When I made my first pin loom pumpkin three years ago I wasn’t totally enamored with it. First of all, I’d just made my scarecrow and, back then, I wasn’t comfortable with constructing 3D objects with pin loom squares. I was also learning about how color behaved in weaving—I really didn’t like how my stem turned out. Since then, I’ve learned a bit about pin loom construction. I removed the old stem and replaced it with a new one.
Deborah Bagley, of Yarnovations, is an absolute WHIZ at pin loom project construction. She has graciously granted permission for me to write this tutorial, using her original idea of the pumpkin. Please have a look at her other spooky designs in the Pin Loom Halloween Set. (She also sells a Christmas Pin Loom Pattern Set and the ebook Zoo Crew.)
IMPORTANT TIP: Use wool yarn. I think wool molds into shape a little better than acrylic, which prefers to spring back to its original state. And if you happen to use two strands together, wool tends to stick together better than more slippery yarn.
BASIC PUMPKIN INSTRUCTIONS—4″ Square Pumpkin
- Make 1 square in green (or your chosen stem color), 3 in orange. For the orange squares, I recommend leaving a short beginning tail on all but one of the squares. Leave one extra long beginning orange tail (maybe 4″) and one extra long ending tail on one of the squares (wrap five times for two of the squares, 5 1/4 for one of them).
- The larger the square, the more necessary it becomes to give the pumpkin additional contour, so add a ribbing thread vertically in the center of each square. I recommend adding it to 4″ squares. 3″ squares could go either way—I didn’t add it to my 3″ or 2″ squares. You can add the extra thread while the square is still on the loom or after you’ve taken it off. You can even add it while you’re weaving, but I think this makes the weaving unnecessarily complicated.
- Sew the three orange squares together edge to edge, creating a long rectangle. You can sew a straight seam, but I found it really useful to pull on the thread and gather the seam a bit while sewing the edges closed.
- Use a double running stitch. Go through the loops down one side (gathering as you go, if so desired). Then turn and sew back up opposite where you sewed the first seam. Make sure the second set of stitches closes the seam fully, making it look like a solid line of stitching with no gaps between running stitches.
- (If you don’t close the seam neatly, you’ll end up with a jagged looking seam.)
- Sew the last two edges together to make a sort of tube. Keep all seams on the wrong side (facing out for now) of the pumpkin.
- With pumpkin still inside out, run the needle through the bottom loops and draw them up tight, cinching the bottom hole completely closed (use the extra long beginning yarn tail). You may have to run the thread through a second time to get it to close all the way. Secure this closure so it won’t loosen up.
- Make the stem. Roll the green square up as tightly as possible and sew it into that rolled shape. You may want to pull the seam so the stem curves, or you can add a cinching seam inside the stem after sewing the roll closed. You may want to fold up the bottom section of stem so it doesn’t stick way out of the pumpkin. (It’s not necessary to fold the stem on the larger pumpkins unless you use a large square for the stem.) If you have a 1″ square loom you can use that for a stem; it works especially well with the smaller pumpkins.
- Run a gathering stitch around the top of the pumpkin through the outside loops, as you did for the bottom. At this point you can pull on the vertical gathering threads to give the pumpkin a more organic shape.
- Add a little Poly-fil to the inside of the pumpkin; poke a divot into the filling for the stem. (You can use a lot of Poly-fil if you want your pumpkin stiffer, but I like it better with just a small amount.)
2″ Square Pumpkin
By far the easiest, fastest, and cutest! It isn’t necessary to add the vertical gathering thread for this size.
Instead of sewing three orange squares, another option is to make one rectangle with your bookmark loom, but then you need to add gathering threads to create the extra ribs, or lobes. (A friend suggested this method. She also puts contrasting yarn in the “rib ditch” on the outside of the pumpkin to highlight the ribs.)
3″ (or Other Size) Square Pumpkin
- Small size squares don’t require adding the extra thread for creating another lobe (or rib) on the pumpkin. You can add it if you prefer it that way though.
- If you want to make a simple 3″ square loom, follow the instructions in my earlier post (see also Adventures in Pin Loom Weaving Topical Guide, topic: “Loom Making,” for templates to make other size looms). Making your own looms can be kind of a hassle, but if you want to construct 3D pin loom figures, I highly recommend it.