A Vermont schoolteacher whose homemade mittens went viral after Senator Bernie Sanders wore them at President Joe Biden’s inauguration has found a manufacturer to fulfill the resulting thousands of orders for her cozy gloves.
“I have amazing news! I’m partnering with Vermont Teddy Bear to make Bernie’s Mittens for EVERYONE!!” Jennifer Ellis tweeted Saturday, adding that some of the proceeds would benefit the Make a Wish Vermont charity.
“I knew there had to be a way to get them to you -- and I found it!!” the second-grade teacher said.
I have amazing news! I'm partnering with Vermont Teddy Bear to make Bernie's Mittens for EVERYONE!! AND a portion of the proceeds will go to Make A Wish Vermont! I knew there had to be a way to get them to you- and I found it!! #BernieSanders https://t.co/U8P6DhqL1Y— Jen Ellis (@vtawesomeness) January 30, 2021
The 42-year-old had sent Sanders a pair of her mittens, made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles, after he lost to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, as a consolation gift.
Last year, as Sanders was running again for president, Ellis learned that he was wearing the mittens -- “people were calling them his oven mitts” -- but had lent them to someone else.
Ellis said she was so touched that she sent Sanders another 10 pairs.
Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. pic.twitter.com/ErLr29lY2t— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) January 20, 2021
The senator’s homely brown and beige mittens featured prominently in a photo from the January 20 inauguration showing Sanders sitting alone in a folding chair, bundled up and seemingly unimpressed with the pomp and circumstance.
The image by AFP photographer Brendan Smialowski became the first viral meme of the Biden era, with the apparently aloof Sanders superimposed on everything from “Star Wars” scenes to Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”
“Many, many of you have reached out looking to buy a pair of these awesome mittens. Sadly, I don’t really make them anymore. But I want to make sure that you get a pair,” Ellis said in a video on the Vermont Teddy Bear Company website.
“Everybody who wants these mittens will get them,” she said with the enthusiasm of, well, a second-grade teacher.
Ellis told AFP three days after the inauguration that she had received around 13,000 emails from people who want to buy her mittens.
“Not just one pair -- people want lots of them,” she said.