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Fur pompoms – how to make your own

Sirdar Alpine Fur Pompom

Fur pompoms are so popular for knitted hats and adding to loads of accessories so we decided to play around with our new favourite Sirdar Alpine to see if we could make our own.  This gorgeous fur yarn is usually knit on size 10mm needles but for this project we used 5mm to give a closer knit. We started by casting on 16 stitches and knit 16 rows but you can do as many stitches and rows as you like to get the size of pompom you want.

Cast off and fold the piece in half lengthwise. Sew up across the bottom and along the side. We used embroidery thread for sewing, easier than trying to thread the Alpine through a needle and a bit stronger than regular sewing thread.

Turn right side out and fill with stuffing. Sew a gathering seam across the top and pull up tight to secure, leaving a long thread to use for sewing onto your hat or wherever you want to attach your pompom.

Our pompom took 8 metres of yarn and considering Sirdar Alpine has 33 metres per ball, at just €4.50 a ball you’ll have a cheap alternative to furry pompoms. Remember to let us know how yours work out by commenting here or posting a picture on Facebook  or Instagram 

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Leftover wool taking over your home? What I did with mine

leftover wool

Leftover wool

leftover wool
Free pattern

So you’ve just finished a project and you’ve half a ball of leftover wool. You keep it because you’re going to use it up someday along with other leftover wool. Right so far? How much of it have you actually ever gone back and used up?

I’ve been knitting and crocheting since I was 7 years old so as you can imagine that stash of leftovers has really grown over the years. Of course there have been times when I’ve needed a tiny bit of a colour or I’m making display pieces for the shop, or I use them for the children’s classes but in general I’ve never really managed to work my way through that gigantic stash of leftovers. There have been plenty of clear-outs over the years where I’ve donated a big bag of wool but when I recently finished the Stylecraft Yarns Frida’s Flowers CAL I was faced with another 10 colours of leftovers. So determined not to be left with all these half balls of wool I decided they had to be used up.

Enter my stashbuster blanket. This isn’t my design, there are probably loads of “shell stitch” patterns available online, this is just the instructions for the blanket I made using a shell stitch. As I didn’t know how far I’d get with each colour, I just did one row of each colour at a time but you could go with as many colours/stripes as you wish. Make it whatever size you want. The pattern explains how to adjust the size which means it will work with any thickness of yarn/wool.

You can download my instructions here  free and remember to post up pictures of your finished stashbuster on our Facebook or Instagram pages. Drop us a message if you’ve any problems.

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How much wool do I need?

How much wool do I need to buy?

This is a common question and leads to many debates in the shop. Have you ever run out of yarn for your project or ended up with loads left over? Why? Let’s look at how much wool you need for your project and how to be sure you don’t run out.

You have been using the same baby cardigan pattern for years and you always make it from one 100g ball of double knitting yarn. So obviously any 100g ball of double knitting will give the same result, or two 50g balls even….right? Maybe not.

Imagine you unrolled a ball of yarn and laid it out straight on the floor, then measured the length of it. The measurement you get is the yardage/meterage of the yarn and will be shown on the ball band. So surely if both balls are 100g they’ll measure the same length. Not always.

Yarn can be made from a variety of different materials – wool, cotton, bamboo, acrylic or a mixture of two or more materials. Each of these different materials weigh differently, therefore a 100g ball of 100% wool is probably going to measure shorter than 100g of acrylic because wool is heavier than acrylic.

Let’s look at an example:

how much wool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image on the left is the label from a 100g ball of double knitting yarn, made from 100% acrylic as shown. The one on the left is a 50g ball of double knitting yarn, made from a mix of wool, cashmere and acrylic. So will two balls of the 50g yarn be the same as one ball of the 100g? Let’s look at the yardage (length)…the 100g ball has 295 metres in a ball whereas the 50g ball has 125 metres in a ball, two balls (100g) therefore will give us only 250 metres in length, leaving us short 45 metres. Now is it starting to make sense?

It is all a bit baffling but the most important thing to remember when buying yarn is to look at the yardage required rather than the weight. Still confused? That’s what we are there for. You may have seen us in the past comparing ball bands and getting the calculator out. Or maybe we have advised you that the pattern that requires one 100g ball will need three balls of the 50g yarn you’ve chosen and in your head you’ve probably thought we were mad!!! Always ask your yarn shop to calculate the amount of yarn you need and if you follow these tips you’ll hopefully never run short for a project again.