A thrum is a wee sprig of roving or carded fibre that can be inserted into crochet or knitting at any point to add bulk or wadding to one side of the work. This technique is used predominantly in knitted mitts and although I haven’t seen it before, I have thrummed slippers too. If you’ve never worn thrummed mittens, you have missed out on one of life’s hidden pleasures; they are simply delicious!
I just made a pair of mini mitts for one of my nieces; cute aren’t they?
I love the way the thrums appear to be little hearts on the surface and have made them large to be extra visual and tactile. Sheeps wool is preferable for thrums because it retains it’s spring for longer. Alpaca can be used for the softer feel or for thinner thrumming; you might not always want thickly wadded mitts. I’ve just used natural Talluleh Llama roving for these for her super softness, and Talluleh is a lovely apricot/strawberry blonde colour. You can easily dye some fibre if you want contrasting or matching colours. Actually, I have some alpaca that has a lot of crimp, so it might serve as well as sheep in this instance. I prefer mittens to gloves because my fingers keep each other warm, and I can sneak my thumb in to join them, so with that in mind, I have thrummed inside the tiny thumb; a thrummed thumb!
Whilst in thrum mode, I wanted to make something really special for my nephew. I searched for suitable slipper patterns, but nothing really caught my attention, so I sketched out in my mind exactly what I wanted and then just created it on-the-needle, so to speak.
And this is the result…..
Green Twizzle Monsters
I had some bright yellow fibre left over from another project, so I carded that and dizzed the little thrums off the batt as required. Together with fibre died to requested colours and spun into super tight twizzles, the slippers are just what I was aiming at.
Slippers are such fun to make. Unfortunately, there are so many different styles and not all of them are great. Also, the gauge of yarn you use makes a huge difference to the end result so try to avoid having to undo and remake the slippers several times before they turn out the right size! I think this could be the subject of our February workshop. Any takers?
Another reason you might want to use sheep fleece for thrummed socks and mittens is for the lanolin. Working outside, feeding and working with the llamas in the winter can really dry my hands. Adding thrums ‘in the grease’ may be the perfect solution. Certainly, if you suffer from cracked heels in the winter, thrumming with greased roving is going to work some real magic for you.
Eventually the thrummed lining will felt. It will still be very warm, but if you want to regain that thick wadded sensation, you can loop some more roving into the item with a small crochet hook. You can also try hooking thrums into any chunky knit socks, although you will not get quite the same effect as actually knitting them in.
Finally, my sister voiced a little concern about a certain little ‘someone’ racing around the house in monster slippers and sliding around the floor. This was resolved by adding a few blobs of Shoe-Goo to the underside of the soles, although any rubber-based or silicon based adhesive will do the job. Alternatively, you could put a few blobs of glue on the soles of the culprit’s feet and stick him to the floor instead! 🙂