Rhymes With Fuchsia

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pompoms and Circumstance

Since even before we finished Cheryl's blankets, it has not been all blankets all the time around here. There have been a few small projects, a baby hat here, a set of coasters there, but nothing to write home about.

But, while these projects have been fun — there's nothing like knitting baby things for quick gratification — they've demanded relatively little time and thought. So if they are not the focus of my crafty life at the moment, what is? I am so glad I asked. Why, the construction of giant pompoms, of course.

Miss B worked on the crew of her school's musical last year, and this year she has a small part. The production team makes it very clear up front that at least one parent of every kid participating in the musical is called upon to work on a committee. Last year, not being fast enough to sign up for any other committee before it was full, I did what they call kid-wrangling, that is keeping order among all the cast members not on stage at any given moment. It's a necessary but dull job, and in an attempt to avoid it this year I signed up for props, where I seem to have found my spiritual home.

While papier-mâchéing beach balls — I tell you, if my life were any more exciting my poor heart would give out — the props mistress and I discussed what we could use as clover flowers, and we ran several ideas by the director: paper flowers? no, too fragile; styrofoam balls? too expensive. She wanted pompoms, preferably homemade so as to stay within budget, and she wanted about 50 of them, six or seven inches in diameter. I quickly determined that the biggest pompom maker I could easily buy makes pompoms 4 1/2 inches in diameter.

My first thought was to use the time-honored method of winding yarn around cardboard; this turns out not to work so well if your pompom needs to be really big. I made something that looked more like a wig for a deranged muppet.

My next idea was to make a pompom maker similar to the Susan Bates type, but bigger, out of cardboard. After considerable measuring and muttering and the purchase of a compass (yes, you can draw circles with a string around a nail, but, trust me, $2.19 is a small price to pay to preserve whatever hair you have left), I had my cardboard device, and in the fullness of time (and somewhat to my surprise, as I had been highly skeptical of success) I had a big fluffy pompom that could easily double as a red clover, if red clovers grew to that size.

Only trouble was, just as with my little Susan Bates number, I got tired of pulling the yarn through the middle, so I sliced the thing in half...

making the yarn-winding part much quicker.

I put the two halves back together with a hair elastic...

snipped along the groove on one side of the elastic and inserted nylon beading thread...

removed the elastic, snipped the rest of the way around, pulled the thread all the way around, and tied it as tight as I could. (During this part I kept everything flat on the table in front of me so that nothing would fall out.)

Then I lifted the pompom by the thread and shook it so the cardboard pieces fell off and put it down in front of Grant, who put his finger on the tie so that I could make the second half of the knot.

Et voilà! Pompom city. (Yes, I know clover doesn't make flowers in all those colors. I just do what I'm told. Rather cleverly, although I do say it.)


  • When I look up "genius" and "DIY Queen" in the dictionary, I find your name :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:12 PM  

  • Your pompoms are amazing!!

    By Anonymous lisa, at 7:53 PM  

  • pompomposity! What would they do without you? But technicolor clovers?

    By Blogger Roxie, at 11:16 PM  

  • Yes, you are the pompon queen! I am never happy with the ones I make, sigh.

    By Blogger Alwen, at 10:58 AM  

  • Awesome Pom poms! I've done props for several high school/community theatre productions - it's a hoot! Ok, I'll share:


    By Blogger Paul, at 11:17 AM  

  • I can only assume they are doing Seussical. :) I have pictures of last year's GDMS production of that would help inspire anything for AB. :)

    By Blogger Jena the yarn harpy, at 6:25 PM  

  • Yay for wigs for deranged Muppets! I mean GINORMAL (heh) pompoms!

    By Blogger Norma, at 7:53 PM  

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