SCOTTISH knitwear designer Mixter Maxter’s latest collaboration aspires to tackle loneliness within older communities.

The brand has teamed up with Age Scotland Orkney to offer design classes to encourage the local community to get together, socialise and combat loneliness.

Founder Kirsteen Stewart says: “By offering an opportunity to socialise, have fun and meet others whilst taking part in an activity that will benefit a local charity with any money raised being used to support services for older people in Orkney.”

Mixter Maxter began after a discussion between Stewart and a Japanese client who took a shine to her contemporary prints.

“The buyer who loved my prints and wanted to see how the translated into knit. I gave her a sample which the Japanese buyer loved and it started from there.”

The brand now specialises in knitted clothing and accessories, all of which are produced exclusively in Orkney and Shetland.

Mixter Maxter showcases an array of colour and pattern in knitted lambswool. Stewart’s use of graphic patterns and bright colours allows her to produce statement pieces which can be mixed and matched to create loud, fun and vibrant looks. The brand has now expanded to include new ranges in clothing, children’s accessories and homeware.

The idea for the loneliness campaign began last year after Stewart began discussing her ideas with Gillian Skuse from Age Scotland Orkney.

Stewart knew that people had a love of making things. The pair decided that offering design-inspired classes was an exciting and productive way to encourage the community to get together and socialise.

The campaign launched earlier this year when the duo put out a call to local groups, asking them to get involved and donate a two-hour session to make pompoms. For the event, Mixter Maxter provided kits, wool and refreshments, as well as hosting the training to teach attendees how to make the ultimate pompom.

The sessions began with a group in Burray and have since spiralled into a massive success. The “pompom social” has reached groups from Kirkwall and St Ola and even Zimbabwe with GoGo Olive as part of Stewart’s work in Africa.

There are more events planned throughout the winter months, including an event in October at the London’s Princes Trust Tomorrow Store as part of Wool Week UK.

“The response we have received so far has been fantastic,” Stewart says. “Not only have people come along to make Pompoms but also they have donated wool and we have Pompoms coming in from people who are making them at home as well. We have even had requests to help from Australia”

The full range of products, including a hat with interchangeable pompoms, is currently available online and will also be sold at The Pier Arts Centre and Hume sweet Hume in Kirkwall.

For more information on the project, or to get involved, e-mail