Recently I wanted to make something special for a family member who had been going through a very tough time. Due to covid, I couldn’t deliver Mexican food or a chocolate milkshake, so I thought about a handmade gift instead.

The problem is that I’m not fast at making things. It took me over a year to knit the last sweater I made. I was looking on Ravelry for ideas when I happened to stumble across Bernie Mitten patterns.

Hand-knitted Bernie Mittens

The person I wanted to make the gift for is a huge fan of Bernie Sanders, so I realized it was the perfect project for her. The next hurdle was which pattern to use because I found many different Bernie patterns. Some of them didn’t look all the much like Bernie’s Mittens. Others had pattern charts I wasn’t fond of or had the pattern only on one side of the mitten. Finally I found Bernie’s Mittens by hirismakes. She had a free pattern on her website, but I ended up purchasing the larger size instructions. Iris is a knitwear designer, neuroscientist and natural dyer based in Cambridge, UK. She has some other fabulous patterns I will need to re-visit later, such as this adorable Helix Crop Top, (would look cute on one of my nieces).

I really like the photos hirismakes included with her pattern and the instructions were fairly clear. The only area where I had a problem was the thumbs. On the first mitten I started the thumb a little too late in the process and I don’t think it came out as good as the second thumb. (She says to start with the main color, but really you should start with the white in the chart in my humble opinion).

It was an enjoyable project to knit and everyone in my house loved them, especially the colors. I used Harrisville Highland yarns. These were yarns I already had in my stash. The only suggested color I was missing was tan, so I substituted Cornflower Blue, (who doesn’t like blue?) and the other colors were Highland White, Black and Walnut Brown.

I sent the mittens off and they were a big hit! It felt good to get the project done quickly, as I didn’t want spring to come too fast so the mittens never got a change to be worn. It’s winter here again (New England spring!), so hopefully the mittens are getting some use.

Let me know if you have a Bernie Mitten story or a favorite pattern. I do have a pair of mittens hand-made from sweaters by Rachael of My Mittens of Vermont. These are actually more similar to what Bernie was wearing. Rachael gave me a pair of these years ago and they are super warm, beautiful and make a fantastic gift.

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