Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Manitas Calientitas: Homemade Felt Mittens

Hand-made mittens = straight shot of Christmas Spirit

Happy December!

Month of my birth and all-things much-anticipated :) It's officially the holidays now! Thanksgiving is over, and it's time to pull out the Christmas tree and get to real-deal Christmas present hunting.

I spent the better half of my weekend browing etsy.com and cursing strangers who out-bid me for an embossing gun on ebay (I am already in elf-mode when it comes to our Christmas cards, as you can see). I can hardly contain the excitement! And even the inevitable last-minute stuff that will stress me out in a couple of weeks sounds funny right now. :)

I always have ambitious plans to create all sorts of personalized Christmas gifts and favors, and
while I usually only get 3/4 of what I want to do done, it's a pursuit I usually love, but this year I saw it as daunting for the first time with the prospect of crafting while having Roman to watch as well.

That's right, I think everyone, including myself, thought (and Matt hoped) I'd given up on my random crafty pursuits of the knitting / haberdashery persuasion once Roman appeared. Happily for most, including me, and sadly for Matt and his fervent desire that I get rid of my piles of yarn and fabric, everyone was wrong.

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The Incredible Shrinking Sweater

After I shrank one of my favorite (and only) wool sweaters last year by putting it in a warm washer cycle, I decided I should do something crafty and wonderful with the resulting midget-felt-sweater. (So yes, apparently wool turns to felt when it is heated and washed.) I only wish I had known sooner all the fun crafty things there are out there to do with these spoils of bad washing! I would have kept the many pieces of wool apparel I've ruined over the years. I mean, yes, you can probably use them as doll clothing, but I like to think there are things that involve a lot more buying of cool gadgets or crafting items, experimenting, procrastinating, and off-the-cuff embroidering, which is basically what almost every single craft project I undertake involves. :D

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Manitas Calientitas: The Gift of Warmth

**SPOILER ALERT: Ava-luna, my newly 1-year-old neice, if you're reading this, you'd better stop before you ruin one of your birthday presents.**

In a vain attempt to distract me in the last 3 weeks of my extended pregnancy my mother brought a fun article she clipped from a magazine on the subject of felt sewing projects. And it included a section on how to make your own felt mittens (along with other interesting items such as a hot water bag cover, an iPod case, and a remove control cosy).

In my world, that is the perfect reason to take those magazine pages, keep them laying around in a pile for approximately 7 months until I had almost driven Matt insane and, coincidentally, the time was exactly right for making some felt mittens for my two favorite midgets: Roman and Ava.

What better to give at the holidays than a gift of warmth? Living in a cold-ish place, I am always reminded how wonderful warm gifts are: warm cookies, hand warmers, muffs, turtleneck neck muffs, scarves, hot sauce, you name it. These mittens will hopefully keep those pretty miniature hands and fingers of my niece and offspring warm all winter long. :)

the magazine cut-outs that started it all

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Handmade Felt Oven Mi--err, Mittens

It took me a while to draw the pattern exactly as I wanted it, and the result looks a little more like an oven-mit than I realized at first. Maybe it's because I made the mittens longer, but since they have no elastic around the wrist, I didn't want to risk unpleasant drafts getting in when worn outside.

personalized warmth....oooh....aaaahhh.....

To personalize the matching mitten sets for Roman and Ava I also embroidered their names and some whimsical girl / boy symbols. Ava got a pretty flower. Roman got a shooting star, and, the one I'm most proud of but probably doesn't show up well on these pictures: a puppy!

I have never really embroidered much by hand, so the names and symbols have a silly, awkward, hand-made quality to them. Here's to hoping Roman and Ava grow to one day see that as infinitely charming.

the adorable finished products
, sure to keep all mini-hands extra warm

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  1. What fun, and I am sure Matt is secretly pleased and proud to be the recipient of such a lovely homemade gift.

  2. Now I miss my knitting! I haven't gotten around to learning how to felt but these handmade gifts are so lovely, especially the embroidery. You are one talented craftartist!