Knit Picks Mighty Stitch Yarn

Making Pom-Poms

Pom-Poms are so cute! However, making them was a huge frustration for me for a very long time. They either fell apart, or just looked stupid. Using cardboard always seemed to get messy (and the cardboard folded after a few rounds).

About 15 years ago I learned how to make tiny ones using a fork. And I mean TINY! But I wanted the BIG goofy ones that you put on top of a hat. I couldn't find a method I like.

Honestly, I thought of this while making cornbread. I was putting the beaters on my mixer and suddenly realized that the beaters were the PERFECT size! So have a look and enjoy making really cute looking, large, pom-poms - - - the easy way.

Making Pom-Poms, Free Lesson

Materials for Small and Large Pom-Poms

Yarn: The yarn you pick for your Pom-Poms is SO VERY IMPORTANT! So, I want to address this first because not all yarn is created equal when it comes to making them. You need a slightly rough, 3 or 4 ply, yarn that clings to itself rather well. Red Heart Super Saver, Caron One Pound, most Wool is very good.

As soon as the manufacturer starts 'softening' the yarn, or making it 'silky' feeling, you'll start having problems with your Pom-Poms. Yes, you can use these, you can use anything you want, but you're going to have to 'play' with it a bit to get a good looking one. I will cover making adjustments a little later.

To Wrap: For small ones you need a fork, this makes a Pom-Pom about an inch wide. For large ones use a beater from your mixer. You will be able to trim, making it the way you want it to look. Great looking ones are about 3 inches wide.


Other: I find a small pointed scissors works best for me. Your scissors needs a good point to cut the yarn and get all the loops. I use a yarn needle to help me wrap the tie thread, but it isn't a critical item.

Making Small, 1 Inch Pom-Poms

Like I said above, it was about 15 years ago that I learned how to make tiny pom-poms using a fork. I had made a scarf for a cousin of mine and she wanted the "little poms" instead of fringe or an edging. I was going through several pieces of cardboard making them, and destroying the cardboard in the process. One of my children was watching and snacking, and left their fork on the table ...

Some people wrap the yarn around the center two tines of the fork, some tie it on, I just hold it, loose end down, and start wrapping. In about one or two wraps I can go over the loose end and it's secured.

Standard 4 ply yarn takes about 30 - 35 wraps all the way around.

3 ply (or often called Baby yarn) takes about 35 - 40 wraps all the way around.

NOTE: More wraps does NOT make a thicker pom-pom. It makes a thicker middle that looks bad.

Cut a piece of yarn from your skein, about 6 to 8 inches long. I thread my yarn needle to do this, but that comes from 58 year old hands.

Push the yarn down through the center tine of the fork closest to the base, outside the yarn you wrapped.

Bring the yarn around the back ...

and back up the outside of the center tine.

Tie the two ends together just enough to secure the bundle. This is not your final tie, so don't knot it.

Slide the bundle off the fork. It doesn't look like much at this point.

Now it's time to pull the tied ends together - tight. And then knot it. If you have a friend close by, ask them to put a finger on the knot. If you're by yourself you're going to need to get creative to secure a really tight knot. I've been known to get my teeth involved in the process.

Next, flip it over and tie it in a TIGHT knot again. Don't skip this step or your pom-pom will start losing threads after awhile.

The moment of truth ...

Holding on to the back and front, with the loops facing you, start snipping the loops.

Now you can see why I like my little scissors.

Keep snipping all the way around. Go slow trying to catch them all. And try to keep your cutting at the center, highest edge, of the loops.

VERY IMPORTANT: Do NOT cut the long ends that are from your tieing. You will want to use these ends later to attach the Pom-Poms to whatever you are making.

When you're done cutting you'll have a scraggly looking little pom-pom. It needs a good haircut.

Carefully trim it so it's as round as you can get it. Don't obsess, just trim the scraggly ends.

Making Large, 3 Inch Pom-Poms

Here's where my mixer and the cornbread came in. I was working on a hat that just screamed the need for something on top. The little pom-pom looked stupid. I needed to make a bigger one. After several attempts I got frustrated and went in the kitchen to make some cornbread. As I was putting the beaters on my mixer the light bulb went on!

Same principle as the fork! Because I was making a bigger one I decided to try more wraps.

60 wraps = a loose, fun, floppy one.

120 wraps = a pretty standard one.

160 wraps = nice and tight.

Over those numbers and the middle starts getting bulky.

I thread my yarn needle to do this.

Pull your thread around ONLY one section. This is different than the fork. You just want to pick up the yarn that's in one section of the beater.

Tie it, but don't knot it.

Pull the bundle off the beater.

Now you tie it tight!

You are not going to flip it, so knot it - then add one more knot. The important thing is to make sure it's tight. A friend can help.

This is what 60 wraps looks like.

Here you see the floppy mess you end up with, after cutting the loops.

It needs a hair cut.

A little haircut makes it look much nicer.

Note: The closer you cut to the middle, the more dense it becomes. A floppy one (like above) could use a hair cut, but would be great for a baby's hat (baby hats shouldn't have dense ones, as it would make their heads sit to one side).

In this picture I held two colors of yarn together, and still did 60 wraps. If you were only using one color it would equal 120 wraps.

NOTE: Still only use one piece of yarn to tie it, or you'll end up with a bulky middle that will separate.

Here's the floppy version, just after cutting the loops.

Because there are more threads in the green and yellow one, I didn't need to cut a lot off to make it the same texture as the yellow one.

A little more trimming and you can see it takes on a nice Pom-Pom look. Both the yellow (at 60 wraps) and the green and yellow (at 60 wraps with two strands of yarn) are now the same size, about 3 inches wide.

Making Adjustments

You will most likely have to make a few before you get the hang of it.

The main things to remember:
* Play with this idea and practice a few. Especially when trying a new yarn.
* If you get a separation you have two reasons; 1) the yarn isn't 'sticking' together, or 2) your middle is too fat (try fewer wraps).
* The closer you cut to the middle (making them smaller) the more dense they become. USA, LLC

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