Reclaimed Creations
by Heidi Hammel

wearable art hand-crafted from reclaimed materials

Tips and Techniques

This page is devoted to sharing techniques that I have developed to make my products. 


twin tassel hat made by Heidi Hammel of Reclaimed CreationsPompoms are a great ornament and I love to put two of them on my twin tassel hats, such as the one at the right.  My pompoms usually include several different yarns to create a variegated effect.  I select the combination of yarns to complement the design of each hat.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for a link to a YouTube video of the entire pompom making process.

A good pompom is spherical and the yarn is densely packed to form a plush surface.  Pompom makers are available at many sewing stores and I have used such makers for years.  I find them to be much too slow for my purposes.  So....

I make pompoms on a lathe.

I build my pompoms on a lathe.  This one is a South Bend 9x30 metal lathe.  It dates from WWII and weighs about 600 lbs.  I clamp a piece of PVC plumping pipe in the chuck and set up the lathe to turn slowly.  A plastic sheet covers the bed of the lathe and keeps my yarn free of machine oil.  I start a wrap of several strands of different yarns around the plumbing pipe and engage the lathe.  The lathe turns the pipe and winds the yarn around the pipe.  When enough yarn is wrapped around the pipe, I shut down the lathe and cut the strands of yarn.  The photo shows enough yarn coiled around the pipe for one pompom.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to a YouTube video of the entire process.

Removing the coil of yarn from the lathe


I slide a holder comprising a wooden block with two dowels into the end of the pipe.  I then slide the coil of yarn onto the dowels and remove the holder from the pipe.

Coil of yarn and fixture

The coil of yarn on the holder.  The wooden block and the two dowels are in the center of the photograph.

Happy camper

So far, so good.

Tying and cutting the yarn coil

Next I tie the coil together.  I pass a length of yarn through the gap between the two dowels, loop the length of yarn around the coil and tie it tight.

Trimming the pompom

I remove the tied-together coil of yarn from the fixture and cut the loops of yarn in the coil.  I trim the resulting yarn ends to form the finished pompom.  Click this link to a YouTube video of me making a pompom.