Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tutorial From Out of Nowhere!

And you thought I was gone forever.  I was just busy riding the emotional, exhausting roller coaster that is grad school - woo doggies.  I'll talk more about that another day, though.  For now: a tutorial.

Above is a photo from at-swim-two-birds that's been floating around the crafty crannies of the internet lately.  My beady little eyes lit up with excitement when I saw those pom poms.  I just love puffy round things!  That's why I live with a fat rabbit.  Anyway, I knew I needed to make this.  My boyfriend glanced at the photo.  "How long is that going to take you to make?" he asked warily.  "Forever!" I shrieked as I ran out the door and burned rubber over to the craft store*.

Anyway, here is what you need in order to begin your magical odyssey to pom pom Shangri La:

- yarn (color #1) for base
- yarn (color #2) for pom poms
- 2" nails
- 4 wooden stretcher strips

Note:  You may be wondering what a stretcher strip is.  Well, I'll tell you!  Stretcher strips are specially cut pieces of wood that fit together without glue to form a frame for a canvas (for painting).  They can be found at most stores that sell art supplies, and they are super cheap.

Now we are ready to begin construction....

Step 1:  Assemble stretcher strips into frame.  Keep in mind, the size of the frame will affect the size/shape of the finished work (duh).  Some people put together really big frames and then make baby blankets on them.  I don't have a baby, but I do have a cat!  So I used 16" strips to make a cat cushion-sized pom pom square.  I think whoever did the blanket in the photo made a bunch of small pieces and then probably crocheted them all together.

Step 2:  Insert nails into strips, evenly spaced, like so:

These nails are 1.5" apart.  My nails kept falling out of the frame.  I probably could have solved this problem by nailing them deeper into the wood or using a different kind of nail, but that's too easy so instead I just glued the nails into their nail-holes.

Step 3:  Wind yarn across "loom" in a grid pattern.  It seems like there are many different possible techniques for this step.  Instead of writing out really confusing instructions explaining how I did this, I will refer you to a haggard looking craftswoman who for some reason I imagine to be Canadian.  And actually, you could skip my tutorial completely and just go watch all of her videos, but I want to believe that you all love me more than the haggard Canadian.

Step 4:  Secure those pom poms by tying strong yarn (not that bamboo or chenille garbage, if you're using it) around each point where the yarn crosses over itself.  It's important that you tie the yarn as tightly as you can so that the little pom poms don't fall apart when your cat rubs it's butt all over your finished piece.  Unfortunately, this is what the haggard Canadian ominously referred to as the "owie" part of the project in the comments section of one of her videos.  You will get horrible rope burn blisters on your fingers and never want to do this project again, which is rational.

Step 5:  Cut the pom pom yarn (but not the base yarn!) between the knots.  Then cut your piece off of the loom.  It will look so amazing that you will forget all about your sore, swollen sausage hands.
 Here is what the back side looks like.  See how I didn't cut through the gold base yarn?  That there is the key to success.

Now go enjoy your useless but adorable pom pom....thing.  Use the magical talents that I know you have and turn it into a throw pillow or seat cushion or something.  Or make 48 more squares and turn it into a sweet-ass afghan that you can give to me for my birthday next week, ha!

 * did not actually happen like that