so the embroidery went quite fast!


At some point while I was happily stitching my way around the ball,  Missy Muse got the bright idea that a little embroidery might add a nice accent. Perhaps some long loop lazy daisy stitches!

Of course, this is easier said than done on a 5" diameter curved, rigid surface. Some alterations in stitch construction were necessary.

Here are the steps I came up with for making a long lazy daisy on a curved rigid surface! P1120776

1. Begin by anchoring the tip of every daisy with a pin. Make all the "daisy petals" before going on to the next step. I placed one in each of the 8 sections.

2. Once all 8 daisy petals have been completed, bring your needle through the thread layers and up right to the inside of the tip of the petal. It helps to lift the pin slightly as shown.


3. Place the needle back into the thread layer just on the other side of the tip of the daisy and bring it back out at the divider yarn just to the right of the daisy petal.


Notice that the yarn is coming out of the thread ball to the right of the divider line.


4. Place the needle back into the thread ball just to the left of the divider line and take it through the thread layer to the next daisy petal tip as shown.




Repeat steps 2 through 4 moving toward the right all the way around the ball.

This particular ornament may - or may not - be a work in progress. I am still debating whether or not to add more embroidery or even small beads. I like it the way it is! But Muse keeps nudging me to think of other possibilities. We shall see. But for now, and for this holiday - it is done!

I am not hanging this set of Temari balls on the tree. Instead, I am hanging them in front of a mirror so light will bounce around the room as they spin in gentle air currents.

I hope the idea of combining Temari Tread Balls and Indian Shisha stitching inspires you to create your own unique versions. Certainly they make beautiful ornaments and gifts.  What teacher or hostess would not love receiving one?

Just so you know, the techniques used to embellish thread wrapped Easter eggs can be adapted easily to round ornaments.  Tutorial is here!

And more Christmas ornaments using thread wrapped balls can be found here.

Added after post!  I just wanted to share a little idea I had after I posted this. 

Unlike my daughter, I am not a button person and I have not shopped for buttons in a long, long time, so I was seriously overwhelmed to see the amazing variety of buttons available today.

Standing completely awestruck recently in a button-y wonderland, it occurred to me that some of those amazing buttons could be secured to a Temari Ball using Shisha!  Just a thought in case anyone wants to give it a try.

Okay, do you not LOVE IT when

Okay, do you not LOVE IT when Diane says to you, 'Maybe that stitch that does that other thing would be groovy for this thing or something like it?'

I've dropped several jaws after some of her suggestions, I tell you.

THIS is beyond words. I would take a picture of my hair standing on end, but it would mean I'd have to get up. And I'm busy reading your blog right now.

I'll send you an order for half a dozen holiday balls, and I'm even willing to wait until next year! They'll be worth the wait.

Incredible. Thanks for

Incredible. Thanks for sharing, I'm already trying to think of ways I can incorporate your ideas into other types of projects.

These are stunning!! And when

These are stunning!!

And when will you be teaching me to do shisa? It does not belong in the "piecrust category." :-)

Diane I will teach you Shisha

Diane I will teach you Shisha any time you like!  And you are right - not in the piecrust category!  You have already proven your mastery in embroidery.  When you were 14. Sigh!

You were right on with your suggestion.  Sooooo juch prettier than just glueing the mirrors onto the surface.  So I owe you one!

Those are just amazing! I've

Those are just amazing! I've always admired your Temari post and thought I'd like to try it someday... but seeing that gorgeous white ornament I might have to not only put that on the "sooner rather than later" project list. But I'll have to learn embroidery as well (something else I've been thinking about lately). I love, love, love that white one! It reminds me of a sparkly, icy, elegant snowball. (Have I ever mentioned to you that I am obsessed with snow/snowflake decorations). I can just imagine a whole tree covered with them- it would be gorgeous!

I love shisha embroidery AND

I love shisha embroidery AND temari balls, but will never have the patience to do any of them! Congratulations, great combination!

Oh my gosh, I am so in

Oh my gosh, I am so in love!!!! Like, hyperventilating in love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was so interesting to

This was so interesting to read. I love the effect of the embroidery on these thread ornaments - gorgeous.
It was interesting to read about the Indian embroidery, as I've had clothes in the past with mirrors, and didn't really think about the way they were sewn on.

Your creativity is just

Your creativity is just stunning!!! These are gorgeous. I have never seen anything like it. Wowzers.