Friends Don’t Let Friends Make Two Left Mittens: A Cautionary Tale

We live in the Midwest, and things have gotten pretty frigid around here lately.  Lulu is finally old enough to love sledding as much as Kiki does, and there’s a little hill in the park across the street from preschool.  So we are loving crunching through the snow and breaking out the sleds.  That is, until little fingers get too cold.  Then all is lost.  I decided new, super warm mittens were in order.

After looking all over the internet for a good tutorial, I remembered the mitten pattern in the Olivier & S book Little Things to Sew.  Perfect!  I had an old wool sweater in the drawer that was dying to be cut into mittens.  What’s more, it’s Kids Clothes Week, and the theme is “Upcycling” — What could be better?

I machine washed the old sweater in hot water and dried on high twice to felt it.  It shrunk hilariously and came out of the drier looking to be just the right size for Lulu — but the fibers did all blend together to make it nice and thick and fray-proof.

I got right to work, cutting out two pairs of mittens from the sweater and a lining from some purple fleece I had laying around.  I wanted these suckers to be warm.  I simply put the wool and fleece layers together and sewed normally (the pattern doesn’t call for a lining).

I finished one mitten.  I finished two mittens.  Yeah baby.  I set them next to each other to smugly admire my amazing handiwork, and I think you know what I saw.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Not exactly what I had imagined.  Shit!

Did I have enough sweater to cut new pieces for an, ahem, right mitten?

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Yes, just enough!  Thank my lucky stars.  A proper pair was then created for Lulu, followed by a second pair for Kiki.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Let this be a lesson to all of us.  Just because you’re very short on time and you decide to make a project that’s “simple” and “doesn’t require much thought” — don’t phone it in.  For God’s sake!

The good news is that both Kiki and Lulu love their new mittens.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

I’ve had a very hard time finding mittens that are really warm, yet small enough for Lulu’s 2 1/2 year old hands.  Most everything I’ve found is just too big and won’t stay on.  So, I made an “extra small” pair for her, meant to fit 6m-2T kids.  The hand part is just right, but they are a tad short in the wrist.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Next time, rather than sewing on bias tape as a casing for elastic at the wrist, I might try Jane from Buzzmill’s very smart idea of adding a ribbed cuff.  Genius!  That cuff should tuck right into the coat sleeves.

Kiki’s are a small, 3T-4T, and they fit quite well.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

I’m happy to report that the end of this cautionary tale is a happy one.

Here’s to sledding, snow princesses and warm hands!

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens