Another pair of thrum mitts

I don’t know if there’s a paid pattern I’ve gotten more use out of than my Thrummed Mitten Pattern from Briggs and Little. I’ve previously written about these uniquely Canadian (Newfoundlander, specifically) mittens, how warm they are, and how simply joyful it is to see them inside out and all the fluffs that make them so very warm.

My sister recently asked for a pair for herself, and I thought it would be an excellent addition to her birthday present. A visit to Toronto with a friend brought us to Knit-o-matic, and they were selling thrum kits from Fleece Artist. I chose a lovely soft blue for her mitts, pleased with my choice. When I got home and really got into the mitten, I was even more delighted to see that the roving was nearly identical in colour to the yarn. My previous mittens have had a stark contrast between thrum and yarn, resulting in ‘polka dotting’ on the mitten:

But when the yarn and fleece are nearly identical, the mitten appears more solid, more uniform:

As I said, this simply delighted me. Now, it did make it a challenge when the gusset increases messed with the stitch count, and seeing the previous row of thrums is helpful in trying to maintain the thrum pattern. A challenge, but not impossible.

If anything, I’d say the matching yarn/thrum makes for a very mature looking mitten.

And they are still very, very warm.

Stuffed with Fluff

I’m sorry, but is there a happier sight than a thrummed mitten, specifically, an inside out thrummed mitten?

I’m using the pattern from Briggs and Little (Family Thrummed Mittens RAV LINK by Catherine Vardy), my third time making this pattern, and I love it each and every time. I think this mitten was finished in only a few evenings.

Now, if only mitten #2 would magically cast itself on.

Just Thrumming Along

While watching the Canadian Men’s Snowboarders take both the SILVER and the BRONZE MEDALS Saturday night, I was keeping my hands busy trying a new pattern and new technique – thrumming.

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The start of my thrummed mitts, two rows of thrums complete

In case you haven’t heard, it’s been a miserable Canadian winter.  There’s been snow, and lots of it, and on some days, the temperature has dipped to the mid -20s°C.  In short, Canada’s been Canada-ing. I’ve been wanting warmer mittens for a while now and have been rather intrigued by the idea of thrumming.  So, after a visit to my LYS and riffling through my stash, cast on.

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Preparing the roving to make thrums

This technique has its roots in Newfoundland and Labrador, because, Canada.  Joking aside, the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador has long been tied to the fishing industry, and these mittens would have been excellent for fishery workers, spending time hauling nets and working on the northern Atlantic coast.  A ‘thrum’ refers to waste yarn/fibre from weaving and spinning, and engineering knitters ‘from the Rock’ realized they would make an amazing insulating layer inside the mitt when the thrum is knit with a regular stitch in the pattern.  Some sources say this technique has been in use for hundreds of years; today, I’m quite happy it’s still around to help me combat this Canadian cold.

The pattern I used was Thrummed Mittens by Tanis Lavallee.  If you’ve never done this technique before, I’d recommend either watching a video or two, or perhaps giving this article by the Yarn Harlot a read.

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A peak inside the mitten – just look at that fluffy warmth!

In all, I wouldn’t recommend this pattern, and when I thrum again, I’ll find a different one to make.  It’s written as if you know exactly what the designer means when they say ‘Knit 3, Thrum, repeat to end.’  Never having thrummed before, I had to google to ensure I was doing it right.  It uses the afterthought technique for the thumb, certainly not my favourite (exhibited by my cursing and repeated ‘I hate this’ while removing the waste yarn), and I think I prefer the fit that a gusset provides.  Finally, if you knit the pattern exactly as written for both hands, you’ll end up with two right mitts.  Long story short, the pattern needs updates, but once finished, I’ll certainly have warm fingers.


Want to read more about thrumming and its history?