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These instructions demonstrate how to make a ladybug, a baby chick, and the caterpillar shown here, but by varying the color, size, and placement of the pom-poms, you can create just about any animal. Before you begin, study the physical characteristics and postures of the animals you plan to make, taking inspiration from nature magazines, encyclopedias, children's books, or even a trip to the zoo. Since the pom-pom parts are simply joined with a needle and thread, it's easy to experiment until you get the right look.
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What You'll Need
- Pom-pom maker (a simple tool consisting of four small horseshoe-shaped templates with interlocking feet.)
For the Caterpillar
- Green yarn and thread
- Black silk cord (for antennae)
For the Ladybug
- Red felted merino wool yarn
- Red thread
- Black wool yarn (for polka dots)
- Black silk beading (for antennae)
For the Chick
- Yellow mohair yarn
- Yellow thread
- Orange felt (for beak)
- Black thread or embroidery floss (for eyes)
- Clean broken egg shell
- Penny or pebble (for stability)
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Step 1: Basic Pom-Pom
Place two templates back-to-back, and wrap yarn densely around the center arch, where the templates meet. Repeat with a second pair of templates.
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Step 2: Basic Pom-Pom
Join the two halves together by interlocking the templates' feet, and snip the wool along the arch of each template. To connect the pom-pom halves together, slide a length of embroidery floss or a strand of yarn between the arches (bumps on facing sides of the pom-pom maker facilitate this process); wrap the thread around both poms, and tie tightly.
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Step 3: Basic Pom-Pom
Pull the templates free. Gently squeeze the pom-pom with your hands to shape and compact the yarn. If desired, trim with cuticle scissors; in general, a closer shave yields denser, softer pom-poms.
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Step 4: Pom-Pom Caterpillar
Make six pom-poms.
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Step 5: Pom-Pom Caterpillar
Join pom-poms together in a row by passing a needle with thread through their centers; knot thread at both ends.
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Step 6: Pom-Pom Caterpillar
To make the antennae, tie a knot in one end of the silk cord, and draw it through the head with a needle. Leave the knotted end at desired antennae length, and tie a knot at the same point on the other end; trim excess. A touch of white glue on the knots will keep the cord from fraying. If you'd like, give your caterpillar eyes by making several stitches with doubled-threaded black yarn.
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Step 7: Pom-Pom Ladybug
Make a small black pom-pom for the head and a larger red pom-pom for the body.
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Step 8: Pom-Pom Ladybug
Join the head to the body by passing a needle with thread through the pom-poms; knot at both ends.
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Step 9: Pom-Pom Ladybug
To add polka dots, draw a needle with double-threaded black wool yarn all the way through the red ball; trim both ends flush to the body (this will create two polka dots; repeat as desired). Sew in the little stripe on her back using the same method. To make her antennae, tie a knot in one end of the silk cord, and draw it through the head. Leave the knotted end at desired antennae length, and tie a knot at the same point on the other end; trim excess. A touch of white glue on the knots will keep the cord from fraying.
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Step 10: Pom-Pom Chick
These fuzzy newborn chicks are actually puffs of untrimmed yellow mohair, which we've cradled in broken eggshells to add a realistic effect. Each chick is made of two pom-poms, weighing a total of about twelve grams. To make one you'll also need a needle, yellow thread, a small piece of orange felt for the beak, and black thread or embroidery floss to make the tiny eyes.
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Step 11: Pom-Pom Chick
Make a small pom-pom for the head and a larger one for the body. When you're done, fluff the wool, but don't trim it; for a just-hatched appearance, shaggier is better.
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Step 12: Pom-Pom Chick
Join the pom-poms together by passing a needle with thread through their centers; knot the thread at both ends. To make the eyes, thread a needle with black thread or embroidery floss, knot the end and pull through the small pom-pom; trim thread. Repeat for second eye. For the beak, use white craft glue to affix two tiny triangles of orange felt.
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Step 13: Pom-Pom Chick
Nestle the chick in a clean broken eggshell, placing a penny or a pebble beneath the chick to make the display stable.
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