Alice Holcombe | Fiber Arts/Upcycling
I repurpose used wool sweaters to create functional unique all-wool mittens. The sweaters are felted (washed in hot water and dried in hot dryer) before being cut into mitten parts to design and sew together. I also repurpose 100% cashmere and merino wool sweaters to line the inside of the mittens.
The button embellishments are from the sweaters as well. One pair of mittens may have portions from 5 different wool sweaters. Often sweaters are “accidentally” shrunken, or a stain or moth hole sends it to the thrift store – now the wool has a new life!
I have enjoyed creating some unique features such as “finger flap” mittens and “thumb flap” mittens. These have been a big hit with outdoor photographers and for phone texting. Extra pieces from cashmere and merino wool are made into 78-inch long scarves. To complete the set, I have hats available made from odds and ends from the sweaters.
My husband and I recently moved to Marquette from Cassopolis in southwest Michigan. We retired in July and are thrilled to be back in the Upper Peninsula in beautiful Marquette near our oldest son and daughter in law and two young grandchildren. Our three boys were all born in the UP. I love sewing and knitting and found that wool was a medium that is not only warm and soft, but also fun to work with.
I especially enjoy the hunt for wool sweaters at thrift stores and estate sales. I began making up-cycled wool mittens before Bernie Sanders made them popular. I sure wish I’d given him that first pair of mittens!