Friday, December 19, 2008

My Hands are Cold!

Last night on Weather Underground they predicted something called "Ice Pellets" in our zip code. I don't know if that is something other than what is commonly referred to as sleet, but whatever it is, it sounds like today is a day for mittens. A few weeks ago we had a thrummed mitten class, which was a lot of fun and a big success. What is a thrummed mitten you ask? Basically, it is a simple mitten which has bits of roving fluff knit into some of the stitches, generally in a symmetrical pattern, with the fluff ends to the inside of the mitten to create a fuzzy warm interior. Here's some things that you can use:

From the top we have roving that has been prepared for spinning, then wool batt, pencil roving and a single ply yarn. The top two are what are traditionally used for thrumming, but you could use pencil roving or any bulky singles yarn as well, not traditional, no, but we're talking about getting your hands warm FAST!

Many people would say that unless you are using roving or fleece you are not actually making a thrummed mitten. While I tend to agree with the traditionalists on most things, necessity is the mother of invention (and loose interpretation) and if I have cold hands I am going to thrum mittens with whatever I have laying around the house--even cotton balls if I were desperate and hours away from being sent on an arctic voyage.

Also, I don't own a whole lot of roving as I am merely a tourist in the world of spinning and the bit of roving I do have I covet. It just seemed wrong to make thrummed mittens with my Socks that Rock Sheep 2 Shoe Kit.

Here is what a basic thrummed mitten, done properly with roving, looks like on the outside:

The above mitten was knit with Manos Clasica and some Black Bunny Fibers Wensleydale roving I had in my stash. It was the first roving I ever purchased and I learned to spin with it. I ended up (unintentionally) destroying it and create this mitten with the remnants. Curious to thrum more things, I swatched using Manos Clasica for thrums to see how it would look:

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I just cut 6" pieces of Manos and held two together to create each thrumm. Here is a photo from class of one of the students knitting her thrum into the mitten:

No matter what you use to make your thrums, the technique is essentially the same; you knit to a stitch you want to thrum, insert the tip of your right hand needle into the stitch, fold your thrum in half and wrap the center of your thrum material around the right hand needle with the material's ends facing the inside of your mitten, wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit and pull both the thrum and the stitch through the stitch on the left hand needle and slide the new stitch off. Thrum complete! Now, on the next round you knit into the back of the thrummed stitch, twisting it, and this makes the thrum pop, or sit up straight on the ground of the fabric. Without knitting into the back of this stitch you won't get that nice "fair-isle" look to your mitten. Your thrummed "v" stitches will fall into the fabric and look messy and get lost.

To work with washed, unprepared fleece or from wool batt pull off a piece of fleece that is about 1-2 cm thick and about 4-6' long. Leave 'tails' of equal length to the inside of the mitten as you work the thrum.

Working with sliver, or fleece that has been commercially prepared for spinning, is perhaps the easiest. To work this method simply work as above for working with fleece, pulling off bits, or slices, of fleece from the sliver to create thrums.

Working with single ply wool yarn or pencil roving is worked basically the same way, just cut 4-6" lengths of pencil roving or yarn and hold 2-3 strands together for each thrum. Here's what the inside of a mitten done in this way would look like:

You can also work 2 strands of yarn together by pulling from the center and outside of a center pull ball. On first thrum, leave a 6" tail, insert tip of right hand needle into next stitch, wrap the double strand around the right hand needle counter clockwise or the "wrong way," wrap the yarn (the main working yarn) around the stitch clockwise or the "right way," and slip both off the left hand needle. Leave a loop about 4-6" in total length and work the next thrum the same way, without cutting the yarn.

So, get out your dpns and cast on! It's cold out there, what are you waiting for?

Thrummed Mittens
One skein of Manos Clasica
2 oz of roving OR 150 yds of pencil roving OR a contrast color of Manos Clasica for the thrums.
#10 dpns or size to obtain gauge.
2 ring markers

Gauge: 4 sts per inch in stockinette stitch

Size: Adult Small (Medium, Large). You can increase or decrease the size by adding or subtracting a multiple of 4. Each multiple of 4 will add or subtract about one inch.
Cast on 32 (36, 40) sts. Divide onto 4 dpns.
Join and work in k2, p2 rib for 10 (10, 12) rounds.

1-3: Knit
4: *thrum 1, k3; rep from * to end of round.
On row after thrums are placed knit through the back of the stitch.
These 4 rows form your pattern.

Work 2 repeats of pattern.
Work row 1.
On next row 1 place thumb by knitting 6 (6, 8) sts and placing on holder.

Knit to end of round. On round 2 of pattern cast on 6 (6, 8) sts over 6 (6, 8) sts on holder.

Continue mitten in pattern until it measures 7, 8, 9" from beginning.
Shape top:
Keep thrum pattern as set.
1. *k6, k2tog; rep from * to end.
2. K
3. *k5, k2tog; rep from * to end.
4. K
5. *k4, k2tog; rep from * to end.
6. *k3, k2tog; rep from * to end.
7. *k2, k2tog; rep from * to end.
8. *k1, k2tog; rep from * to end.
Cut yarn, leaving a 10" tail. Thread end through live stitches and fasten off.

Place thumb sts from holder evenly onto 2 dpns. Pick up and knit 6 (6, 8) sts from cast on stitches onto 2 dpns. Knit around on these 12 (16, 20) sts as follows:
1-3: knit
4: thrum 1, k2 (3).
Work rows 1-4 3 (4) times and then work rows 1-2 once more.
Decrease by k2tog around all sts and fasten off as for top.
Cut yarn, leaving a 10" tail.
Thread through live stitches and pull closed.

Weave in ends.


1 comment:

Karen W. said...

Hey Courtney,

Technically, "thrums" are the little ends of yarn left over when you cut the finished cloth off of the loom. Weavers are always looking for something clever to do with them, so yarn thrumed mittens are entirely accurate and appropriate!