Knittin’ for a Mitten: Providing local students with handmade mittens

With winter around the corner, community members gathered at Midvale Elementary on October 24 to make mittens for students. The event, called Knittin’ for a Mitten, aims to provide every student at Midvale Elementary School with a pair of dry mittens during recess. 

The program first began in 2008 when friends Angie Morgan and Jennifer Wang both had daughters in kindergarten together. 

“I dropped the girls off one day and noticed that half the class didn’t have mittens, and for the ones that did, half of them were playing with wet ones,” Wang said.

With many students left mitten-less during their two recesses throughout the day, Wang and Morgan sat down together and came up with a solution to the problem. That solution was Knittin’ for a Mitten.

During the event’s first year in 2008, members collaborated together to make over 250 pairs of mittens for children, Wang said. Since then, the program’s output has slowed but still manages to produce over 65 pairs to give to children in need each season.

To get the knitting started each year, the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and several other community members get together for a formal kick-off to knit the mittens.

This year, the supplies were donated by The Sow’s Ear, a local yarn & coffee shop in Verona. Community member Karen Fox-Fisher also gave lessons and tips to those who were unsure how to knit mittens.

“It takes a couple of days to make one pair,” Wang explained, “This [kickoff] is really for people to get together, to get supplies and to get the event going.”

Volunteers are not expected to go to the meeting, one can knit a pair and send it to the school whenever, said Wang. It is all about creating awareness (and mittens).

According to Morgan, this collaborative group will make enough mittens throughout the year so all 28 classrooms can have them.

“Kids leave the mittens at school,” Morgan said. “It’s kind of like they rent them out for recess.”

This rule ensures there is a constant supply of mittens within the school and increases the chance that they match, too. The school will then have no child without dry, warm mittens at recess and no child who forgets his mittens at home, either.

Knitting also leaves margin for error because mittens don’t have a specific left or right mitten, making them kid-friendly, Cindy Terrill, a social worker at Midvale-Lincoln schools said.

And at a school where a majority of the students live below the poverty level, Terrill said the program meets a large need for snow gear.

Now in its fourth year, Morgan and Wang still consider the program largely successful.

“I was a beginning knitter when I even thought of this idea,” Morgan said, “I thought Knittin’ for a Mitten was ambitious and we really have surpassed our goal.”

Wang agreed the project had also exceeded her expectations and is happy for its future. 

“It’s nice to know that every child will have a warmer winter, we just hope that it will catch on at other schools, too,” Wang said.

Knittin’ for a Mitten collects mittens all-year-round and greatly appreciates contributions. If you are interested in donating or learning more about the program, contact Angie Morgan at