Monday, November 29, 2010

kate's adventures in pom pom making!

As many of you know, I am a big fan of the pom pom. I've been brainstorming, blogging, and dreaming about the wonders of those little yarn fluffs for quite some time and whenever given the chance I've snapped up all the pom pom makers I can get my hands on! Well the time has finally come for me to share my pom-tastic experiences with you and critique the three pom pom makers I own. Excited? I am! Let's go:

I picked up this gem at the bargain basement loveliness that is dress sew in vancouver. It seemed like such a deal for 99cents! I mean it's magic! and proudly boasts an exclamation mark! The added punctuation surely means it's a steal right? The directions seem simple enough too:

Yup, just wind your yarn around, tie them together, and cut! Then a little tease and tidy and you're set! Pom pom magic! Sounds like a dream! Here's how it actually went down:

It was initially super awesome. I really enjoyed being able to wind that yarn around the prongs so quickly and the grooved edges made snipping a breeze! Then its awesomeness plummeted quite drastically when I discovered my magic pom was actually a messy hashbrown looking haystack thing. It's ok. Just a little tease and tidy right? Wrong. Dead wrong. I am pretty sure I spent 30 minutes trimming that awful mess trying to make a round ball. Whew! And what a mess! The resultant pom pom was about half the size as the original scruffy ball and there was a ridiculous amount of wasted yarn. *Sigh* But it did start out fantastically...and pom pom magic lets you make two different sized fluffs:

So my verdict? Pom pom magic = fail. That exclamation mark is false advertising. I am additionally bitter about this product because I snipped my hand during the excessive trimming stage. Boo. Oh well...moving on...

Welcome pom-pom pals book and craft kit! Perhaps the hyphen is more promising than the previous products exclamation mark! Plus this one didn't cost me a penny because I got it for xmas last year! And when I took it off the shelf I found a $10 bill inside from the last time I used it! Double win! This trial is looking up already! Check out the contents:

Added bonus - amazingly clear (and illustrated) instructions:

Let's see how I made out:

I must start off by saying that this pom pom would have been amazingly frustrating to make if I had actually wound a single strand of yarn around the circle like the instructions show. Instead I used my keen crafting senses and wound multiple strands (hooray for added efficiency!). After I wrapped an outrageous amount of wool around those card circles I did have a little difficultly snipping around the edges, but at least the resultant pom pom sort of resembled a ball shape! Then just a little trim (very little waste pile this time) and fluff and voila! A gorgeous large pom! And no...this kit doesn't make your pom poms magically change colour...I just wanted to keep the image montage consistent...

Biggest downfall of this kit? The super cheap card circles they give you. I highly doubt they would last very long (depending on your pom pom production) but check out how sad they looked after two poms:

But they did do the job. Plus the kit is really all about the book of pom pom pal patterns (whew alliteration!) so I still think it was a good investment! Any excuse to make more pompoms! Yay!

Now for my final trial:

This gadget I picked up for about $3 in smithers (of all places) while visiting my sister this fall. I liked the idea of the 5-in-one versatility and it didn't exactly break the bank. Check out their instructions (once again illustrated and uber simple):

Wait a minute...pom pon?

Does this mean I will be able to take my pom pom making to the next level? The pom pon level perhaps? Or is it a typeo? Apparently is on the package too. Hmm...let's take it for a spin:

Once again I went for the speedy route and used multiple strands of yarn at a time. Although I did notice that these instructions suggest doubling up your yarn so it is step up from the last kit! Time to wind that yarn! It quickly became apparent that smaller poms are much more difficult to make once your circles get covered. Don't know about you - but my fingers are much to large to pull those strands through that tiny center hole! Crochet hook to the rescue (another genius move thanks to my crafty senses):

Also a convenient shot to show off my pom pom magic wound - darn you! Anyways...I used a 3.5mm hook which worked quite well and made the crafting much easier. Then to trim around the edged (made fantastically easy with that sweet V-groove), tie it up, and rip those plastic circles off (somewhat difficult for my weak hands - but I managed). Plus it already looks pretty ball like! A quick little snip here and there and you're done! And hey - that is only the inner pink circle guide. You've still got 4 other sizes to chose from:

Great! Certainly an upgrade from the disastrous messy pom the first trial gave me and the V-groove and plastic construction made me appreciate them more than their cardboard relatives. I would have really appreciated not having to unwind huge quadrupled up strands of yarn to annoyingly thread through that tiny middle hole - but all in all the pom pon making was a success. All the pom pom makers I've found that remedy all my yarn winding woes aren't very practical purchases for me since the shipping to canada pretty much triples their price tag and a little yarn struggle isn't worth a $30 price tag in my books...or at least not yet...

So what's next for my adventures in pom pom making? You'll have to wait until I've made a big stash of poms to see...but I am enjoying my darling yarn fluff babies I've lovingly handcrafted so far:

Does anyone have any tips or tricks for pom pom making? Trials and tribulations perhaps? I would like to think I'm not the only who suffers from so many crafting injuries...but pom poms are just so awesome! I can't help but get carried away with my snipping with pom poms on the brain! How pom-tastic! Pom-cellent! Pom-derful? Pom-velous? Pom-sational? Yes! Pom poms for the win!


  1. pomtastic, bombastic!

  2. As you know, I am nowhere near a crafter, but in my uneducated opinion, this is absolutely the best blog post you have ever done. A thousand awesomes.

  3. Kate, you can tell you come from a reasearch background! I love your pom poms, very cute! Just so u know, i veiwed your blog from a chic downtown Toronto coffee shop while drinking a pomegranite white tea. Great job Kate :)

  4. I have to agree with Dave. This is your best post ever! So interesting and clear, with nifty lettering OVER the photos! I'm curious to know how long it took to make the pompoms with each maker. Time would be a definite factor for which I'd choose. Still, it sounds like Smithers FTW! I can't wait to see your pompom holiday decorations! (That's why they're green, white and red, right?)

    Also, if your etsy sales keep increasing, you'd better take out a life insurance policy, because your crafting injuries could turn deadly!

  5. PS: The Shopping Bags would be proud of you.

  6. They look good! Now I want to make pom poms... but what for!? I don't know yet. I might have to see what you're able to use them for.

  7. Speaking of pompoms. I found this use for them from berryisland/Etsy - I think it's just lovely: They are handfelted and probably much lighter, but beautiful.

  8. About Pom Pom Magic, you're indeed being bitter, and unfair. Learn how to use it before stating it sucks, you'll see it's the faster, easier way to make pom poms.

    1. Two years late in pom pom making and I still don't like the Pom Pom Magic maker. Clover pom pom makers (that I picked up after doing this post) are by far superior for quick and simple pom pom making and are worth the little bit extra investment. I'm a perfectionist and that 30 minutes of trimming is certainly a flaw of the product. It is better than using a fork or your fingers though so it does have some good points!