The Details: How to make a pompom

The Details: How to make a pompom

It occurred to me as I was shooting my beret the other day that I’ve never posted about how I make pompoms, although I’ve taught it in my classes. Here’s the tried-and-true method for making pompoms that I’ve been using since childhood, no special tools required:

1.) Wrap yarn around the fingers of one hand (or piece of cardboard, a spatula, anything that’s a bit bigger than you want your finished circumference to be). It takes more yarn than you might think. For a loose, shaggy pompom, use less yarn. For a denser, fuller pom, use more. Experiment!

2.) Carefully slide the bundle off your hand and lay it across a separate strand, then use that strand to tie a knot around the belly of the bundle. Pull it tight, but don’t break the yarn. If you need your pompom to have tails for attaching to something else, leave them long and keep them out of the way as you proceed.

3.) Insert your scissors into the clump of loops on each side of the belly band and cut through them, being careful not to cut the strand holding them together. You now have a limp, shapeless pre-pom.

4.) Start pruning! Trim the ends just like you would a hedge, shaping it into an orb. The more you trim, the denser the pompom will be. (Especially if you use a loosely plied yarn that unplies as you work.) Again, experiment to see what suits you! 

The Details: How to make a pompom (free tutorial)

That’s it! For a hat, run the tails down through the top of the hat, secure on the underside and weave in the ends. (Pictured above is my version of Courtney Kelley’s April Hat, a free pattern.)

If it’s going to be attached to any surface, I like to leave the bottom a bit flat. For any other purpose, you’ll want to make it fully round. Pompoms are a great use of yarn leftovers, and you never know what you might find to use them for!

.

PREVIOUSLY in The Details: That sweatshirt V-patch look

Pretty bobble beret (2019 FO-3)

April Hat bobble beret (free pattern)

Right after I posted about that pair of bobble berets to which I found myself unexpectedly drawn, I realized I had the yarn for one of them right under my nose. The April Hat (a free pattern) is designed by my friend Courtney Kelley for their Germantown worsted, and I had an almost full skein of it left over, in natural, after my mini Sólbein used so little. So I cast on immediately. And quickly understood that while a good useful stockinette project like my vest-in-progress is the equivalent of a good long walk (with hopefully some scenery along the way), and I love a good long walk, I was desperately in need of an experience more like a gymnastics floor routine — lots of action and fluttery doodads. And this hat nailed it.

The brim is an easily memorized lace pattern that was fun right out of the gate. The floral bits on the body of the hat are a combination of puff stitch and bobbles. I’ve knitted bobbles before but had no idea what I was in for with puff stitch — the puff-stitch rounds were almost comically slow for me, although I did get faster each time. Like anything new in life, it’s awkward until you get used to it, but it’s one of those fabrics where you just can’t wait to get to the next repeat because it’s so fun watching it develop.

April Hat bobble beret (free pattern)

I’m rarely one to swatch for hats, especially one I don’t expect to wear myself. Having knitted Courtney’s patterns before, I know that she’s a looser knitter than me, plus the dimensions are a little on the small side and I didn’t want it to come out even smaller. So I threw caution to the wind and went up from the recommended needles to a size US8 for the whole thing (same as I had used on the Sólbein), brim included. After blocking, it clocks in at pretty much exactly the pattern dimensions. And I’m excited to send it off to another of my little nieces, who I feel certain will love it.

The only point of debate for me is the pompom. I imagine she’ll like it, and it is definitely a cake topper to go with all this icing, but I love the way the crown comes together and regret that the pompom covers that up. So as I’m wont to do, I’ve tied it to the inside with a bow, so it can be easily removed by the recipient.

April Hat bobble beret (free pattern)

Here it is on Ravelry if you’re inclined to fave it! ;)

It’s the end of May and this is the third thing I’ve finished this year, all three knitted for others. But my vest is SO CLOSE — coming soon.

.

PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Cabled husband hat

Elsewhere + Holiday weekend project idea

Elsewhere + Holiday weekend knitting project idea

I woke up to such exciting news yesterday: Kay finished her Logalong sweater! And it’s a beauty. (Back story here.) Which is likely what reminded me that my Log Cabin Mitts pattern is a great holiday-weekend project, whether you need something portable for travel or an addictive little something to get into (and scrounge leftovers for) on a quiet weekend at home.

Here’s a longish Elsewhere for the long weekend—

— Never have so many people sent me the same link: ‘Knitting is coding’ and yarn is programmable in this physics lab (NYT link) (thx, everyone!)

— Makers of color: Have you responded to Jen Hewett’s survey for her upcoming book? Just a few days left …

— Settle in for this one: Anni Albers on How to Be an Artist

I always love reading about the birth of a new yarn

— Obsessed with these scrappy quilted jackets here and here

Great question

Canadian councilwoman calls out gender disparity at city council, one stitch at a time — you can see the disparity better here (thx, DG)

— “So, while it’s #memademay and I cheer at the handmade garments in my feed, I also cheer for the mended, darned, repaired, re-dyed, redesigned, or simply beloved clothes we’ve been tending for years. I celebrate the intention, the mindfulness, the awareness. And remember that we all have different resources in time, money, skill, equipment, and craftsmanship for our clothing. And hope that beauty can be the ecology we tend and support in Slow Fashion.

— “The question is no longer whether it is necessary to improve sustainable business practices, but rather how long it will take before consumers stop buying from brands that do not act responsibly.”⁣

Dream sweater

— And yes to baby animals in sweaters (but they are planning to pay for photos, right?) (thx, Jen)

On a totally different front, I’ll be reading the Wikipedia short history of Memorial Day, which — as with just about everything — is more rich and complicated than I recall knowing. And we’re planning to dust off Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary this weekend, which I’ve only ever seen bits of.

However you’re passing the weekend, wherever you are, I wish you the best — and I’ll see you back here next week!

IN SHOP NEWS: The butterscotch Porter Bin is back in stock, along with the new olive/army Town Bag I’m so thrilled you’re all loving! And all the other lovely goodies, of course.

.

PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

Queue Check — May 2019

Queue Check — May 2019

It’s been two months since I cast on this simple little vest and I’m finally nearing completion. After letting it sit for weeks unassembled and then postponing the pick-ups, I made great strides over the weekend, when I ripped out the false-start first armhole edge and knitted them both, then picked up stitches for the neckband. After crowdsourcing armhole edging ideas, I wound going with Norah Gaughan’s suggestion, which was to pick up, knit one round, then bind off in purl. It’s a bit like a single garter ridge, but set off slightly, which felt like it’ll be a good companion to the garter-stitch shawl collar I’m planning.

I still have two key decisions to make: 1) will this have button/holes or not, and 2) still debating sewn or knitted pockets. As soon as I decide those things, the finish line is mere days away, so of course now it’s in the 90s — but still, this is a great a/c defense tool. (Yarn is Mungo.)

Meanwhile, needing a major departure from stockinette, I cast on the April Hat from my recent bobble berets post. I’ve never knitted anything like this, am having a great time with it, and will say more about that when it’s finished! (Yarn is Germantown.)

Which means it’s time for me to zero in on a Summer of Basics plan.

(Lykke needles and stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co.)

.

PREVIOUSLY in Queue Check: April 2019

New Favorites: Eva

New Favorites: Eva

I’m super smitten with Julie Weisenberger’s latest little sweater, Eva. With its cropped length and open sides, it sits somewhere in between a shawl and a cardigan. I’m not 100% sure I’d like how it sits on my frame, but I like it enough I think I’m very likely going to find out. It just seems like such a simple little throw-over-anything sort of sweater, and I love the funkiness of the dangling ties. (I like it less with them actually tied.) Given that I’ve been saying for a couple of summers now that I’m eager to try her top-down set-in-sleeve method, I’m thinking this may be the one I actually knit.

The abbreviated scale of it makes me willing to tackle a fingering-weight sweater, albeit knitted on US5 needles, but a sweater quantity of fingering is the last thing you’ll find sitting in my stash. So in addition to giving me a chance to try out her method, it may also be the chance to knit with BC Garn Bio Balance, one of the yarns on my Nashville-friendly blends list. Will swatch and see!

.

PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Over-the-top tams

Q for You: What’s your progress blocker?

Q for You: What's your knitting progress blocker?

I’m pretty sure “stuck on sleeve island” is the most frequent lament among knitters (which you know I don’t understand!) but I suspect we have a wide array of idiosyncratic responses as far as what part of the knitting process stalls our progress or even robs us of mojo, in some cases. No doubt for a lot of knitters it’s seaming, and thus the need to seam is avoided altogether. That’s another one I don’t get — seaming is like performing a little magic trick, although it does tend to put a halt to progress in that I only do it during daylight hours. So unless I happen to finish something on a Thursday night, have it blocked and dried by Saturday morning, and have a corresponding chunk of free time that very weekend, there will almost always be a lull while something awaits seaming. But the real mojo thief for me is picking up stitches.

Picking up stitches is the other thing I only do in daylight, so there’s that, but I don’t actually dislike it. In fact, the neat-freak part of me takes pleasure in that nice tidy column of stitches running up along the needle, in marking off matching sections and making sure I’m picking up identical numbers of stitches for perfect symmetry. I honestly have no idea why I dread doing it, and yet it is almost always the source of a disruption in forward progress. This poor vest spent three weeks waiting for me to have the right spot of daylight to seam it, after which I forged right into picking up armhole stitches in hopes of avoiding a cessation, but I picked up too few in my haste, and now I wonder how long it will be before I pick it up again. And I really want this vest!

So that’s my primary progress blocker and my Q for You: What is yours?

(Needles, removable stitch markers and notebook from Fringe Supply Co.)

.

PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What’s your favorite pattern source?

Elsewhere + news to come

Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

It’s May, and I know some of you are wondering about Summer of Basics! My apologies for the cliffhanger — I’ve been thinking about retooling it a little bit for this year and hope to have an announcement about that next week. If you have thoughts on it in between, please do leave a comment below.

And in the meantime, a little Elsewhere—

— Data nerdery in knitted form: The National Parks Tempestry Project is kind of mind-blowing (thx, DG) (photo above left)

— “How sewing improved my mental health — and restored my professional ambitions

Spectacular

I love this profile of textile artist Llane Alexis (previously mentioned here)

How to dye with osage orange (photo above right)

Brilliant refashion

What a treasure!

— and I’m eager to listen to this interview with Imogene+Willie cofounder Matt Eddmenson

Happy weekend, everyone. I’d love to hear what you’re working on!

.

PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere: Wool dogs and whaling wraps