EAGLE MOUNTAIN — It was the image viewed by millions: A cold Sen. Bernie Sanders on presidential inauguration day, keeping himself cozy with mittens that looked like they could warm an entire nation during a long winter.
And in a way, those mittens have done just that, as the image has been shared in countless memes, bringing smiles and warming hearts.
One Eagle Mountain youth group took that warmth a step further, by creating their own Bernie mittens out of old sweaters. According to youth leader, Deanne Hill, it was an activity she and the young women in her group won't soon forget.
"It's always a challenge to come up with activities that teenagers will find fun and unique," Hill said. "I was reading an article about Jen Ellis, who made Bernie's mittens, and I thought that the young women would have fun with it."
Jen Ellis is a Vermont teacher who has been credited with making Sanders' mittens back in 2016 as a gift. Ellis's mittens were made out of repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece.
"I really liked her idea of repurposing things to make something new," Hill said. "We gathered old sweaters that no one wanted anymore for the outside of the mittens and lined them with fleece that we had left over from another project. The girls hand sewed the layers together."
One of the girls involved in the group said she thinks the mittens would earn Sanders' approval.
"I was really excited when I found out we were making Bernie mittens," India Porter said. "I had seen the memes everywhere, so I thought it would be a super fun activity."
Hill agreed that she thought the mittens would meet the approval of the Vermont senator, but said that it may take a little more for him to be entirely on board with what the youth group was doing.
"Based on everything I've seen, I think Bernie would be amused," Hill said. "I think he would be even happier if we continued to make mittens and distributed them to those in need. That's definitely a thought for future activities."
As for a lesson that could have been learned from the activity, Hill said the verdict is still out, but noted that it was just really nice to be able to do something fun with her young women group.