Boiled Mittens

United States
January 10, 2007 7:46pm CST
Has anyone ever heard of boiled mittens? They are made with wool and boiled after they are finished. A dear friend of mine, who is now departed, told me about them. I have been told that they are the best mittens to wear in cold weather.
7 people like this
20 responses
• United States
11 Jan 07
OHHH I bet you could do these like I do my wool covers!! I bet you could take a wool sweater, wash on hot and dry, then cut your pieces and sew together! It would sabve yout he time of knitting. I bet you could get quite a few pairs out of one nice sweater! You could even make cashmere ones!!!! OHhhhhh..I think I will try to make a pair tomorrow lol
• United States
11 Jan 07
excuse my typos...NAK...lol one handed typing
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
I found instructions for making these out of old wool sweaters. Here is the link. http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/evangelista84.html
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
oh awesome! Thanks I'm going to check it out!
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jan 07
What you are describing is called "felting". I cannot remember the exact procedure right off hand and have never done it myself but Good News; and It's a Good Thing! If you do not subscribe to Martha Stewart's Living (the article was in there a few months back but it would take some time for me to find it and I really have to prepare for a Tupperware party), all you have to do is go to her web site and go to the craft section. You may have to search a bit but I am sure if you type in the word "felting" you will get all of the information you need - even the template to print out. She did the mittens using old wool sweaters. She also did some other really cute projects with woolen items. It is on my To-Do list for sometime in the To-Do Future~Donna
3 people like this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Martha is the bomb! She has some great ideas.
1 person likes this
@patootie (3593)
11 Jan 07
For a start I thought you were giving us another of your lovely recipes .. heheh!!The UK has been making boiled wool garments and accessories for years .. it really does make the wool much warmer and windproof, but they cost more because of the extra materials and labour rquired to make them .. I think someones suggestion of using an old knitted sweater and 'boiling' it up then cutting out your hand shapes is an excellent idea .. and I dare bet we all have a few wollens we've washed wrongly and shrunk haven't we .. now be honest ...
3 people like this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Glad to know that you love my recipes! I did find a link that starts with a woolen sweater that has been "felted". http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/evangelista84.html
2 people like this
@suscan (1957)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I actually want to try a felted purse this year. There are so many cute patterns for tehse.
• United States
11 Jan 07
I may have to drop by the local Goodwill to see what they have for wool sweaters!
1 person likes this
@brokentia (10396)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Is boiling them supposed to make them soft or not itchy? Because I can't wear anything wool since it tends to make me itch like crazy!!! So, if boiling them will stop the itch, I would be willing to try it so when I do buy something new, I do not have to limit myself because it is made of wool.
2 people like this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Boiling them makes them softer, feltlike. They are very warm.
1 person likes this
@peavey (16309)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Isn't that just like felting? You can find books on it at the library and probably instructions on the internet. You first knit the item larger than you want it to be, then you felt it by washing it hot water then drying it in the dryer. That sounds like the same thing, or is it?
@craftwave (1339)
• United States
11 Jan 07
That is what I was thinking. I remember reading a book about felting and it sounds like the same idea. And I believe they would make very good mittens and keep your hands the warmest. I wear felts in my snow boots and that helps keep them warm even in the coldest weather.
2 people like this
@shywolf (4523)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Goodness no, I'd never heard of a boiled mitten before! *laugh* They do sound very comfy and warm. I wonder where one would go about purchasing such an item? Perhaps I shall go look it up on the internet and attempt to figure out more. It would be nice to know how much a pair would cost! ^_^
2 people like this
• United States
11 Jan 07
Boiling wool turns it into a thick felt. In Germany thick felt gloves were one of the best options to keep warm, when I was growing up. I think plastic-y ones work better now.
• United States
11 Jan 07
I have heard of boiled mittens, my grandmother does it all the time. She says the reason to boil them is to shrink them so that the fibers of the yarn or material basically mend themselves together so that the cold weather does not get to your hands and fingers. I think it's a great idea and it works.
@TerryZ (22085)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I dont understand. You boil them in water on the stove?
• Ireland
11 Jan 07
Yes, I have heard of boiled mittens, but I think before they are boiled that they need to be knitted a few sizes larger than the desired size as they shrink a lot during the process. I have often done this with woolens, when I forgot to turn the temperature down on my washing machine. Unforunately the woolens wouldn't evenfit a two year old after this, so they had to be discarded.
• United States
11 Jan 07
I would imagine you would have to make them pretty darn big because wool shrinks when wet does it not?
2 people like this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
11 Jan 07
boiled mittens - old time treatment for an item we all needed and yearned for comfort of warmth
I believe that that would make them felted. Wool tends to shrink on itself when boiled. That would make them more solid and warmer even than regular knitted mittens. Your situation should be heeded to find out what our friends and aquaintances know before they are gone!!Try piasweaters.com they lined theirs with spandex!
2 people like this
@villageanne (8555)
• United States
11 Jan 07
I have read about them in pioneer books. I forget which county was big on boiled mittens.I am thinking Scotland but I cant be positive. You got me curious, I hate it when I have forgotten my history. I love stories about the pioneers. The pioneers had no insulation in there homes and many traveled by pushing handcarts and walking along side wagons. There gloves was an important part of their clothing.
@babystar1 (4236)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Sorry elusiveButtery I never heard of boiled mittens.Where do you fine mittens like that at?
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
11 Jan 07
Oh yeah, seems I do remember hearing something about them. Something about how the boiling shrinks the fibers, thus making the mitten tighter and more air-tight I believe. Sounds really fascinating. I bet they are toasty warm! Also, aren't some wools supposed to actually be even warmer once wet? Seems I remember something like that too. Heck, it won't get cold enough to even need mittens here in teh southeast where I live. We are having 50 and 60 degree days. (I sorely miss winter...I love it!)
2 people like this
• United States
14 Jan 07
Boil them? Won't they shrink? I don't understand what that would do to them. Can you explain a little more.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Feb 07
You use woolen yarn and knit them on big needles and boil them to shrink them. They are soft and waterproof and keep your hands quite warm.
@mari61960 (4895)
• United States
14 Jan 07
I think, but I am not sure, that when I was a child I had a pair of these. I think my friends mother used to make them. Anyway thanks for posting the link. I sent it to my mom at work. She and a few of her friend knit and crochet. I thought they might enjoy something new. I'm heading to the Salvation Army Store in my town to look for shrunken or cheap wool sweaters...hehehe
@Lydia1901 (16354)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I never heard of those. I'll look for them because I want to see how these mittens feel. Thanks for sharing that.
1 person likes this
@lisa101 (1363)
• United States
19 Feb 07
I have never heard of them. Sounds interesting though. What is the point of boiling them, do they keep your hands warmer?