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Makin’ Mittens November 2, 2012

Posted by J. in Genius, Sticks and String.
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So, I didn’t sign up to do any craft fairs this winter. In past years, setting up a table somewhere has been fairly lucrative for me, and I would make more at one high school or church fair than I would selling online all year. Two years ago, though, the economy tanked and craft fair business slowed, but I held my own and still did pretty well at a few of them. Last year was dismal. I barely made my table fees back, and that’s a long day sitting there knitting only to go home with more product than you arrived with.

I wasn’t going to do any this year at all because my online sales have taken off, and I was thinking that other than one potentially major show next summer which is juried and would be fantastic exposure for me, I’d stop doing fairs. But I got an application via email and have decided to do one local show. It’s more of a Christmas shop, really.

Clough Tavern Farm in Canterbury does a Christmas show of sorts. They decorate the big 1777 farm house and fill five of the rooms with things made my local artisans. It’s a drop-off/pick-up kind of show–I just tag my stuff and collect my money at the end, and I figured why not. Only I realized I don’t have a vast array of product that’s ready to sell. Sort of a motley collection of things, really.

This was going to be a problem.

I decided to make a bunch of my best-selling felted mittens. Honestly, as soon as I make them, they sell. I can’t keep them in stock.

I created the pattern myself, basically adapting my own mitten pattern to translate to felting. You can buy it if you want. It’s an easy pattern to use, I think, and you can do anything with it you can dream up.

The mittens are knit really big because they shrink in the felting process.

HUGE.

Then they go in the washing machine. I wash them in hot water with a wee bit of detergent and a couple pair of Larry’s jeans for agitation, and run them through wash cycles until they’re the right size.

Before felting on the left, after felting on the right.

Sometimes they come out a bit hairy and need to be trimmed.

Untrimmed on the left, neatened up on the right.

Now, they just need to be embellished. Or not. I mean, you can leave them plain. I do not. I DECORATE.

I use felt applique, beads, buttons, embroidery floss, knit and crocheted flowers, and needle felting. I’ve sewn on lace and ribbons. Whatever suits the mitten.

Appliqued felt owls.

Embroidered trees.

Needle-felted balloons.

I’d like to have at least 8 pair ready for the sale, plus a few odds and ends of stock I already have. I think I’ve got a good start!

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Comments»

1. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for. - November 2, 2012

Love your work. I used to do craft fairs, as a weaver. Been learning to knit lately and want to do some felting as well.

2. Sistah - November 2, 2012

Don’t forget to mention the thumb modification that benefits runners with iPods. Fantastic!


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