Pompom maker or no pompom maker?


Yesterday I was making pompoms. I’m knitting slippers for our theater production and since this scene is set in the 60’s I’m making pompoms. Do you remember making pompoms when you were a kid? I did. It wasn’t the easiest task. First you had to find a piece of cardboard that you cut into two circles that were equally big. In the circles you had to have a hole and then you put the two circles together and started wrapping yarn around them. It took forever and when you had filled the hole in the middle with yarn you, you cut the yarn between the cardboard circles, tied a string of yarn around it and removed the circles. In order to do so you most likely had to cut the cardboard as well. This meant you could rarely use the same cardboard for more than one pompom.

I made a lot of pompoms when I was a kid. The hardest part was to find a good piece of cardboard and in the end it was just too much of a hustle to make a pompom that I stopped. Enter the pompom maker. It’s a set of plastic pieces that can be put together as two circles. The whole element of finding and cutting cardboard has been omitted and you can start by wrapping the yarn. It makes it much faster to make a pompom, which is nice. I still don’t make many pompoms but I make about 100% than I would have had I not had the pompom maker.

Whenever I use it though, I always wonder, does this mean that kids today doesn’t know how to make a pompom without a plastic device? Is it necessary for them to know that they can also do it with only some pieces of cardboard? I guess this goes for everything in society, we now have laundry machines and vacuum cleaners and microwaves and so on. The thing is that if my vacuum cleaner for some reason doesn’t work one day when I really need to vacuum, I know what to do instead. I would take out a broom, a mop and a duster. The result might not be as good as with the vacuum cleaner, or as fast, but it would get the job done.

Now, what if you can’t find your pompom maker the day you really need a pompom? Do you start searching for cardboard or are you at loss on how to proceed? Do you always need to buy something in order to create? I remember as  a kid how cool I thought it was that just by using leftovers that was lying around the house, I could make something. You take silly little things that doesn’t seem related, like cardboard from an old shoe box or something like that, scissors and some yarn and all of a sudden you have a pompom. (I get the same feeling every time I turn a heel. You knit a little here and a little there and all of a sudden you have a heel, it’s the coolest thing (and doesn’t require special heel devices). Knitting in itself is the same, you play around with string and end up with a sweater. I do have a lot of devices for knitting though, but I can live without most of them if I have to: no cable needle? Use a match or a tooth pick. No measuring tape? Do you have a ruler? Or a piece of paper? No yarn? I know someone who knit with plastic bags.)

Since I do indeed love my pompom maker I’m sure this doesn’t have to be an either-or situation but rather a both situation, the two can co-exist. By all means, use the pompom maker, I do, but I’m happy to know that none of us will be at loss if one day we can’t find it.