Pompom project brings the community together

A special new collection from a talented Orkney designer has helped bring the local community together over recent months.

Kirsteen Stewart’s Autumn/Winter Mixter Maxter Knitwear range is out now, and you could be picking up products complete with pompoms handmade by Orkney Women’s Institute (WI) members.

It’s all part of Kirsteen’s collaboration with Age Orkney, the local branch of the Age Scotland charity. She put a call out to local groups earlier this year to gauge interest in a ‘pompom social’, a chance to people to get together, get creative and – most importantly – have fun.

The pompom kit from Mixter Maxter, a vital part of the pompom social events
The pompom kit from Mixter Maxter, a vital part of the pompom social events


Mixter Maxter provided the kits, wool and refreshments, plus special training on how to make the ultimate pompom. So far groups in Burray, St Ola and Kirkwall have taken part, and pompoms have been posted from as far away as Zimbabwe!

Ten percent of the proceeds from the accessories collection will go towards supporting elderly people in the islands through Age Scotland Orkney.

Part of the exciting new Mixter Maxter Knitwear Autumn/Winter collection
Part of the exciting new Mixter Maxter Knitwear Autumn/Winter collection
“We always wanted to have a social aspect to this project and through my work I’ve noticed that people love to make,” said Kirsteen. “The response has been fantastic – people have been coming along to produce pompoms and some folk have been making them at home too. We’ve even had requests to help from Australia!”

For the charity, the project plays an important role. Gillian Skuse from Age Scotland Orkney said: “We are here to help combat isolation and loneliness for anyone who lives in our community. This project with Mixter Maxter offers a chance to socialise and meet others, whilst also helping to benefit a local charity.”

Further events are planned throughout the winter, including a pompom social at the Princes Trust Tomorrow Stores in London as part of Wool Week UK. Any local social group can get involved – pompoms are for everyone!

You can pick up your own pompom and explore the wider Mixter Maxter Knitwear Autumn/Winter collection via the official website, at The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness and at Hume Sweet Hume in Kirkwall. You can also follow Mixter Maxter on Facebook and Instagram.

It’s just part of a busy season ahead for Orkney Crafts Association member Kirsteen. She has also been working with the Archaeology Institute at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Orkney to create a new range of clothing and accessories under her own brand name in time for the coming season.

In collaboration with local archaeologist, Dan Lee, Kirsteen has been using GPS mapping equipment to track popular coastal walks and routes throughout Orkney. The maps from these walks have produced line drawings, which Kirsteen then shaped and combined with colour palettes to design a new range of fabrics.

The new Kirsteen Stewart 'Wander' collection is influenced by routes and trails around Orkney, and has been put together in collaboration with the UHI Archaeology Institute
The new Kirsteen Stewart 'Wander' collection is influenced by routes and trails around Orkney, and has been put together in collaboration with the UHI Archaeology Institute


“Orkney is a place of history and heritage, great natural beauty and wild weather, but we want to introduce people to another side of our islands,” said Kirsteen. “We’ve concentrated on the beauty and inspiration of everyday life here, and reworked it to create something new and fresh.”

The photo shoot for the latest Kirsteen Stewart collection saw the team travel to some different sites across the islands. The Pomona Inn in Finstown and the Orkney Auction Mart, both popular and busy parts of the county, became fashion shoot locations for the day and helped create some fantastic imagery.

The photo shoot for Kirsteen Stewart's new collection visited some quintessential Orkney locations, including the iconic Pomona Inn in Finstown
The photo shoot for Kirsteen Stewart's new collection visited some quintessential Orkney locations, including the iconic Pomona Inn in Finstown


Kirsteen Stewart’s range can be found across the UK, Europe and Japan, and can also be ordered from her official website. The new collection is out now.

You can also follow Kirsteen on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest product news and a behind the scenes look at her work.


The Digital Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.