Monday, December 08, 2008

Advent calendar (free mitten pattern anew!)

I’ve been wanting to make this advent calendar since Hector was a pup Tsia was a babe and I first designed this little mitten ornament pattern. Somehow there just hasn't been time, but this year I was determined. She's at the age where she gets really excited about Christmas and the countdown.

However, all 25 mittens were not going to be finished by December 1. So I've been making one mitten a day and trying to work ahead by a day or two, just in case.

Tsia loves them. In fact, I think she's more excited about the mittens themselves than the contents therein. (I've been trying to vary the contents; sometimes it's a small candy treat and other days she gets a little note, a drawing, or a toy.) So in the end I guess it's fine that they weren't all ready beforehand; plenty of years to enjoy them once they're finished. She's enjoying the addition of each mitten to the strand, and she's also been helping to select the fabric, button, and embroidery floss colors for each mitten as we progress.

I was never entirely happy with the low-tech manner in which I first made the mitten pattern available, so now it's been re-worked and is available as a free pattern on the Oliver + S website. Enjoy!

By the way, Todd and I are having a disagreement with which I need your help: does an advent calendar have 24 or 25 days? Todd says 25. I say 24, because the 25th day is Christmas and no one is interested in an advent calendar once Christmas day arrives. So help us out with your opinion, ok? Should there be a mitten #25?

I think I may still re-do the mittens that have yellow embroidery floss; the color doesn't show up well against the ivory wool felt background. But I like the other colors, and I'm especially liking the addition of chocolate brown to the mix. As an advent calendar, the mittens would also be really pretty done in just shades of white. Or in red and white. Actually, I could think of a million ways to do these. Like I mentioned on the Oliver + S blog, they would be fantastic if the mitten part was done in reverse applique like Alabama Chanin. I may have to do one, just because I think it would be so pretty.

I'm making a few additional mitten ornaments as gift toppers and special little treats for friends, more in the style of the original mitten ornaments. But 25 of the advent calendar babies may just do me in, especially with all the other deadlines happening over here right now.

By the way, thank you so much for the book ideas; I will eagerly investigate, and Tsia and I will enjoy reading all of them. I have lots of other books and thoughts about books I want to talk about, so I think I'll declare this week Book Week again. Stay tuned!


  1. Anonymous10:40 PM

    I love the idea of using these mittens for an Advent calendar, which also makes a very cute garland.

    My Advent calendar is shaped like a house with 24 doors to hide small gifts, so 24 days would be my vote.

  2. torstI always thought advent calendars had 25 days, but then... I haven't had an advent calendar since I was a little girl. I have to say, I've seen lots of advent calendars using the mitten idea, but none with those pretty contrasting cuffs and sweet buttons. Thanks so much for the free pattern!

  3. I've seen both 24 and 25 day advent calendars. I think I prefer 25, because more gifts/treats is always desirable. :)

  4. I think most advent calendars have 24, because you put one in each day UNTIL Christmas - since the 25th day IS Christmas, you don't need it.

    Our advent calendar has 24. My kids know the day they put the last one on, is the night that Santa comes.

  5. So cute! I managed to get my advent calendar done on the night of the 30th but it was stressful and I wish I'd thought to just relax and add one a day like you. Mine is a series of Xmas cracker inners wrapped in paper and hung one below the other and since the cracker inners came in packs of 12 my calendar has 24. I think I'd personally prefer to have 25, it just seems to round off the whole experience somehow. Not that another little gift would be noticed on the morning of though. I too was a bit unsure of how many I should have - most people said "24" so perhaps that's the most common version.

  6. So cute!
    You can also see my advent calendar on my blog:

  7. so adorable! i think it's so sweet for your daughter to help you choose all the fixings!! she'll always remember that.

  8. I always like a special December 25th advent gift, it feels incomplete to me to stop at Dec 24th!!

    The mittens are adorable with the little cuffs. Awwwwww.

  9. I have been wanting to make an advent calendar this year with my children. This is the perfect one. Hopefully I can find some time. Great idea. Thanks.

  10. So incredibly cute! I agree with the others - there should be 25 to help make the concept "concrete". That's coming from the former teacher in me.

  11. Definitely a 25th mitten - but you're right, now need for anyting inside it. Maybe it could just be bright red??

  12. I say 25 days. On the 25th day, you leave a note for Jesus saying Happy Birthday as a reminder to why we are getting all the other presents that day.

  13. Through my own recent advent calendaring I too realized that making 25 of anything is a lot. It's nice to think that you can pace your way through making them this year and then you won't have to do it ever again. Next year you will pull them out and think "how nice and ready to go". I had the same question about how many, but I went all the way to 25.

  14. Anonymous12:52 AM

    I still have and use the advent calendar my Grandmother made for me when I was born. It has 24 days on it. My family is Scandinavian and we celebrate on the 24th.

    My vote is 24, that's tradition. :)

  15. Advent "officially" has 25 days, because it begins on November 30, not December 1.

    However, we always begin our advent calendar on December 1 and use 24 things to count down to Christmas.

    I think just 24 mittens is totally the way to go.