Thrummed Madness

ThrummedBeforeAt end of fall I caught wind of a new (to me) knitting technique where bits of roving are knitted into mittens in order to add bulk and warmth for those cold snowy days.  This technique is called thrumming and it’s time consuming and tedious but in the end when you slip your hand into the fuzzy, fluffy center of the mitten, it’s all worth it!

ThrummedBefore2Here’s a shot of what the mitten looks like turned inside out.  🙂

I produced a couple of pairs of these.  Last week the smaller pair were put to the test after some serious snow fall.  My youngest daughter wore them out to play and sled in the snow and the results were sad.  They look like a tattered mess!  The roving has pulled out and snagged, the mittens are are misshapen have shrank up a bit. A bit of blocking may put these mittens back into shape but I’m afraid not much can be done about the roving.  I don’t think that this is a technique I will use again in the future… at least for children’s mittens.thrummedMadness

21 thoughts on “Thrummed Madness

    • I know, right? It seems all my knitted items look so beautiful when they are freshly blocked and right off the needles… but not so much after some hard use. But, I’m glad that they actually do get worn!


  1. I love my thrummed mittens. What fiber did you use? Merino and other short wools tend to pull out and get messy if they aren’t treated gently until the insides felt. Longer wools I find don’t get messy on the outside.


  2. Good to know, deadly smurf, I’d been wondering about thrumming myself. (Not actually myself, thrummed. You know what I mean)


  3. It’s interesting that the smaller pair ended up the way they did. I had made a pair of thrummed mittens for my husband a few years ago & they held up splendidly. They were his favorite pair of mittens. I made them out of yak yarn & used raw yak down for the thrums which is a short fiber.
    hmmm… I’d encourage you not to give up on the technique entirely. It does make a fantastically warm garment. Maybe play with the fiber choice.


    • Actually, after thinking about it some more, I think I had decided not to actually thrum my husbands mittens (because, I was afraid the fiber would come out) & instead threaded roving in between stitches to add the warm felted goodness to the inside. They looked like thrummed mittens, but maybe held up better because I had not used the roving to create stitches?


      • I think that would be a better technique than the thrumming. I have a ton of roving left over. The trick will be to try to turn it into pencil thin roving to use in this method. Did you buy the tiny roving or pull it thin yourself?


    • Thanks for the information! I did love these mittens at first. And, maybe they just needed more frequent wear before they got put to the test of sledding and snow so the insides felted. If the insides were felted, perhaps they wouldn’t have snagged and pulled out so easily???


  4. Hmm… So sorry this happened to you because I know what a pain they are to make. I made some so my daughter could endure Chicago winters while in college. But my experience was different. ( I didn’t use anything special – mass market prepackaged roving by Clover. I do recall from my Ravelry notes that there were a couple of different methods of thrumming and I was suspicious of one of them coming out. It is possible the density of thrumming matters, because they need to have a lot of contact to felt together. I can’t explain the overall shrinking except to say that heat, moisture and friction create felting in wool, and all of those could have been present in a child sledding.

    But I also remember reading about a method of doing essentially the same thing but using a continuous twist of roving rather than individual thrums to add insulation. It would look the same from the outside and have a spiralling line of fleece on the inside.

    Wish I had more help to offer.


    • Thanks for the information! I used your technique for the thrums and laid them over the stitches to keep the whole thing from coming apart. I’m thinking that to prevent the strums from snagging, the insides needed to be better felted? This was only the third time they were warn outside and the insides were still a bit fluffy.


  5. Do check out Robin Hansen’s mitten books. There are mittens besides thrummed mittens that would be equally warm and won’t distort like that. I’ll bet her hands stayed nice and warm even though the mittens look like they’ve been through the wringer.


    • Thanks for the link! Lovely, lovely mittens!! I think that next time, I’m going to use this technique instead of the thrums. I’ll bet these are just as warm and the roving doesn’t snag as badly.


  6. Beautiful mittens! And your advice comes just in time…trying to locate a pattern for some small person mittens…

    Your blog looks different from the last time I visited! Love the new (to me) look!!


  7. I made my mama a pair probably 5 years ago, for walking the dog and such on cold days. I went 2 stitches with the roving. Hers have held up well, and are super warm. BUT, she doesnt get them soaked playing in the snow for prolonged periods.


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