How can you recall a heartfelt hug from a lost loved one in a tangible way?
Kathleen A. King, of Michigan, mourning the passing of her own father, came up with a clever idea. Taking several of her father’s favorite woolen sweaters, Kathleen King crafted several pairs of original hand-made mittens for her whole family for Christmas.
“I was on a mission,” Kathleen King recalled. “Everyone was going to come to my house for Christmas, and I was going to give them a memorable gift of mittens made from our loving father’s sweaters. The thought brought tears to my eyes. It would be a gift that I would put my heart into.”
For a full month, Kathleen King snipped and stitched, transforming several familiar sweaters into cozy hand-warming and heart-warming mittens for her loved ones. She wrapped each pair carefully and placed them in a big basket, ready for Christmas gift-giving.
“When I saw the joy it brought [my family members], I truly felt inspired to try and do the same for others,” Kathleen King explained. “I do special orders for people who have either lost a family member or who have a sweater of sentimental value for another reason.”
Memory Mittens, Inc., is launched.
Less than two years later, Kathleen King owns Memory Mittens, Inc., a small company in Michigan that creates custom mittens from special sweaters. Memory Mittens, Inc., incorporated in the summer of 2009, offers pre-made and personalized mittens for sale, primarily through the company’s own website.
A few gift shops, art studios and even veterinary offices (mostly in Michigan and Wisconsin) carry ready-made Memory Mittens as well.
Memory Mittens share all sorts of memories.
Of course, Memory Mittens may be made from all sorts of woolen heirlooms, from special sweaters to baby blankets. Worn-out, moth-eaten or laundry-shrunken sweaters can be recycled into useful mittens.
Kathleen King does most of the mitten-making herself, also creating mini mittens for use as Christmas tree ornaments and decorations. Memory Mittens orders occasionally include requests for woolen hats, scarves and aprons. Prices vary, depending upon materials and specific orders.
The whole Memory Mittens business is a tangible tribute to Kathleen King’s late father. “He was always my greatest fan when it came to my artwork,” the seamstress and small business owner recounted. “I feel my dad’s hands all over this endeavor. I am rich with the blessings I have received with each and every order I have done for someone. There is a story behind every sweater I handle with a special order.”
Dave Hodge, Kathleen King’s own brother, serves as business manager for Memory Mittens, Inc.
Kathleen King also works part-time as a hair designer, when she is not sewing and sending out Memory Mittens. Once a week, she styles hair for residents in a local assisted living facility.