The Golden Fleece Hand Warmers: Underwear to Outerwear

These hand warmers began life as perhaps the most expensive children’s underclothes known to man.

Figuring out the right gear for the weather in Germany has been an ongoing education. When my three-year-old’s kind, dear kindergarten teacher told me he needed undershirts, I listened. He needed not just any undershirts, mind you, but silk-wool undershirts, from a boutique. I can’t even bear to tell you how much I paid for them.

Meanwhile, it’s very un-German of me, but I haven’t been able to kick the big ol’ energy-wasting American dryer addiction. Maybe there’s a 12-step program I can enroll in and by the time we leave here I’ll have cleaned up my act. Dryers do exist in Germany, but it’s much more common, regardless of income level, to use a drying rack. I do this some but not enough.

Sadly, this is what happened to one of the costly silk-wool undershirts:

Gasp! All those Euros gone to waste! I couldn’t handle it becoming just a doll shirt, and my daughter had been asking for a set of hand warmers. So I broke out the Kool-Aid (brought from the U.S.) and dyed it, using roughly these instructions.

If I had it to do over, I’d probably use one less packet of Kool-Aid to get a slightly lighter color, but oh well. It’s done. After that I just cut up the middle of the shirt and trimmed the top down so that the arm-piece of the shirt became the thumb-piece of the warmers.

I used an old T-shirt to line the arm warmers and finished them off with blanket stitching. Voila! You could certainly make a similar pair with a shrunken sweater, using the underarm corner as the under-thumb corner.

Another Recycled Cashmere Scarf

It may be summer here, but in southern Africa, Lesotho to be exact, it’s rather chilly right now. My friend Megan is a physician there, and to warm her up, I sent her this scarf. It started out life as a thrifted Banana Republic sweater in a dingy blue-grey color. I felted it (didn’t shrink much), dyed it greenish-blueish aqua with kool-aid, cut it into strips, and sewed it into a gathered scarf. I embroidered over the little bitty holes in it, too. See my other cashmere scarf post for more detail.

For information on dyeing cashmere, see this post. For information about overdyeing, click here.