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The Vermont teacher who made Bernie’s mittens has three pairs up for auction


The teacher who made the now infamous — and not-for-sale mittens worn by Sen. Bernie Sanders during President Joe Biden’s inauguration is auctioning off three more pairs.

After announcing last week that she had no more mittens to sell, second grade teacher Jen Ellis made time to knit three extra pairs.

As of Thursday, the pair most like Bernie’s had attracted bids of more than $5,000 with proceeds going to Outright Vermont — a nonprofit that supports Vermont’s LGBTQ+ youth.

A royal blue pair are being auctioned on eBay for around $2,000 with proceeds going to dog rescue group Passion 4 Paws Vermont. The third pair — rainbow colored and also on eBay — are going for nearly $2,500 and will go towards Ellis’ daughter’s college fund.

“I have heard your requests, and I am happy to tell you that I am making just a few more mittens today and tonight to be auctioned off for good causes,” Ellis wrote on Twitter on January 23.

“These crossed mitts speak for all of us when we say: ‘We’re here to stay cozy, and we aren’t going anywhere. We are berning to ensure that systems of power work for all of us — starting with LGBTQ+ youth!'”

Outright Vermont wrote on their auction site. “We’re honored that Jen chose Outright Vermont as the recipient of these beloved mittens.”

A few years ago, Ellis, who teaches second grade, gave Sanders the patterned, hand-knit “smittens” — part mittens, part sweater — when he was on the campaign trail. She didn’t expect he’d start wearing them at high-profile events like the inauguration. The mittens are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles, she said in a tweet last year.

They’re now an iconic accessory in the “grumpy chic” meme of the senator sitting with his arms crossed in a puffy jacket and blue mask during the inauguration. Across social media in the last few weeks, Sanders has been photoshopped onto the “Game of Thrones” throne, transported into historical photographs and shrunken down to fit onto former first lady Melania Trump’s dress.

Ellis could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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