Christine Leech reveals why pom poms aren’t just for bobble hats and her tips to host the perfect crafternoon…
Christine Leech’s amazing pom pom project for Mollie Makes’ The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon (our new special edition magazine for charity) elevates the simple pom pom from a decoration on a knitted hat to quirky cupcakes, cute faces and even stylish bag charms. And, even better, you can use them to raise money too. It really is a win-win!
Christine who runs the blog Sewyeah!, is an author, stylist and all round crafty type who has an Instagram feed that never fails to inspire us. We caught up with Christine at her home in south east London, which she describes as “in danger of disappearing under the ridiculous amount of craft materials”, with our pom pom maker in hand to find out more…
Please tell us about the inspiration behind your project for Comic Relief Crafternoon?
The pom poms were inspired by some of the projects I created for my last book Pompomania. Since I started making pom poms I often find myself looking at inanimate objects trying to work out if I could recreate them in pom pom form. The smiley faces are an extension of my emoji pom poms and I love the way each little face has a different character. I also love turning food into pom poms. Liquorice allsorts, doughnuts, ice cream and sushi – I could open a whole cafe with the things I’ve managed to make!
Have you ever done any crafty fundraising in the past?
I’m afraid I’ve never sat in a bath of beans or climbed Kilimanjaro, but I used to have a stall at the village craft fair when I was at school to help raise money to build a swimming pool.
What would you do if you hosted your own Crafternoon?
To start with I would have lots of cake and prosecco! Simple projects that don’t take too much concentration are perfect, so people can chat and relax as they craft. Pom poms are great for this as the basic technique is easy to master, but the variations are endless. All you need are pom pom makers (that you can make out of card), your own wool stash (or a variety of wools from charity shops) and scissors. Simple!
How big is your crafting stash and where do you keep it?
My crafting and yarn stash is growing exponentially and is in every room of my house. There’s fabric under all the beds and a large drapers cabinet in the kitchen full of individual craft products, but they are all in a bit of a state and need a good sort out. Ultimately my plan is to move it all down to the bottom of my garden where I have just converted my old double garage into a summerhouse/studio, but that’s still a bit of a work in progress and right now it’s a bit too chill!
What does your average working day look like?
If I’m working at home I tend to get up as if I was going out to work, and then have breakfast and watch TV until Jeremy Kyle starts! It’s not unusual for me to start working on something while waiting for my porridge to cook and then find myself still in my pyjamas six hours later. Then I have the debate about weather or not it’s worth getting dressed!
Where do you go to find inspiration?
I tend to be inspired by the most random of things: a colour combo in a shop window or a bit of graffiti on a wall. I walk a lot and I’m always spying things. Then I spend the rest of the walk trying to work out how I could use it in my craft. My phone is also full of random snaps of things I see, although sometimes I can’t quite remember what it was that inspired me to take the photo in the first place.
Name three things you can’t live without?
- My phone camera. Although I have a nice, proper camera I still find myself whipping out my phone all the time. I take loads of step-by-step photos with it – there are at least 5000 on there right now most of which are work in progress pictures.
- Radio 4 Extra and audio books. I like having someone to listen to (and on the odd occasion talk too!) while I’m working. Radio 4 Extra has just the right level of excitement, drama and chat for this. Although I can’t listen to anything when I’m working out patterns or tricky methods.
- Herbal tea and flapjacks. I have to have a constant supply of hot tea or water, especially when the studio is cold! I also kid myself that flapjacks are good for me because of all the oats.
What does making mean to you?
I’m constantly surprised that I am allowed to do what I do as a job! If you told five-year-old me that I’d be making pasta shape birthday cards and gifting handmade creations as a job I probably wouldn’t have tried so hard at maths.