Did you see U.S. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, all bundled up in mittens made from an upcycled wool sweater and lined with fleece? And then all those awesome memes that followed?
Sanders got these mittens from a woman in Vermont that makes them with recycled materials. It’s possible to replicate or get your hands on those winter accessories from a maker or by creating them on a budget, to keep as toasty as one of America’s hippest and most straight talking federal legislators.
Thanks to Melissa Thomas McKenney for getting the exact coordinates to place Bernie Sanders’ iconic inauguration stance in front of Mikel Broth’s lively mural of the Vermont senator’s dancing likeness.
Members of the RVA Makers Forum assert that handmade items generally are not cheap, but smaller items like mittens should be on the lower scale of handmade items’ price points. In your quest to acquire these mittens, you could order a pair from Etsy. The vendors are not necessarily local but you’re still supporting small business and makers. Jacqueline Jennette made a list of her favorite Etsy vendors for under $30 to help herself choose a pair. They’re going quick as lots of them have sold in the last day or so since she made the list.
If you want to try to make these mittens yourself, Richmond crafter Julie Graham Bryant, who has made them in the past, recommends hand sewing with embroidery thread.
“It’ll hold up longer. I used to make these all the time and even woolen pants and tunics for the kids when they were little. Super easy!!” Graham Bryant commented.
Use your sewing skills (you might have strengthened making masks) and create your own Bernie mittens, by recycling your own sweaters or getting some appropriate sweaters from some of Richmond’s finest thrift shops. Richmond crafter Liane Hedden used this pattern to create the fleece inner layer.
“[Sanders’] mittens were upcycled from a sweater, and my daughter and I made a pair for her (plus a scarf) from an outgrown sweater dress with a hole in it. It’s honestly super easy!” Lianne Hedden wrote on the RVA Makers Forum. “Just pick a sweater with a good bit of stretch in the knit and err on the side of too big, especially for the thumb hole.”
This tutorial from YouTube shows the steps:
It may take a little longer, but knitters who have the skills can access a FREE pattern posted on Ravelry, the knitting site.
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