75. How to Make a Pom-Pom

A few weeks ago I posted some step by step pictures of how to start crocheting a hat. I never continued with the how-to because every time I was about to start I thought…”I should really paint my nails if they are going to be in pictures.” Or “It is too cloudy, the lighting’s no good.” Or “I’m switching to a thicker yarn so I can make the hat faster. I need to go buy some.”

Plus the last “tutorial” was so confusing and tedious to explain I wasn’t too keen to continue. But I still planned to make the actual hat. So I just made the hat, with new, thicker yarn (it only took a couple of hours to make because of the thicker yarn) and didn’t take any pictures of the process. It was a beautiful day of clear winter light but for some reason the only pictures I took today were with my iphone. Indoors. Which iphones take crappy pictures 79% of the time. 97% if they’re indoors. On successful home/garden/parenting/lifestyle blogs (by successful I mean blogs that are a day job) you would never see a crappy iphone shot. At least not as part of a “How-to”. You only see perfectly crisp clear images full of bright white backgrounds and strategic pops of color amid muted tones that just murmur, “Calm” and “Refined”. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Blogging is not my day job. Blogging is a hobby. Of my hobbies. Therefore, if I want to put substandard photos on here of my crocheted hat with a pom-pom, it is ok.

Well it’s not really ok with me. It irks me. I’ve got standards. But what I don’t have are any stellar pictures of the hat or of my step-by-step tutorial of how to make a pom-pom. So I could forgo the tutorial and the hat until I get some better images…But I’m already 20 minutes into writing on the subject of hat-making and deficient photographs. And I’d like to be done with this post in another hour. Max. So I’ve thought of a solution. I’m going to post the photos. And point out the specifics of why the photos are bad and how they could be made better. Which is going to add a lot more how-to-ness to this post. Everybody wins.

And there was one good photo, so I’ll save that for last in hopes it will erase your memory of the shoddy shots. And so, I present:

How to Make a Pom-Pom and How Not to Take Photos of the Process

Cut two circle shapes out of cardstock (about the diameter of a drinking glass). You can use regular paper, but it is a bit easier if you use something thicker. Cardboard is also an option.

Cut two circle shapes out of cardstock (about the diameter of a drinking glass). You can use regular paper, but it is a bit easier if you use something thicker. Cardboard is also an option.

I actually like how the paper is wrinkled and not cut into perfect circles. It shows that it only takes a second to quickly cut two circle shapes out of paper. You needn’t bother with the extra step of finding a cup to trace or cut it out perfectly. The background is a bare wood windowsill and is a terrible choice (especially considering this is the worst-looking windowsill in our home). It should be on a white background. If I had taken with my real camera (instead of the iphone) it would be a much crisper image.

Cut a circle out of the center of both circles.

Cut a circle out of the center of both circles.

If you know nothing about photography (like me), just go outside. The pictures will improve immediately. So I should’ve ventured out into the cold to take all of these shots.

Take a length of yarn (about the length of your armspan) and weave it around the circle.

Take a length of yarn (about the length of your armspan) and weave it around the circle.

Another photography tip is that for every 100 pictures, about seven will be decent, five will be good and maybe one will be great. Taking 100 pictures of this pom pom process was not going to happen.

Hold the loose end in place with your finger until it is wrapped so it stays. It took two arm-span lengths of yarn to go around the whole ring.

Hold the loose end in place with your finger until it is wrapped so it stays. It took two arm-span lengths of yarn to go around the whole ring.

You could just use one longer piece, but it is easier to go in and around the disk with a shorter piece of yarn.

Now, take scissors and slide them between the two layers of paper and cut the wrapped yarn.

Now, take scissors and slide them between the two layers of paper and cut the wrapped yarn.

All the way around, being careful to hold the center of the ring/yarn.

All the way around, being careful to hold the center of the ring/yarn.

I used bandage scissors because they happened to be sitting in front of me. In good-photo world I would’ve used a less clunky-looking pair of shiny shears.

Then, take another piece of yarn (12” long will do) and slide it between the two layers of paper.

Then, take another piece of yarn (12” long will do) and slide it between the two layers of paper.

And tie it tight. I usually wrap and tie it a couple of times. Tie it very tight.

Pull out the two paper rings and voilà!

A pom pom.

A pom-pom.

Made less exciting by an out of focus picture and the distracting unfinished wood background. And a piece of the window curtain is in the shot.

The extra length of yarn can be used to tie it to a hat. Or scarf. Or whatever your embellishing with a pom-pom. And for the record, you’re not allowed to use the word “embellish” when your pictures look this ugly.

Tie the pom-pom onto the hat and put it on your darling offspring.

IMG_2639 (523x700) (374x500)

Me, “Get dressed and get outside so I can take a picture of you in the hat.”

The Spy, “No way, I’m watching Happy Gilmore and I’m too cozy.”

The picture would’ve been made better by him changing out of my husband’s shirt (look at the neck hole!) and going outside so I’d have a background of golden leaves in the clear winter light. But he looked too cozy to persist.

I tried anyway.

I tried anyway.

And then I tried to compare the hat I just made with a hat I made awhile ago. Showing how one is more of a boy-shape and one is more of a girly-shape. And I was going to write about how I used three different yarns on the girl-hat.

IMG_2647 (700x503) (2) (500x359)But my retinas were seared with the EXTREMELY unnatural and unpleasant lighting and poor choice of background and I couldn’t think straight.

IMG_2653 (700x500) (500x357)So I decided to save notions of hat-shape for another time. Because my eyes can’t take these garish color combinations.

And then I got one great photo:

IMG_2655 (496x700)

Hahaha

13 thoughts on “75. How to Make a Pom-Pom

  1. Pingback: 88. How to Make a Pom-Pom | Spy Garden

  2. Mominthegarden

    I love stopping by your blog! I so enjoy reading a real blog, and not one that makes me feel completely inadequate (that is a compliment, by the way!). I haven’t made a pom-pom in *years*! I will have to get the yarn out. I bet our kitty would love a pom-pom to play with. Great job on the hat(s)! Dana :-)

    Reply
  3. Eliza Waters

    Your posts make me laugh! Love it. Your pom tutorial was much easier to follow than your how-to crochet ones, which had my mind in a knot! (sorry, I have trouble with word instructions and am better off being shown! Visual learner.) My gram taught me to make pom-poms via the finger method, but I didn’t remember it exactly until I followed the link from Narf77. Made me nostalgic, it was like 50 years ago!
    I followed the Exhibit A & B links and Lawd, I am glad yours aren’t like that. Just like I get nervous when I enter an impeccable home (where do I sit? should I touch anything? Take off my shoes?) I get suspicious that they have some psycho-condition. Oh, it’s very nice for them, but I like a lived in look. Real people live here, ya know? Your blog appeals because it is real life in all its messiness and your humor makes it all okay. I love reading it.

    Reply
  4. narf77

    Crappy half lit “scrunch up your eyes to see whatever the heck we are supposed to be seeing” images taken from iPhones and instagrammed out the wazoo are de rigeur these days ma’am. You would probably win some sort of blogging award for your “dark forboding gothic” (crap) images. Blogging isn’t even my hobby. I HAVE to blog to stop the muses exploding my brain. I am a captive to the words flowing between my ears and all of my synapses need to be firing or they will taze me (wimper…).

    I just read another post on another stellar blog about kitting hats and making pompoms but this blogger decided to do away with cardboard and use her fingers to make them. Most of us have enough fingers to make pompoms apparently and they tend to be available at most times of the day so heres to making pompoms with fingers!

    http://thriftlane.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/the-easiest-pompoms-in-the-world-ever/

    I don’t have an iPhone. I take about 5 shots of everything that I want to put on the blog and if none of them work out…it doesn’t go on the blog ;). You are going to have to keep that first shot of the spy. You need to put it someplace where you won’t lose it and when he comes home with his very first girlfriend you need to show it to her pretending to be dead proud of him… part of the benefits of all of those years of knitting, cajoling and attempting to get sense out of your kids is that one day you get to show them why they really SHOULD have listened to you way back when…lets call it “life lessons” (not “pay back” which it really is ;) ). I just saw the final shot…PAYBACK THY NAME IS MS. SPY! ;)

    Reply
    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Thanks for the pom-pom link. Her pom-poms trump mine for sure. I think I just need to use more yarn to make them thicker. Though I will stick with the paper-ring method. I would argue that “fingers tend to be available most times of the day” may be true, but if I had my fingers wrapped with yarn for 5 or 10 minutes I fear the puppy and baby would conspire a serious plot against me while my hands were, quite literally, tied. haha. Yeah the Spy has quite the assortment of very silly faces, I will of course save the evidence. ;)

      Reply
      1. narf77

        Thus speaks the words of a woman who has been railroaded when otherwise occupied before! The old saying “Fool me once, shame on you…” is obviously something that you adhere to. I really loved that first image of The Spy. I loved it so much, I am going to show it to MY son’s girlfriend. I figure it needs to be shared more than just once for best effect. Please feel free to let him know that his graven image is going to be bandied about with wanton glee on the other side of the world ;)

      2. narf77

        If you like I could post it to FB…that’s if he wants to be infamous here in Australia ;). You never know when something like that might help your future zombie hunting career…

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