New skill of the month – making pom-poms

Supplies needed to make pom-poms

At work, we were required to set a personal and professional goal for the school year that will be tracked.  I meet with my accountability partner once a month to review my progress.  Of course, my personal goal is craft related.  (Big surprise huh?)  My goal is to learn one new skill or complete a small project each month between now and May.

September is Pom-Pom Month.

There are various ways to make pom-poms.  I happen to score this small Clover pom pom maker on a recent trip to Tuesday Morning.  The packaged instructions aren’t that great.  Here’s a video that I found helpful to explain the methodology.


A pair of small super sharp scissors is essential when cutting the yarn.  I used the “brand on sale” acrylic yarn in this example.  I made pom-poms wrapping one time, two times and three times over each arm.   One wrap fell apart, but you can see the different in pom-poms made with two wraps and three wraps in this picture:

More wraps = fluffier pom-poms 2 wraps on left and 3 wraps on right

Personally, I like the fullness of the three wrap pom-pom the best with the thin acrylic yarn I used.  Chunky or eyelash yarns might only require 2 wraps to get the desired amount of fullness.  I can already see this as an activity for my Crafty STEM club members.  We will experiment with different methods for making pom poms including using your hand, a dinner fork and a DIY cardboard template/cardboard donuts and of course, a commercially available unit.  Does technology really make it easier?  Short answer:  yes, but you don’t have to buy the commercial gizmos to make fabulous pom-poms! Stay tuned!

DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Holder

Although I carry my own fabric shopping bags to the grocery store, I actually don’t mind getting plastic grocery sacks.  Why?  They serve multiple uses in my house – mostly to dispose of super messy items (like used paintbrushes) and to pick up after Boomer when we go for a walk.

The pantry in my current house is wide and narrow – unlike the deep pantry in my previous home. The plastic crate I used to house plastic grocery bags for nearly a decade no longer works.

grocerysackholderoriginalOne of the books I picked up at the public library during a recent visit was 101 One Yard Wonders Fabric by Fabric.  As I thumbed through the book, I noticed a plastic grocery sack project.  Inspired, I unearthed the home dec samples I’d been gifted last summer and sure enough, I found some that were just the right size and weight for the project.  I kinda/sorta followed the directions on the first one and was pleased with how it turned out, but I needed a slimmer/longer one.

Fabrication requirements for my version:

1/2 yard mid-to-heavy weight cotton fabric OR a fat quarter OR a 26″x26″ home dec sample
3/8″ or 1/2″ elastic (non roll works best, but use what you have on hand)
Thread to match

Sewing Directions:

– Cut fabric into a 17″x23″ rectangle  (or 17″ x however long the FQ “long” side is)

Make tube
– Fold fabric right sides together with the 23″ sides meeting.  This will give you a long, narrow tube.
– Stitch side seam, using 1/2″ seam allowance (optional:  finish raw edges of seam allowance)
– Press seam open.

Make casing for elastic
– Turn up a 1-1/4″ hem on each end of the tube. Press.
– Open hem back out and press up  1/4″.
– Turn the now 1″ hem back up on each end of the tube.  Press.
– Pin the hem in place.
– Edge stitch near the fold all the way around the casing.
– Stitch the other side of the casing, leaving a 2″ opening at the starting/stopping point for elastic insertion.
Hint:  Using a free arm makes this process much easier as does setting your seam guide for 7/8″ when stitching the “hem” side.

Insert elastic
– Cut a 15″ piece of elastic.
– On your cutting mat, make a mark 3″ from the left side.  Now measure over 8-1/2″ and make another mark.
– Insert elastic into casing.
– Overlap elastic ends at marks so that elastic lies flat (make sure it isn’t twisted in casing).
– Sew elastic together along mark (straight stitch or zig zag in place back and forth several times).
– Trim away excess elastic.
– Stitch opening closed (you might have to persuade the fabric to lie flat).

Make strap
– Cut 3″x23″ rectangle
– Press up 1/2″ hem on each short end of the rectangle.
– Fold rectangle in half lengthwise wrong sides together.  Press.
– Open rectangle out.   Fold each long side in so that it just meets inside the crease.  Press along folded edge.
– Fold rectangle in half again lengthwise.
– Match edges and edge-stitch all the way around the strap (can skip lengthwise fold if you wish).

Attach strap
– Decide which way you want your bag to hang.  Make note of the top end.
– Locate the seam on the inside of the top casing.   You will place the strap ends on either side of this seam (inside the bag on top of the elastic and casing).
– Place the strap ends so there is about 1/2″ of space between the seam and the edge of either strap end.
– Pin in place.  Edge-stitch strap in place.  To add a custom look and strength to your project, sew an “X” in the middle of the square where you sewed the strap down.

Place bag into service
– Stuff with 20-30 plastic bags, hang in pantry and enjoy.