revenge of the pompom

Some of you may remember that in a recent post, I appeared to express an aversion to pompoms. Let me explain: I don’t, in fact, dislike pompoms in and of themselves, but merely hate the process of making the chuffers. Clearly, I have been scarred by interminable evenings spent wrestling with wonky cardboard rings, scissors, and escaping yarn strands. . . I thought I never wanted to create another pompom ever . . . but recently I have had a change of heart

After reading my anti-pompom post, Ina and Pokey were kind enough to send me a pompom maker. The bits of plastic you see above come in several different sizes, slot together in an incredibly nifty way, and are a total revelation! Oh, nifty plastic pompom maker, where have you been all my life?

Before I knew where I was, this had happened:

and then this:

and then this:

Those of you who left a pro-pompom comment on my anti-pompom post will no doubt be pleased to hear that I have now designed a hat atop which one of these mahoosive woolly balls will sit, rivalling the wearer’s heid with its gigantic proportions.

All being well I’ll be able to reveal the revenge of the pompom design in a couple of days. . . .

Thankyou so much, Ina and Pokey, for your wonderful pompom maker gift!

53 thoughts on “revenge of the pompom

  1. I know exactly what you mean. Buying a pompom maker revolutionised my view (and use) of pompoms. It was a clever person who came up with the idea!

  2. We bought one of these a few months ago and they ARE so addictive. We’re going to be making a Christmas wreath out of ours, I think. The kids have been trying with different fiber contents to see what happens. Cotton worsted is really hard to cut, but turn out looking so neat!

  3. If only I’d known about this when I taught 7 and 8-year-olds how to knit and make pompoms. Thought we’d try the wrapping round the fingers method instead of the cardboard, and poor wee things nearly cut their circulation off despite me saying in my most authoritative voice “keep your fingers nice and loose and wide apart”.

  4. These gadgets are brilliant especially since we are working with innocent smoothies again this year and every design needs a pom pom. BTW Grazia this week is saying that pom pom hats are bang on trend – you style guru, you ;)

  5. This is a funny coincidence because, having enjoyed making a lot of pom-poms as a child, I tried to make one recently and couldn’t remember how. I didn’t even think such things as pom-pom makers existed! I must have been totally back in child mode as well, because I didn’t think to look on the web for instructions either. I just grumpily gave up.

    But now I’ve found this nifty template for making your own cardboard pom-pom maker and thought I’d share it:

    Now I just have to find where I put the project that I gave up on…

  6. Looks like a handy gadget, I’m just about to make a pom pom for atop my newly knitted beret and now I’m thinking maybe I’ll just pom pom my whole stash of yarn oddments? Not really, but I’m a little tempted :)

  7. I too have recently been rescued from my hatred of pompoms by the love a good pompom maker. They are wonderful little gadgets aren’t they? So clever! I am contemplating using up some scraps of yarn and making a pompom garland for my Christmas Tree.

  8. Pompoms are the worst. I will continue to stand by this argument till my dying breath. I even have a maker! I still hate them.

  9. Be very careful indeed. I was lent one of these a couple of years ago and went mad (try ribbon yarn). No, don’t. I ended up providing all the decorations for our male voice choir’s Christmas show. You could hardly see the lads.

    There is a plus side. It uses up your stash brilliantly and, if they are just doomed to be Christmas decorations, acrylic is fine…. mine were, of course, kindly donated to the Hall. Phew. Have given pom-pom maker back.

  10. Oh….I so agree…I love ’em, but can’t seem to ever make them look right! I’ve tried many little pompom makers…none to my liking…perhaps I need to go hunt this one down?!

    Thanks…I love the images :)

  11. I rather like to adorn my berets with a small pom pom or a button if I do not add a nub. The pom pom maker you were gifted is a nice design and makes forming the wooly balls easier. I confess to having made one massive pom pom for a little hat that thankfully was a sample. It might have tipped the wearer over!

  12. I was with you all the way, Kate but nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww – going out to see if I can find one of those darlings right this minute :) :)

  13. I got a set of these in a crafting kit when I was about 10 years old which is almost 50 years ago – my mom always found great craft stuff for us. I still have them and they are the greatest! They have made many pompoms over the years.

  14. After Shetland wool week, we stayed a couple of days in Edinburgh – and I have never seen so many pompom hats around before. Some pompom trend going on, maybe?

    1. What a beautiful sight! I urge everyone here to check out this link – sheep wearing pompons and “pearly queen” jackets. Lovely!

  15. How wonderful! I also got very carried away with pompom-making one afternoon (it’s so easily done!!) and have a rather large backlog of poms to ‘get through’ somehow.

  16. Yup. Those great plastic gizmos seem like an embarrassing extravagance, that is until you make the most luxurious, symmetrical pom pom. Then you are hooked, and making excuses to acquire them in all sizes. I am partial to the Rube Goldberg-like Clover contraptions.

  17. I’m not really pro or anti pompoms. I’ve not actually made any since I was in primary school though. Might be just the thing for new nephew’s hat though.
    Can’t wait to see the new design

  18. Not too sure whether I would like to wear something with pompoms… But I have to say, your post makes me lean to a very much ‘in favor’ !
    Besides, I think there is something irresistably cute about that group of green pompons…

  19. Wonderful Kate! Look forward to your new design using pom-poms as I know it will be wonderful!! When I first got these same plastic pieces, I could not figure them out, even w. pictorial directions. But they did turn out to be wonderful!

  20. I’m so glad to read these favorable reviews of pompon makers, because I knew that that cardboard-template business was never going to work for me. Great enabling job, Kate!

  21. I don’t think I’ve found the right pompom maker. I just make them by hand and that’s worked out so much better for me.

    Your pompoms are great; can’t wait to see the hat!

  22. I, too, have spent arduous afternoons wrassling with cardboard rings. You have cemented my suspicion that I should have a set of those little plastic pom-pom makers.

  23. Such a funny post! I love Pom poms but strongly dislike making them with my two little pieces of cardboard. Who knew poms poms were such notorious little embellishments?! I have a feeling that local wool shops around the world are going to see a rush on Pom Pom makers since the writing of this, your, post. Have a great day!

  24. I used to love making pompoms; they were one of the first things my Mum taught me how to make in which I believed I had mastered some modicum of expertise.

    I was obsessed with making each pompom very tight and very fluffy, and the concealment of the final length of yarn used to pull all the strands in was of utmost importance. A final trim resulting in something dense and perfectly spherical from all angles were also key to my 7-year old’s evolving strategy of Total PomPom Success.

    Once I understood and perfected these tenets of Total PomPom Success, I smugly critiqued the inferior skills of my compadres, whom I felt lacked the necessary discipline to wind an adequate number of lengths of yarn around their cardboard circles; or who possessed insufficient strength for pulling that final length of yarn tight enough.

    My overblown pride at being able to make perfect pompoms out of cereal packets and yarn was almost certainly an overcompensation for how shit I was at PE! Now I realise that probably my poor buddies were just in dire need of pompom makers.

    Am excited to see the amazing POMPOM design! They are so brilliantly festive and silly and fun.

  25. … well said my dear kate and bruce of course who certainly must have approved of the abundance of pom pons created … we are partial to the simplicity of the ones we sent kate … what is of utmost importance is diligent care in winding the yarn evenly and with the correct tension so as to minimize the trimming that might ensue otherwise … then it’s like trimming bangs … they get shorter and shorter … a perfect pom pom requires absolutely minimal trimming upon completion … go out and get yourself one of these gizmos … super duper fun!!! hi paw … from us across the pond!!!

    p.s. … the susan bates brand via are the ones we sent to kate!
    p.s. 2 … the new hat is absolutely GORGEOUS! we want!!! ha ha …

  26. I got those things when I was a little kid (early 60’s) They came in a kit called “pom pom pets” and I still have the booklet on how to make duckies, ladybugs etc, pipe cleaners and little google eyes were involved I saw they cardboard ones my Mother used to make them with it is indeed the hard way. ;)

  27. Never made pompoms with cardboard rings, always with cardboard strips. Tape down a length of yarn to the strip, then wind around and around… it always takes more than you think it will. Pull out the strip (mine are usually about 1″ x 10″ or so), pull the center string tight, cut the loops, pull the center string *tighter* and tie. Trim and done!
    With this reminder of pompoms, I’ve got about 10 done already and more on the way… What will I do with them all? Perhaps my niece will get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Thanks! ;)

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About Kate Davies

writer, designer and creator of Buachaille (100% Scottish wool)