The only turkey you won't want to gobble up this holiday? One of our comely yarn-and-felt creations. Perched on a mantel or arranged on a straw-covered tray on a sideboard, they are a fun, fanciful touch. You can also use them as place-card holders (glue name tags inside their beaks), and invite children to take their feathered friends home at the day's end.
Tools and Materials
Pom-Pom maker kit*
Red, brown, gray, yellow, and white wool yarn
Red and brown waxed twine
Black embroidery floss
Medium-size sewing needle
Disappearing-ink pen for fabric
Black, red, white, brown, and gold wool felt
Black pipe cleaners
Pom-Pom Tom How-To
*The kit we chose (available from Purl, 800-597-7875 or www.purlsoho.com) includes four sizes of pom-pom makers, ranging from 1 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches wide. To make the turkey shown here, we used a 1 1/4-inch pompom maker and red yarn for the head and a 2 3/16-inch one and brown yarn for the body. Each pom-pom maker has four plastic pieces; you'll need all of them to create one pom-pom.
1. Place two of the plastic pieces back-to-back, and wrap densely with yarn, keeping the yarn tight; snip end. Do the same with remaining pieces. Snap the halves together; snip the yarn along the rounded edge of each half. Tie halves together in the center with waxed twine; knot twice, and trim the excess. Pull templates free. Trim so yarn is even all around.
2. To make wings and whites of eyes, thread a yarn needle with a long doubled piece of yarn. Keeping loose ends aligned, push through pom-pom, leaving excess on both sides; thread back through. Repeat until details are desired size and shape. (Use multiple colors for wings.) Cut needle free; trim yarn so it's flush with surrounding strands. For pupils, push knotted length of black embroidery floss through center of white and pompom with a sewing needle; pull taut. Part yarn; snip the end as short as possible.
3. Download tail-feather templates (enlarge as desired for bigger birds), and cut out. With a disappearing-ink pen, trace onto different colors of wool felt; cut out. Stack in descending-size order, then apply hot glue to feathers; hold until glue is set, about 30 seconds. 4 Apply a generous amount of glue to base of tail feathers, and attach to body; hold in place 1 minute. Repeat to affix head to body. Photocopy wattle templates. Cut out, and trace onto red felt with disappearing-ink pen.
4. Apply glue to top edges. Part yarn at base of head, and insert the two shapes, positioning the smaller one above the larger one. Hold in place 30 seconds. Photocopy beak ; trace template onto gold felt, and cut out. Apply a dab of glue to base of each piece, and use a needle to help attach to head; hold in place 30 seconds.
5. To make legs, cut two 3-inch pieces and two 1 3/4inch pieces of black pipe cleaner (for 3 1/2-inch birds, use heavy floral wire). Fold 3-inch pipe cleaner 1 inch from end; adjust longer side so it's perpendicular, with a 1/2-inch crimp at the back of the foot. Fold 1 3/4-inch pipe cleaner into a V shape; dab glue on outside corner, and slide inside crimped edge. Hold in place 30 seconds. Repeat for other leg.
6. Apply glue to tops of legs and insert into body as far as they will go; hold in place 30 seconds. Set turkeys on their backs to dry for 10 minutes before displaying upright.
Finishing touches: Once you've completed your turkey, give him one final trim to ensure his furry feathers are even. In general, the closer you cut the yarn, the denser the pom-pom will be. Use the templates below for creating tail feathers, a wattle, and a beak, as well as a pumpkin leaf and fall foliage.