Pac-man Pom-poms

Pac-man Pom-poms

I'm eating granola for dinner at almost 10pm, it's just been that sort of week, so here's something fun and simple for today's technique. When I inherited a bin bag full of yarn that had been my grandfather's there were scrawny pom poms I'd made long before I could knit scattered between the skeins. I loved making them, but disliked the part where the hole in the middle got too small to poke my fingers through and had to switch to a darning needle. Ugh.

The plastic Clover pom pom makers work well and solve that issue but my larger one seems to have wandered off. And there's something appealing about being able to grab some card from the recycling bin and make them in any size you like. This method is a very simple solution to the getting-the-yarn-through-the-shrinking-hole problem.

Gather a variety of circles to use as templates, a compass or a circle cutter. Incidentally, that is the only hippy deodorant I have ever used that works.

Gather a variety of circles to use as templates, a compass or a circle cutter. Incidentally, that is the only hippy deodorant I have ever used that works.

Cut the centre hole about half as big (or more precisely, with a diameter about half as wide!) as the outer circle. The finished pom poms seem to end up about 90% of the template size. Make two the same.

Cut the centre hole about half as big (or more precisely, with a diameter about half as wide!) as the outer circle. The finished pom poms seem to end up about 90% of the template size. Make two the same.

Cut a bite out of your doughnut, removing around an eighth. My circle cutter is really for paper not card, hence the ragged edges, but they don't matter at all.

Cut a bite out of your doughnut, removing around an eighth. My circle cutter is really for paper not card, hence the ragged edges, but they don't matter at all.

Start wrapping the yarn, leaving a little bit of card showing at the ends. On this enormous one I should have left a bit more space than this.

Start wrapping the yarn, leaving a little bit of card showing at the ends. On this enormous one I should have left a bit more space than this.

Keep going until there's almost no space left in the centre. With sharp scissors (I was cursing the fact that all of my good dressmaking scissors were at home) insert the lower blade between the two layers of the template and start snipping around the yarn. As you go lay a double strand of strong yarn / string between the layers.

Keep going until there's almost no space left in the centre. With sharp scissors (I was cursing the fact that all of my good dressmaking scissors were at home) insert the lower blade between the two layers of the template and start snipping around the yarn. As you go lay a double strand of strong yarn / string between the layers.

When you've cut all the way around pull the yarn tight, wrap it around a second time and tie firmly. Pull of the card, which should be much easier to remove and reuse than it would have been without the bite.

When you've cut all the way around pull the yarn tight, wrap it around a second time and tie firmly. Pull of the card, which should be much easier to remove and reuse than it would have been without the bite.

Big pom-poms use a surprising amount of yarn — each colour in the tri-colour giant one is an entire 50g ball of dk!

Big pom-poms use a surprising amount of yarn — each colour in the tri-colour giant one is an entire 50g ball of dk!

And the reason for today's pom-pom making: silly bicycle decorations. Last week I was idly browsing ebay, sort of looking for a vintage steel roadbike, when I stumbled across this Paper Bicycle at an excellent price. Bex actually has one of these and I'd tried it and found it easy to ride and surprisingly nimble. This winter I found myself taking the bus more than last. It was mild and we had no snow but the wind, oh the wind. The day I found myself being blown several feet sideways (still upright!) across the road was the day I really wished I had a sturdier bike with a lower centre of gravity. I wasn't looking for this right now, but I think it will be ideal in such situations, it's fun to ride and now I have a bicycle for guests as well. Plus, it's adorable, it's Scottish, and I felt a bit like I was rescuing it from being unridden.

My original plan for the pom-poms was something like those streamers little girls used to have coming out of the ends of their handlebars, but I couldn't figure out how to attach them without them getting in the way!

This Saturday I'll be riding it to the parliament along with many other people who cycle regularly on Scottish roads, and, perhaps more importantly with many who would like to but don't currently feel comfortable doing so.

Weekly wrap up

A treasure trove of old knitting footage