Adventures in Pompom Land
Squirrels pair curiosity and cuteness to perfection: this chap’s bushy tail and inquisitive look complete his lively expression. Give him a pal or two to keep him company up in the trees by making the Bluebird or Raccoon.
5 1⁄2 inches (14 cm) tall (without the wooden base)
© 2024 Myko Diann Bocek / Lark Crafts · Reproduced with permission.
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Make a 21⁄2-inch (6.4 cm) fat, egg-shaped pompom from gray yarn for the head. I used approximately 1⁄3 skein of Patons medium-weight Classic Wool, which is approximately 69 yards (63 m).
On the narrow end of the egg shape, locate where you want the nose to be. Make a small part into the pile of the yarn, place a small drop of glue in the part, and insert the pink seed bead. Gently pinch the fibers around the glue and the bead to secure it. Let dry.
Decide where you want the eyes to be. Make a part in the yarn, carefully squeeze in a pea-size drop of glue for each eye, and gently insert the wire end of each glass eye into the pompom. Let the glue dry.
Cut two ears out of the wool felt, rub the inside of each ear with a bit of pink chalk, and blend it in with your finger. Squeeze a dollop of glue onto the bottom flat part of each ear shape and pinch the lower edge together, with pink inside, to give it dimension. Repeat this for the second ear. Use clothespins or hemostats to hold the ear bases together as they dry.
After the ears have dried, make a small part on top of the head over each eye, squeeze a bit of glue into the pile, and insert the ears. Pinch the fibers around the ears to secure them and let dry.
Make another slightly larger pompom from gray yarn and trim it into a pear-shaped pompom for the body, about 4 inches (10.2 cm) tall. I used approximately 1⁄2 skein of medium-weight Patons Classic Wool, which is approximately 105 yards (96 m). The narrow top will be the Squirrel’s neck, and the heavier, rounded end will be the bottom of the Squirrel sitting upright. To create the illusion of the Squirrel’s haunches and tummy, trim out a V shape from the front center bottom of the belly area.
Glue the pipe cleaner into the top half of the pompom body. Simply make a horizontal part deep into the wool at the top, squeeze in a dime-size dollop of glue, and place the pipe cleaner snugly down into it; pinch the fibers of the wool yarn around the pipe cleaner to secure it. This will become the frame for the arms of the Squirrel, which you will needle felt. Let the glue dry.
Glue the finished head onto the body. To create a cute, inquisitive expression, tilt the head to one side. Squeeze a nickel-size dollop of glue at the top of the body pompom and position the head as desired. You will need to let the glue set up and dry, which can take a few hours. To keep the head from falling off before the glue sets up, use a long floral pin to hold it in place. Remove the pin after the glue has set up.
After the glue has fully dried, bend the pipe cleaner into the desired position and trim each arm to approximately 2 1⁄2 inches (6.4 cm). Bend down and crimp the sharp ends of the pipe cleaners because they will poke through the needle-felted paws.
Needle felt the Squirrel’s feet by rolling a golf ball–size bit
of wool roving into a cigarlike shape and needle felting to compact it down. Once it is a tight, dense 3-inch (7.6 cm) cigar shape, cut it evenly in half to make the two little feet.
At the bottom of the pear shape make two separate parts into the wool “fur” and glue and insert the feet into the body. Let it dry standing upright.
After the pipe cleaner and glue have set up, wrap a thick bacon-size strip of roving tightly around the pipe cleaner armatures from top to bottom. Use more roving near the upper arm and shoulder area and taper it toward the end to form a tiny paw. Needle felt the roving tightly to compact it around the pipe cleaner so it will not unravel. Bend down at the wrist to create the illusion of paws.
For the tail, make another pompom from wool roving yarn. I used approximately 1⁄3 skein of Patons bulky-weight Classic Wool Roving yarn, which is approximately 40 yards (36 m). The Squirrel’s tail looks like a rounded arc with longer, fluffier roving yarn at the end, and shorter, denser roving yarn at the base. The knotted waxed twine will be located in the center of the tail’s curved arc. Begin shaping the pompom by trimming the fibers on one side of the waxed twine shorter than the other side, as the shorter, denser part of the tail will be attached to the Squirrel’s body. On the other side of the twine, trim the roving yarn fibers so they’re slightly longer and fluffier. The longer fibers will naturally tend to droop a bit, which will create the curve of the tail. Comb the fibers with your fingers as you gradually sculpt the curved tail to approximately 6 to 7 inches (15.2 to 17.8 cm) long.
Make a large part in the back of the Squirrel’s body and squeeze in a big dollop of glue both in the part and on the lower portion of one side of the tail; snugly insert the glued pompom tail into the part. To hold the tail in place as the glue sets up, tie a ribbon or a pipe cleaner around the tail and the body; remove it when the glue is dry. Please note that the tail often makes the Squirrel heavy in the back, so your Squirrel may tip. Gluing the Squirrel onto a simple base (like the tree section shown) will keep this from happening.
Tie a ribbon or two around your Squirrel’s neck.
NOTE: Want to make additional embellishments for your Squirrel? Needle felt an acorn, which the Squirrel can hold in its front paws. Tiny woven baskets found in miniature shops and filled with millinery flowers, berries, or pinecones are another cute object for your Squirrel to hold.