The pom-pom craze is working its magic and we’re all getting excited about the bobbly possibilities! But just in case you’re wondering what to make, Fabulous Pompoms author and designer Alistair Macdonald shares his insights and inspirations…
What do you think it is about pom-pom crafting that is so enticing right now?
Pom-pom crafting is fantastically approachable and really straightforward, whether you’re young, old or anything else inbetween! With all the clever pom-pom makers out there, the doing part has been greatly simplified, which means you can get far quicker results than you might have done with traditional methods. This is a craft that everyone can get in on, so why not be a part of the yarny action?
Can you share some of your favourite pom-pom projects that beginners can tackle?
I have lots of favourite designs, so this is a really difficult one! I would have to say that, as I love Christmas, there is a special place in my heart for the wreath design, and also the giftwrap toppers and the really simple (but ever so useful) drinks glass identifiers in my Pompom Christmas book. All of these use the basic core form and when used in multiples, as in the case of the wreath, produce spectacular results! These projects are brilliant ways of perfecting the fundamental shape.
Who or what inspires you with regards to this popular craft?
As a fashion designer, I find inspiration from lots of different places: I can be doing the weekly food shop or watching a film when the idea strikes! Another favourite place for me is any of the non-fiction sections in my local library or book shop. My head is like a chaotic, but well-organised sketchbook.
What’s it like being a man in the centre of this seemingly feminine craft?
It’s amazing, as I get to meet so many wonderful crafters. We all love to share tips and help each other out, which is lovely. Boys seem to be a little late to the crafting table, but they are definitely growing in numbers – a trend that will only rise as time goes on. I can predict we will need a lot more tea and cake!
Do you have any recommendations in terms of the tools or materials you use?
My biggest tip is to invest in a second pair of less expensive dressmaking shears. With this craft, there is a lot of trimming, so you do not want to use your best scissors. One of the great things about making pom-poms is that you can readily buy supplies which need not cost a fortune. Just start with acrylic yarn before you use the luxury alpaca – one snip too close, and a pom-pom can become an explosive mess.
What are your golden rules for perfect pom-poms?
The ultimate bobble needs to be tight and dense. Make sure you wind the yarn onto the maker tightly and evenly, filling from left to right. Build the layers a level at a time. I always double my yarn up when winding and tying around the centre, before removing the pom-pom from the maker. My main shaping advice is: don’t rush!