This article was first published on Atlanta on the Cheap!
Amid all the pageantry and red-carpet fashion of the presidential inauguration, one now iconic image stands out: Bernie Sanders and his large woolen mittens.
The photo of the senator in a parka, mask, and mittens has gone viral, spreading across social media like wildfire, in all its Photoshopped glory.
You’ve probably seen the memes. Bernie and his mittens on the subway. Lurking in a Game of Thrones scene or the Star Trek bridge. Having lunch with construction workers on a skyscraper beam. Sitting in detention with the rest of the Breakfast Club.
It goes on and on — and it’s been hilarious.
Want to make your own Bernie meme?
A new site lets you place Bernie anywhere, just by entering an address.
Want to make your own Bernie-inspired mittens? Read on!
And if you haven’t yet heard the heartwarming (and hand-warming) tale of Bernie’s mittens, it goes like this.
An industrious Vermont schoolteacher, Jen Ellis, makes mittens by cutting up old sweaters, adding a fleece backing for warmth, and sewing the pieces together. Back in 2016, she sent a pair of her homemade mittens to Bernie, and figured that would be the end of it. Little did she know that her gift would soon become the most famous pair of mittens on the planet.
I made Bernie’s mittens as a gift a couple years ago. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece (made from recycled plastic bottles). #BerniesMittens pic.twitter.com/lTXFJvVy9V
— Jen Ellis (@vtawesomeness) January 21, 2020
Since the inauguration, mitten patterns are popping up like crazy. And if you’re inspired by Bernie’s mittens, you could make a pair, too.
Some of the patterns require actual knitting skills. They duplicate the brown and tan Fair Isle pattern that’s splattered all over the internet.
But anyone with basic sewing skills can create mittens from an old sweater, which is how Bernie’s own mittens were made.
Below are a few ideas to get you started making mittens — on the cheap, of course!
Bernie Sanders, Steal his look pic.twitter.com/c4Hw48aCUu
— Emilia (@EmiliaDeLarge) January 20, 2021
Knit a pair of Bernie-inspired mittens
These patterns are available for free from Ravelry.com:
Make mittens from an old sweater
Shop your closet or browse a second-hand store for a cardigan or pullover with a fun pattern.
The good news is, the sweater doesn’t have to be perfect — or even fit you — because you’ll be cutting it up.
Check out our huge list of thrift stores in the Triangle.
Even better? If you’re not at all craftsy, you can buy sweater mittens on Etsy!
Many of these instruction pages involve shrinking the sweaters first, to create a denser, more felt-like fabric that will be easier to cut and sew without it unraveling. The technique involves putting the sweater inside a pillowcase, then machine washing and drying it.
Some of the links below involve emailing away for the template. We’ve tested all of the email addresses, and they work. But we suspect we’ll be unsubscribing to a few craft sites in the days ahead.
FREE patterns and instructions for recycling an old sweater into mittens:
♦ Make felted mittens from a 100% wool sweater (email for free template, instructions are online)
♦ How to make sweater mittens (instructions and free template that you’ll email for)
♦ WikiHow.com directions for making sweater mittens (make your own template by tracing your hand)
♦ Make your own sweater mittens (including how to draft your own template/pattern)
♦ Step-by-step photo tutorial for sewing sweater mittens in less than an hour (no shrinking required; this pattern cleverly uses the sleeve cuffs of the sweater to form the mitten wristband)
Are you a visual learner?
We browsed the mitten-making tutorials on YouTube and loved this one the best — because it includes a way to get a FREE template to help you cut the sweater.
To get the mitten template: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll get an automated reply immediately. We tried it and it works! You’ll have to click on both links and print both files, resizing as necessary to fit your hands.
Watch the tutorial:
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