Gadgets facilitate pompom production

  • By Jonetta Rose Coffin / Special to The Herald
  • Saturday, March 3, 2007 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Our planned column for this week turned out to be far more labor intensive than anticipated, so we’re bumping it back a week or two.

In its place, we decided to indulge our love of gadgets once more and take a look at several of the pompom makers currently on the market.

Before we talk about the three brands we tried for this column, be aware that there are quite a few different kinds available, including a pompom/tassel maker offered by the makers of Knifty Knitter, one for making jumbo pompoms by Susan Bates and a set made by Lion Brand Yarns.

All of the pompom gadgets we’ve seen or tried have similarities and merits, and while we will tell you which of the three we tried is our favorite, please remember that choosing one over the other comes down to a matter of personal choice. Our opinion shouldn’t keep you from trying any that you find interesting.

The one exception is the Knifty Knitter, which appears to be quite different from the rest and which we are anxious to try. We’ll let you know what it’s like when we get our hands on one.

The three pompom makers we were able to try for this column are the Clover, Susan Bates four-size set and Doodle Loom trio.

All three of the gadgets are shown on this page, and all fall within the same price range – between $5 and $7 – depending on where they are purchased.

We purchased the Clover and Susan Bates brands locally: the Clover recently at Pacific Fabrics &Crafts in Everett; the Susan Bates at (we’re pretty sure) JoAnn Fabrics in Marysville, but we’ve had it for a couple of years, so we’re not positive.

The Doodle Loom trio was part of a yarn tool special purchased online at

Let’s begin with the Doodle Loom trio: the half-moon set shown with the dark green pompom.

Instructions are simple and easy to follow. All you do is wrap the yarn around the form until it’s full, tie off the ends, clip the yarn and shake it out.

Pompoms made with the Doodle Loom are fairly even and don’t require a lot of trimming, but we found that they were quite flat on one side and that we needed to join two pompoms to make a full, round pompom.

The flat-sided pompoms work very well for such projects as apparel decoration, gift wrapping and anything where a flatter side is preferable.

The Susan Bates four-size set – shown with all four sizes and the cream-colored pompom – allows you to make pompoms in a variety of useful sizes, and the finished pompoms are round and full.

Simply hold the two-part form together, wrap the yarn around it until it’s full, repeat with the second two-part form of the same color, slide the wrapped pieces together, clip the yarn and secure with a long piece of yarn. Instructions are included and easy to follow.

While the Susan Bates set works, we did hit a couple of rough spots. We found that the two pieces did slip a bit during the wrapping process, mostly at the very beginning, and that the two wrapped sides were slightly unwieldy during the tying phase. Also, we had to do quite a bit of trimming to even up the pompom, probably because the tying was awkward.

The Clover brand – in the photo with the mauve pompom scarf – was our favorite. It was the first one we tried and it was so easy to use that we were quite spoiled. The finished pompoms were very even and required no trimming at all.

The Clover gadget fits together with a little metal piece that slides into a hole on the opposite side at the center. Two sides open up and out and are wrapped with yarn, then closed and locked into place for cutting the yarn.

When the yarn is cut, a long piece of yarn is used to secure the pompom. Then the form opens up and pulls apart for pompom removal. Complete instructions and a diagram are included, and the gadget is sold in large and small sets of two.

General tips

When trimming is required to even up the shape of the pompom, take it easy. If you’ve ever tried to trim your own hair, you’ll understand the danger. In an attempt to make it perfect, you can keep trimming and trimming until the pompom is half its original size and still uneven, so go very slowly and use lots of restraint.

Regardless of the tool or method you use to make pompoms, remember to tie the securing yarn very tightly. Otherwise, the pompom may be uneven and will probably fall apart quickly.

Count the number of times you wrap the yarn around the form and be consistent so that the pompom will be even.

Control the size and fullness of the pompom by the amount of yarn wrapped around the form. All of the pompoms made on one size form will be basically the same, but fuller pompoms do tend to be a little bigger than their less fluffy relatives.

Contact Jonetta Coffin at

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