Have you heard about our pom pom series we’ve put together in collaboration with our friends at Purl Soho? Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing 12 DIY pom pom tutorials, each one inspired by an endangered animal. Today we’re tackling a big one: the Borneo Pygmy elephant! Keep reading for the full instructions below.
what you need:
- Pom Pom Maker Set (small + large)
- Line Weight in fieldstone grey
- Wool felt (charcoal and black)
- Embroidery floss (grey)
- Tacky glue
- Printable elephant tag
Begin by winding your skein of Line Weight into a ball. If you’ve never done this before, take a look at Purl Soho’s tutorial on how best to do this – it’s easy! You won’t need the whole skein for this one pom, so save any leftovers for another project. Once you have a ball of yarn, wrap it around the large pink pom pom maker that comes in the set. For a nice, dense pom pom, you’ll want to do at 600-700 rotations around the maker.
Once you’ve wrapped all your yarn, cut an 18″ piece of embroidery thread. Thread one end through the U-shaped gap between the wrapped yarn and the pom pom maker. Bring that same end up and over the wrapped yarn and then back through that same U-shaped gap again. Bring the two end of the embroidery floss together and make sure that the horizontal threads are nice and centered on the yarn wrap. Tie a surgeon’s knot but wrap the end through the loop twice. Pull the knot together but don’t pull tight yet.
Gently slide the yarn wrap off the end of the pom pom maker. Pull the embroidery floss knot as tightly as you can. Use a finger to hold the surgeon’s knot tight in place and then tie a half granny knot on top to secure. Bring both ends of the floss to the other side of the wrap (make sure to do this so that you don’t catch any loops of yarn along the sides) and then tie another tight surgeon’s knot, followed by another granny knot to secure. Make sure that these knots feel secure and very tight – a loose center may cause your pom pom to fall apart later.
Use sharp scissors to cut all the yarn loops. You’ll now have a large and slightly shaggy looking pom pom like this.
Use your matching large pom pom guide to trim the excess yarn, forming a nice round pom pom. As you trim, fluff up the pom pom and reposition the guide on different sizes to make sure you have a good sphere shape from all sides.
To make the elephant’s facial features, first cut two small circles out of black felt for the eyes. For the ears, cut two C-shapes from the charcoal felt – they don’t need to be perfect C’s, a little bit of a wobble on the edge is perfect. For the trunk, cut a 3″ long rectangle out of charcoal felt – make one end narrower at about 1″ wide, and the top edge should have a curve to it, as pictured, and be slightly wider at about 1 1/2″ wide. Roll the felt into a tube and see how it looks – you can trim this to be shorter or adjust the shape until you’re happy with it.
To assemble the trunk, thread two strands of embroidery floss onto a needle and tie a double knot in the end. Holding the trunk together with one hand, use the other to sew a small whip stitch to connect the two edges. Once you reach the top of the trunk, tie the thread off securely. If you aren’t comfortable sewing this step, you can use tacky or hot glue instead, you’ll just have to hold it in place as it dries.
To add some wrinkle details onto the trunk, use the same needle and thread to embroider three or four horizontal stitches across the front of the trunk, right in the middle. You’ll want the needle to come up first through the trunk so that the knot is hidden inside.
Glue all the features onto the pom pom! For the trunk, we used a pin to hold it in place while it dried. When gluing down the ears, separate the pom pom a little bit so that you can glue the edge of the ear so that it’s just hidden inside. Let dry completely.
Learn more about the Borneo Pygmy elephant here! And don’t forget to print out the provided tag above and give him or her a name!