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Thrum-pa-pum-pum!

Oct 31, 2012

On a recent outing to my local yarn shop, I tried on a lovely pair of mittens. They were so cute, knitted in stranded colorwork (I thought) with little white stitches dotting the dark blue background. Very simple. Then I put my hand in one of the mittens, looked up, and said "What the . . .?" It felt like I had put my hand into a cloud!

    
The inside of a thrummed mitten. This is just after one round of placing the thrums, so you can imagine how warm these will be!

 

 

The yarn shop owner said that the mittens were thrummed. What's thrumming? It's simply knitting little lengths of fleece into your work, with the ends on the inside of the work and a smooth stitch on the outside. just discovered how to knit thrums, a technique that adds a ton of warmth to mittens, hats, and even socks.

The original fleece-stuffed mittens came from Labrador and Newfoundland in eastern Canada. Small pieces of unspun sheep's wool were twisted, and then worked in every few stitches to create a fleecy lining. These mittens were were probably worked in natural sheep colors, but with all of the colorful yarns available today, you can make a rainbow of thrummed mittens!

A great thing about this knitting technique is that you can use any mitten pattern (or hat or sock pattern, for that matter!). Just make sure you leave a little extra room for the thrums by making a size larger or casting on a few extra stitches in the hand portion of the mitten.

Eunny Jang, editor of Interweave Knits and host of Knitting Daily TV, recently presented a thrumming tutorial on KDTV episode 811. Here she is:



    
Thrummed Mittens by Jennifer Appleby, available in the Knitting Daily Shop
The photo at right, of the Thrummed Mittens by Jennifer Appleby from the Knitting Daily Shop, shows the type of mittens I tried on. Cute, right? I love the rainbow of fleece colors used for the thrums.

There's so many neat techniques demonstrated on Knitting Daily TV, you won't want to miss a single episode. Get the entire Knitting Daily TV Collection today for one special price!

Cheers,

P.S. Have you tried the thrumming technique? Leave a comment and let us know what you made!


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Thrummed Mittens

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These mittens use a thrumming technique that lines the gloves with wool and gives them a unique look.

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Comments

LL Howard wrote
on Nov 14, 2012 11:13 PM

I have always loved your videos and learned alot from them. Now, all of a sudden, I,m not getting the video, only the audio. Has something changed? Am I doing something wrong? It has always been nice to review the techniques on the videos, and it would be a loss if I can't review them. Anyway, that's my comment for today. Thanks for all the info you give.

LoriH@3 wrote
on Nov 3, 2012 7:37 PM

I learned about thrumming in the little knit shop in Telluride, Colorado. I love it.

on Nov 3, 2012 1:02 PM

Reading about the technique got me hooked on trying this.  The specific line was one you put your hands inside the mitten and it felt like a cloud.  I had some great yarn from NZ made of 70% opossum fur and 30 percent merino wool.  Color is natural and the roving yarn is in all neutral tones.  The video helped to go from concept to reality.  This should be fun!

Debra

on Nov 3, 2012 5:02 AM

Thrums originated in Scotland, in mills where wool was spun into yarn.  The poorest people in the village would send their children (who would fit under the machines)collect the tag ends of the yarn that were left lying on the floor after the day's work was done, and these were knitted into garments to make them warmer.  Wearing thrums was definitely not a sign of prosperity-- the "best" people never wore thrummed garments.  Thrums were basically a badge of poverty.  In his books about Scotland, author J.M. Barrie named a fictitious village "Thrums" in his stories about the children of an impoverished mother.  Fortunately we are spared the kind of class distinction and snobbery that Tommy and Grisel, the poor children in Barrie's books, had to face.  (J.M. Barrie also wrote the children's classic "Peter Pan.") His books about the life of the poor in Scotland make for fascinating reading, not just for character study and plot, but also for their depiction of the 19th century life of the poorer classes in Scotland.  Today we admire thrums for their decorative value, but their origin was one of impoverished desperation.

on Oct 31, 2012 7:46 PM

I made thrummed mittens years ago.  When my grandson asked me to make covers for his prized golf clubs, I knew the perfect way to pad them.  The clubs look great with their thrummed wool boots!

mdrgault wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 3:30 PM

Have made several mittens, and am about to embark on some slippers.  They have been sent to Yellowknife, Halifax, Germany, Alberta and British Columbia.  If you can't master the technique, or find the roving,  you could also use a rug hook, and hook  a couple of cut strands into the inside of mitts.  Works even for store bought mittens.

Deborra wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 2:33 PM

The first thrummed mitts I made I used raw fleece, pulling off individual strands and knitting them in.  The result was they looked like boxing gloves they were so big and fat.  Needless to say my daughter wouldn't wear them like that so I unraveled and "dethrummed" and started again.

KraftsbyK wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 12:00 PM

Great how to video -- where do you get the fleece remnants for thrumming?  

CorrineS wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 10:33 AM

I have a friend who is diabetic, so I thrummed just the soles of her slippers.  She LOVED them and living in Florida they weren't too warm ... just nice and cushioned!

Supreya wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 9:41 AM

Thank you for clarifying roving. I was wondering about using quilt/polyester stuffing.

Not that it is an issue here in Aus.lol

on Oct 31, 2012 9:24 AM

My mother has made thrummed mittens and she's over the full moon about this technique....it does make for some warm mittens..maybe I could go for a half pair (??) so my fingers could peek out some I could access my iPhone OR I could sew in some electromagnetic thread (available at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL) in the tip so I wouldn't have to take off my mittens for iPhone-ing.

karenfarmilo wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 8:58 AM

Our Canadian winters are cold so our yarn shop loves thrumming class. In fact, we have designed a fingerless thrum mitt so your fingers can stay warm and you can still text.

Karen @ Grey Heron

on Oct 31, 2012 8:44 AM

I found this type of knitting in a book called 'Foxes Geese and Fences' some years ago.  The mittens or hat are easy to knit.  Different patterns can be used for the thrumming such as box or diamond pattern.  I agree, they are very warm.  Maybe someone could design a sweater with thrumming for very cold climates.

on Oct 31, 2012 8:44 AM

Thank you for the inofrmation.  One question.  Is this done on every row, every other row  or just once?  Thanks again   rayneww

CathyP@30 wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 8:44 AM

I have been knitting using thrums for years.  I think it is quite easy to do and have come up with patterns for mitts, hats, scarfs, socks and slippers.  The best part of having mitts made with thrums is that they keep you warm even if they get wet.  But watchout and make sure you turn them inside out to dry and when you wash them.  You will never get your hand in your mitten again if you don't because they will felt together.

2much2do wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 8:17 AM

I can no longer knit, but i wonder if this technique could be adapted to crocheted mittens or hats.

janquito wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:56 AM

I'd never heard of this before. I'm not very adept at knitting; taught myself. I notice how quickly you knit and the way you hold the yarn in your right hand (wrapping it around your fingers). Is there a video on here that shows how to do that? I need to relearn how to hold my needles. My shoulders get so stiff.

SilkenM wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:51 AM

Hi

I have made mittens using thrumming but with a different material on the inside.

I used polyester stuffing pulled out in strips and then knitted into my mittens.

They are super warm, easy wash & dry.

Here in eastern Ontario they are a great accessory!

Mave

LindaDouglas wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:44 AM

I've made thrummed mittens several times. Here's where I started.

www.yarnharlot.ca/.../thrumfaq.html

Linda Douglas aka Digital Granny

Scotindy1 wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:39 AM

Thrums are actually the little pieces of yarn that are cut off from the beginning and ending of a weaving warp.  They get cut off when the piece is hemmed.  It is also called "waste yarn". Depending on the loom they can be short (4 inches) to long (18 inches).  

Diana

4hens wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:38 AM

This is a wonderful way to make garments extra warm. I have made vests like this for many of my family members. I got the pattern in a knit shop in Newfoundland that is no longer in business. I'm sure someone in Canada has the pattern. The sheep's wool is called roving and you use small pieces-3" long x 1/4"(pencil width).

A wonderful warm project ad gift.

emalcolm_fla wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:32 AM

I have a pattern for thrummed rabbit slippers, going to make them for my sister, Bunny.  They look so cute!

jrloopy wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:18 AM

The word is roVing. It is unspun fiber, also a staple of needle felters.

HeatherH@62 wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:17 AM

I love my thrummed mittens! I made up (almost) all the thrums I would need for one mitten before I started and kept them in a small basket while I was working on the mitten. It was like picking candy deciding which one to use next! It takes some practice to make the thrums just the right size: too big and then are difficult to knit into the project. Too small and they don't give enough insulation in the finished mitten.

@BettyM@6- You are laying the thrum over the stitch to be knitted next and then knitting that stitch with the thrum, so you don't have to do anything in the next row.

LianaSews wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:14 AM

Thrumming is a very old technique from Sweden and Scandinavia generally.  Makes very warm mittens, though.

LianaSews wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:14 AM

Thrumming is a very old technique from Sweden and Scandinavia generally.  Makes very warm mittens, though.

jrloopy wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:03 AM

Fleece Artist of Nova Scotia makes the most beautiful Thrum mitten kits: variegated yarn, hand-dyed roving and pattern support for four sizes under the label... brilliant!

Supreya wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 7:01 AM

What is robing please?

on Oct 31, 2012 7:01 AM

Thank you for sharing this!!  These mittens would be perfect Christmas gifts!!  I also love Eunny's sweater.  If anyone can identify the pattern (if it is available), I would be very greatful!!

terrye wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 6:55 AM

lol, I made a pair of mittens for my daughter who lives in Fairbanks, AK. I thrummed them with fur from my Angora Rabbits. She literally can NOT wear them because they are too warm!

EmmaLeroy wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 5:59 AM

Just a note--the province is called Newfoundland and Labrador. It's never referred to in the other order if speaking of the province. Occasionally one or the other might be referred to separately as Newfoundland is an island and Labrador is on the mainland and the two have been joined as a province relatively recently.

BettyM@6 wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 5:47 AM

Great demonstration. Thanks.  Quick question.  When locking the thrum in place on next row are you knitting through the back loop?

Thanks.

DrR wrote
on Oct 31, 2012 5:34 AM

Wonderful demo!