Eleanor’s Girl Scout troop decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange this year. Eleanor decided that her gift would be handmade, and we had a great discussion of different crafting possibilities before finally deciding on a knitting project.
Fortunately, we had some extra-chunky fluffy orange wool sitting around, so Eleanor decided to knit some mittens.
This is a project from the picture book Sunny’s Mittens, which was written back in the 80s with the express purpose of teaching kids how to knit mittens while they read the book. Mittens are the ideal first knitting project; circular knitting is easier than flat; mittens take far less time than a scarf and are more exciting to wear.
The first mitten was made during the last weeks of the Bad Apples rehearsals, and so went fairly slowly. But the second mitten flew by in a matter of days!
After knitting up the mittens, Eleanor felted them. This involves soaping the mittens in hot water, rubbing them for 5 minutes on a washboard, then rinsing them in icy cold water, then repeating the process a second time.
After felting, she brushed the mittens with a scrubbing brush until they were fluffy, then cycled them off in the clothes dryer.
At the end of this process, the mittens were incredibly thick and practically waterproof. I kept picking them up and making the mittens “talk” to each other like little orange Muppets.
Eleanor is so proud of her accomplishment that she’s decided to make a second pair to give William for Christmas. I found another skein of the same wool at the local knitting store, but it’s an undyed brown instead of orange. However, Ellie’s decided to add an orange stripe. I love to see her so enthusiastic about this project!