Tips For Making Thrums

On Monday, I showed you two fabulous pairs of thrummed mittens–one crocheted, from the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet, and one knitted, originally published in Interweave Knits Winter 2006 and now available in our pattern store. I even turned one of the mittens inside out so you could see those magical little fluffy bits of woolly fleece that, when worked into your mittens, give you a superb layer of insulation against winter cold.

Of course, mittens are not the only garment where you can use thrums. Hats, slippers, even a jacket–the key is to make sure the garment itself is loose enough so that when you add thrums, there is room for all that fluffiness inside.


Tips for Working with Unspun Fluff (Roving)

1. Roving comes in long thick bands. Tear off a length (about ten inches) by holding your hands a couple inches apart and gently tugging until the fibers separate.

2. Peel off strips lengthwise. Start by peeling them in half lengthwise, then split the halves themselves into thirds, or whatever seems to work best for your roving. The goal is to get strips that are slightly thicker than the yarn you are using for the project.

3. Take each thin strip and starting at one end, with your hands a couple inches apart, gently tug the fibers lengthwise to "draw out" the strip. You want the fibers to slip past each other enough to make the strip thinner and longer, but not so much that the strip comes apart. Repeat for the whole length of the strip.

4. Tear the strip into short lengths–about four inches.

5. For each thrum, fold the ends into the center so that a loop forms at each end.

6. Hold the middle of the thrum between thumb and forefinger and gently roll–you're felting the middle so the thrum holds together where it will be on the needle (or hook).

7. Toss the thrum in a plastic food container with a lid and go make another one!

That's it. Easy!

If you have never seen unspun roving before,
go on over to your local yarn shop and ask to look at some. Roving is interesting stuff–because of course, it's where yarn comes from! It comes in a rainbow of colors and as many different types of fibers as there are sheep. Once again, though, I must warn you: Handling roving to make thrums is a gateway drug. Once you start with the thrums, it's just a short distance from there to a spindle or a spinning wheel. And making your own yarn–that gets to be a pretty powerful addiction once you've tried it.


On Friday, we'll show you how to get the thrums into your mittens! Marlaina Bird, designer of the crochet version of Thrummed Mittens, will show us how to do this using a crochet hook, and I will show you how to do it with knitting needles.



Links to Thrummed Mitten patterns

For knitters:
Thrummed Mittens by Jennifer Appleby
available in the pattern store

Thrummed Mittens by Rita Buchanan
Spin-Off, Winter 2001 (Subscribe here)

For crocheters:
Thrummed Mittens by Marlaina Bird
Interweave Crochet, Winter 2008 (Subscribe here)



Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? I finished a quick hat over the weekend; and am one-quarter the way through a pair of mittens. (My sister's Central Park Hoodie is on hold temporarily. My sister lives in Chicago, so she totally understands and doesn't mind waiting until the mittens are done.)


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