Over the weekend I gave a demo on thrumming. It reminded me how much I love thrums, so I thought I'd post a step-by-step here.
Thrumming originated in the Maritime Provinces. Bits of wool fiber, thrums, are knit into a garment - usually mittens. The thrums create an extra layer on the inside of the garment for added warmth and insulation.
To make thrums you need wool roving.
Split the fiber into narrow strips. Tear the fiber - don't cut it.
Next tear off smaller, 4-inch strips.
Fold the ends of the fiber strip to meet in the middle.
Give the thrum a twist in the middle to form a figure 8. Moisten fingers when twisting to keep the fibers in place.
Make a pile of thrums before you start knitting.
To knit a thrum insert right needle into first stitch on left needle as if to knit.
Wrap middle of thrum around right needle. No, those aren't my fingers with the jazzy nails.
Next, wrap the working yarn around the right needle, next to the thrum.
Work the stitch as normal pulling both thrum and working yarn through the stitch. Tug ends of thrum to secure.
When working thrummed stitch on next round, knit thrum and stitch as one through the back loop. This twists the stitch and locks the thrum in place.
The inside view.
This fiber pillow will become matted with wear and will create a fiber liner on the inside of the mitten.
The outside view.
Thrums as decorative stitches.
You can add thrums to your favorite standard mitten pattern. Just remember that the thrums will take up room on the inside, so you may want to make the next size up. If thrums are placed too close together, the fabric will be stiff and dense. Thrums should be spaced out on a round - every 4 stitches or so. The rounds with thrums should also be spaced out - every 4 rounds or so. Thrummed stitches can be worked in a variety of patterns. The thrums can be lined up in columns or staggered. There are many design options.
Vary the thickness of the thrums for different effects. Thrums the same thickness as the working yarn are more subtle, while thicker thrums create fabric with more texture. You can also splash colorful thrums across your mitten by using dyed roving. Thrums are a fun way to spice up your mittens, but they're also a practical way to add warm, woolly insulation.