Textile Tales: Send Someone the Mitten

Anyone have any spare mittens?

Dances with Wools

This morning, the Old Sturbridge Village weekly newsletter contained a quirky article involving, of all things, mitten symbolism. Rather than paraphrase, I’m posting it verbatim.

Slang and figures of speech change over time and from place to place. The phrase “sending someone the mitten” meant to break up with them or to reject a proposal. The Old Sturbridge Village Museum Collection contains an assortment of mittens, including the unique, miniature mitten shown below. As you can see, it measures only 1 ½ inches long! According to the donor, this mitten was sent by Admah Edgecombe of Bethel, ME to her fiancé, Charles Poole of Woburn, MA to break off their engagement. Despite this, they later married in 1857 and had three children. Whether or not this story is true, the mitten demonstrates incredible knitting technique, especially in the thumb gusset construction.

I’ve been knitting and felting many pairs of mittens…

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