Wrap a second piece of yarn around and around the needle, fairly tightly, with the wraps close together, about 30 wraps.
Place a braid or twisted cord over the needle - this cord will hold the pom pom.
Un-tape the ends of the short yarn and tie them together around the cord, slipping the wrapped coil off the needle as you do so. As you pull the knot tighter the coil of yarn will wrap around to become a little circle. Pull the knot tight and tie and extra knot to make it secure.
Trim off the long ends of yarn.
Make 2 more of these beside the first so that you have a set of 3 sitting together on the cord to make a pom pom.
I used 3ply (light-fingering) woollen yarn and 4mm (US size 6) needles. If you use thicker yarn you might need a larger size needle.
I learned to make these from a book "Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition" by Suzanne Baizerman & Karen Searle, it was published in 1978 so might be out of print.
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This was orignally a blog post on 11th April 2012