Everyone is feeling the Brrrn once again after Inauguration Day. Memes of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders bundled up in his beige jacket sporting handmade mittens have went viral on social media. Local Portland businesses and influencers have hopped on the trend with Bernie riding an Oaks Park roller coaster and hanging out at Portland Art Museum. And you can’t miss Mike Bennett’s Bernie creation.
Quite possibly the most heartwarming part of this viral moment is the origin of the mittens. They were given to Bernie by Jen Ellis, a second-grade teacher from Vermont. She makes mittens by recycling wool sweaters, and lines them with fleece made of recycled plastic. Who knew a gift from 2016 would become part of an inauguration sensation? Five years later, Bernie is still putting this gift to good use.
If Bernie’s mittens have inspired you to try to make your own diy pair, here are some local and online resources. You will have two options to choose from. Either knit your own pair with yarn or sew your own using an old wool sweater and soft lining.
Make Your Own Bernie Mittens
Find cheap yarn, sweaters and supplies
We all know that making something from scratch isn’t cheap. If you’re willing to do a little digging, you can save a lot on supplies. Portland has some great resources for reusing supplies and recycling clothing.
SCRAP PDX is a nonprofit creative reuse center where you can buy inexpensive art and craft materials. You’ll find a selection of inexpensive yarn at the downtown Portland shop.
If you’d like to upcycle a wool sweater, swing by your favorite Portland thrift shops to see what you can snag.
If you are knitting your mittens, you can get free patterns from Ravelry, a knitting website. Here are a few patterns to choose from:
Wool sweater mitten tutorial
If you found a great wool sweater to transform into your very own mittens, this is the tutorial for you.
If you want all of the materials nicely packaged for you, buy a knitting kit from a local business. Starlight Knitting Society, a Portland knit shop, has Bernie mitt kits available for purchase. A portion of mitt kit sales will be donated to the Portland Homeless Family Solutions.
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