Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pois and Popcorn

Today for our Worldwide Culture Swap, we made some mini pois to go to our recipients. As a bonus there is a Girls Rally patch that includes Maori Craft so the girls decided they could complete that badge and share the things on it with our WWCS families.

"POI" is the Maori word for "ball" on a cord. Maori people have their own unique genealogies in not only their lives but often with their implements and poi. I point this out because if you look on a few different websites you will find different histories and reasons for the traditional use of the poi. Some say they were used for strength and co-ordination, some say games and some say to help keep the hands flexible for weaving.

Pois are used by wahine (Maori females) in many of their traditional dances. The balls attached to flax string are swung and twirled rhythmically around to make patterns in the air in keeping with the song and also at times to create rhythm in songs, as they are tapped as they swirl. The graceful dancers make it look rather easy but try giving it a go; it is actually quite a lot harder than it looks!

The pois we made are not at all made in a traditional way or from traditional products.

First we cut three lengths of wool to braid. Actually the first thing we did was microwave a pack of popcorn to eat whilst making the pois. Then we cut some red, black and white (traditional colours) wool to around 15cm for each mini poi. We ended up cutting some off the ends when finished, but it's easier to tie and knot them with longer lengths and cut them later than try and work with little ends.

We then cut some circles out of a white shopping bag. Good way to recycle! I drew around an egg cup to get a sizing for the cover of the balls.

We then stuffed the wee circles with cotton wool. You can also use tissue paper or even more of the shopping bag.

We tied some rubber bands around them temporarily around the ends until we were able to tie the wool on. I suggest you have another set of hands to do this as it is a little difficult when they balls are so teeny.

Once they tied the wool around their wee balls they simply started plaiting away. I laughed to see that they found it easier to plait the wool by placing the balls between their toes to hold. I believe this may have also been so that they could continue to eat popcorn as they made these! Once they plaited as far as they wanted to, they tied a knot about a cm from the end and then popped a safety pin through so they can be worn as a wee brooch.

Voila! Some completed mini pois for our WWCS families.

Check out the Worldwide Culture Swap website if you'd like to participate in a swap of your own.


  1. What a fun craft! Thank you for sharing on the Culture Swapper

  2. Will be featuring you on our Facebook page later today! (www.facebook.com/alldonemonkey)

    1. Being a recently new blogger; this will be my first time featured anywhere and I am just a little excited now ... lol

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