These Pom-Pom Animals Are One of Our Favorite New Craft Trends

Maker Tsubasa Kuroda shares how she brings these sweet, furry faces to life.

pom-pom animals by Trikotri
Photo: © trikotri / Yuko Fukui

Heartwarming, happy, and adorable—those are the three words that come to mind when Japanese maker Tsubasa Kuroda (or trikotri, as she goes by online) thinks about her specialty craft: pom-pom animals. Take a peek at her Instagram, and you'll see the collection of her charming critters—plump little parakeets, fluffy hedgehogs and house cats, and smiley Shiba Inus.

And whether they're bundled in a basket or artfully pinned to a sweater lapel, the appeal of those furry faces is irresistible. What's more, they're soft to the touch and meticulously detailed with eyes, noses, and needle-felted ears—and each one is wearable as a brooch, too.


Where It All Began

In the past five years, Kuroda has created hundreds (too many to count, she tells us) of these pom-pom animals. Over 40 varieties are highlighted in her debut book, Pom Pom Animals: 45 Easy and Adorable Projects Made From Wool.

"I started creating pom-pom works as samples for workshops and shelf decorations when I worked for a hobby shop," she says. "I was more into it as I thought about how to better wrap the yarn or introduce the techniques from needle-felting." Then, she created miniature menagerie animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and owls while honing her craft.


Making the Pom-Poms

Having the right tools on hand helps Kuroda bring her creations to life. "I use super pom-pom makers from Clover," she says. They come in a range of sizes, but all work the same: a maker tool unfolds into two arms, both of which are fully wrapped in a length of yarn to the ends, then closed, and snipped with scissors to create the fluffy fullness of a single pom-pom. "You need to cut the thickly-wrapped yarn," she explains. "I stick to Cutwork Scissors 115, also by Clover."

Another length of yarn is then wrapped around the circumference of the tool several times and tied together with a secure knot. Open the tool, and you have a fully formed pom-pom ready for decorating.


Sweet Faces

With a snip here and a trim there, the animals come to life—there are chubby cheeks for hamsters and elongated snouts for dogs. A felting needle and mat helps to craft the smaller details, like rabbit ears and bird beaks, says Kuroda. And even smaller features, like eyes and noses, are formed from toy parts that are sold at art-supply stores.

pom-pom animals
© trikotri / Yuko Fukui

Playing Favorites

As for Kuroda's favorite pom-pom animal? It's difficult for her to choose: "Chipmunk, sparrow, rabbit, owl...I have my own attachment to each of the animals in this book," she says. But if you're asking us? Definitely the red panda.

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