Thursday, January 7, 2016

DIY Mittens Made from Upcycled Sweaters at Ohio Bed and Breakfast

One of the featured DIY inspirations for the 2015 Christmas Cookie Tour was mittens made from upcycled sweaters.  In other words, "Smittens".  Our Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast was a featured property showcased on the charity benefit tour.  As chairperson of the tour, I made a sample pair and found myself eternally hooked.  Perhaps it's an addiction, but I can no longer go into a thrift store without looking for wool sweaters, or sweaters with at least some wool content.  It's the love of the "Hunt".

Mittens Made From Repurposed Sweaters
My large inventory of sweaters offers plenty of variety to selectively coordinate pleasing color combinations.  I like to incorporate two or three different sweaters in one pair. I never know just how each pair with turn out.

Pine Branch Mittens

I made this pine branch pair of mittens using a deep purple-brown colored men's 100% wool sweater. With metallic silver thread, I embroidered along lines in the sweater fabric. For more interest, I free-hand embroidered pine branches and pine cones. I sewed a set of antique silver buttons onto the cuffs.  These mittens required several hours of stitching, and the price for these is higher.

Mitten cuffs can be made from the cuffs from the sweater. When I shop for sweaters, I check the sleeve ends to see if they look good good.  If they are tattered, I do not purchase the sweater.  Typically the bottom of the sweater is ribbed and offers enough length for two pairs of mittens.  I've also fashioned cuffs from collars.

Because sweaters come in so many diverse designs, there is no limit to the possibilities.  Embroidery, appliques, and embellishments add additional interest.  The oak leaf mittens shown in the photo above were original with the sweater.  I fashioned the acorns from wool fabric and attached for a nice touch.
Snowman Mittens

The images in the snowman mittens are just as they were in the sweater.  I added no additional elements. This was a sweater that had very little wool content, but I loved the possibilities.  Sometimes I will purchase a sweater with no wool content if the sweater has interesting features or I can see a creative application.

Notice on the left-hand snowman mitten that I pieced more of the sweater fabric under the snowman, as he was positioned near the bottom of the sweater.  The fact that I pieced below the ribbing did not detract from the beauty of the mitten.  In fact, I believe it added interest.

Reverse Side Sweater Mittens

For complete instructions and a pattern for making these mittens, go to our Cookie Tour tutorial link. Now, go have fun!  Ask your friend and family to give you their old sweaters that they no longer need.  Also ask them to collect old buttons for you.  Now let the mitten making begin!

If visiting Ohio's Amish Country, stop by The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast to tour a few rooms.  Experience warm hospitiality, fine accommodations, and a great breakfast, served over great conversation.

Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
January 7, 2016

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