• Handpicked Harrogate

PomPom Pets

Making a pompom is a great activity to try with kids. It’s quite easy for them to do and quite addictive as well as being good for practicing motor skills. The cost isn’t huge, and it’s not a particularly messy activity. Double Knitting or Aran weight yarn would be perfect for this craft. Lovely local yarn shop, Yarn Etc, stocks a range of beautiful yarns in just about every colour imaginable. Both wool and man-made fibres are available at a range of price points from the store on Knaresborough Road, Harrogate.

What you will need:

A blunt needle - a bodkin or similar. Plastic or metal with a large eye.

Yarn - double knitting weight or Aran weight is ideal but any yarn will work.

Cardboard - ideally corrugated cardboard but anything sturdy will work. I cut up delivery boxes - The smooth ones are best.

To make your PomPom

Trace out two circles the same size on a piece of cardboard. The size of your circle will be the size of your pompom. You can use anything circular to draw around. The bottom of a glass or a cup works quite well. Corrugated cardboard or thicker cardstock works really well. It needs to be able to stand up to repeated handling without buckling too much.

Cut out the circles carefully. Try to keep the edges smooth as that will help later.

Draw a smaller circle right in the middle of each of your cardboard circles. The circles must be the exact same size and in the exact centre of your cardboard circle so draw around something so they are exactly right. The centre circle will dictate how fat and fluffy your pompom will be so don’t make it too small or your pompom will be a bit floppy and sad-looking.

Cut out the small circles carefully. You can poke a hole in the middle and work your scissors in then cut across and cut the circle out.

Hold the two circles together and then thread a long piece of yarn onto your blunt needle. Thread it through the eye double and you can anchor your yarn by going through the loop at the end of the yarn and pulling tight.

Now wrap the yarn evenly around and around circle. Put your needle in at the front of the small central circle, out at the back, over the edge of the large circle, and back in again.

Keep wrapping the yarn over and over, going evenly around the circle, turning it as you go so that you have similar amounts of yarn in each part of the circle.

Keep going, rethreading the needle with yarn as needed, until your circles are fully covered and you can’t push the needle into the centre hole any more. This will create a lovely fat pompom.

Take a pair of scissors and very carefully slide them in between the outer (large) edge of the two cardboard circles. Cut the yarn between the two circles around the outside very carefully all the way around. Take a piece of yarn and slide it in between the two card circles and then tie it in a really tight knot. Take the yarn around again and tie another knot. Then do it again. You want it to be properly tied so do knot it three or four times, taking the yarn around again each time.

Once you have your yarn tied nice and tight around the centre, carefully remove the cardboard circles and your pompom will spring free, lovely and fat and fluffy. Leave the length of yarn which you tied around the middle of your pompom quite long, but you can trim the rest to a neat shape if you find you have some bits that are a bit longer than they ought to be.

If you’ve used a heavy card you should be able to reuse your circles several times to make a number of pompoms before the card buckles.

To make your animal, tie the pompoms together using the long threads you left when you tied them through the middle.

Add some stick on eyes and perhaps some tiny felt ears (either sew the ears onto the pompom or stick them on using PVA glue). Ideas for your pompom menagerie include:

Add small pointed ears and a tail to two attached pompoms to make a cat.

Add larger, droopier cardboard ears to make a spaniel dog.

Create two yellow pompoms and make Easter chicks.

Add some pipe-cleaner legs and make a spider.

Make a large black pompom, carefully cut out some at wings, and sew the wings to the middle of the pompom to create a rather spooky Halloween decoration.

Snowmen – why not use some white yarn with sparkle in for this.

Caterpillars – these are always fun, particularly if your children have got really involved in the pompom making and produced quite a number of them.

If your children get very involved in making these, there are lots of tutorials available online for making a whole range of pompom objects, including pompom hearts, wreaths and of course, the classic use for a pompom; attached to a winter hat. You can add a pompom to any plain, purchased knitted hat if you wish. Just use the long tail that you tied off your pompom with to sew it to the top of the hat.