September 15, 2004
Mitten? What mitten?
With the fervour of the obsessed, I am knitting mittens. (Oh..by the way. The 8lb human being who prevented yesterdays blogging is not sorry. Just thought I would let you know that she showed very little remorse. None actually.)
The thrummed mittens are done, see how nice they look? Puffy and cozy?
That's because the insides look like this...
Cool eh? The thrums are little folded wisps of fleece knit into some stitches. The ends fall to the inside, and form a soft pillow of fluffy wonderment that magically transforms the mitten into a hand furnace. Seriously. As Cece discovered, unless you live somewhere where it gets seriously cold, you are going to wear them like she did, five minutes on...five minutes off. If you do live somewhere that it gets properly cold (by properly, I mean that in the morning you check the windchill to see how many minutes it takes to freeze exposed skin, on account of you are out of milk and wonder if it's too cold to go to the corner....or cold enough that if the kids go to the recreation centre for swimming, you have to remind them that if they walk home with wet hair, they shouldn't try to take their hats off until their hair thaws...or cold enough that when you heard the expression "Me goosebumps were so big, I did'nt know where to put me bra" you thought it was funny...but could relate.) if you do live somewhere like that, then you're gonna love these, and have all 10 fingers if your car breaks down in Collingwood...but that's another story.
In the spirit of lovin' the thrum and it's unique Canadian goodness...I'm suggesting that together with Crystal we do a Thrum along? I'll start my mittens two weeks from now...let's say the 27th of September, and I'll walk everybody through it. You can use any pattern you like, Spin Off has one in this issue, there's another here, and here. I'm sure you will find more. (Including these ones. Not traditional, but devastating)
Do as pleases you...but remember, I am sworn to uphold proper Canadian knitting technique. These means that I might mock anybody who uses "pencil roving " instead of the more appropriate fleece or roving. Although it is fine stuff for other things...it has no place in a mitten. I will mock kindly, I will mock with compassion...I will mock with the respect that all knitters deserve, but I will mock.
I spend last evening knitting these two and a half mittens.
What's that? It only looks like one mitten to you? That's because you can't see the first mitten, which I ripped back in a fit of temper when it was...well, weird.
The pattern has been unceremoniously dumped and I began again with...a pattern out of my head. When halfway through that one it turned out that I was out of my mind, and that the mitten would have fit Konishiki with room left over for him to keep a hankie tucked into the edge, it was ripped back with building hostility. The mitten you see now is the end result of actual math, figuring and decent luck. I'm quite happy now. Too bad it all means nothing to me...since I have been ROAKed to within an inch of my life. Behold! The reason that I'm stuffing the current mittens into the back of my knitting basket as though they were common trash.
Folk Mittens is from Laurie (Yes, that Laurie, have I mentioned that I love Laurie?) who claims that she will never knit mittens, no matter how I entice her. (We shall completely skip over the fact that my particular personality reads that as a challenge....) and Latvian mittens is from fellow Canadian blogger Peggy . It is an incredible book. Stunning. I'm completely overwhelmed and feeling more than a little guilty for getting such wonderful things. I'm having a whole Wayne and Garth moment. I am not worthy. I am however, beyond grateful and thrilled to death.
As for "Tuesdays Are For Spinning"? Couldn't get near the thing.
Would you be concerned about a kid who was obsessive about spinning even though she looks like that while she does it? Oh boundless joy...thy name is Meg.
Posted by Stephanie at September 15, 2004 12:05 PM
Being from the wilds of northern Minnesota, I can truly appreciate the thrummed mittens. However, being that I reside in the Bay Area of California, the thought of them tends to make my hands throb rather than thrum. I'll be watching with interest while the rest of you throw your lot in with the thrumminess, but I'll be knitting socks or Blaze or Butterfly or one of any of the hundred projects I have started or planned.
I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now, and have been enjoying it. I started just as you left for vacation, so got to see all the places your sock went :) I found a link to your blog on Stitch Witch's blog http://www.knitstitchwitch.blogspot.com/
I've been knitting thrummed mittens since last year. And have been looking for a reason to start this years supply; your knit along is that reason :)
I do my with straight from the sheep wool. Well, it's been washed and combed, but no more than that. I did a pair last year for a friend in her school colors. Blue yarn and the wool I dyed yellow. This year I have a variety of color of wool to use for the thrumms; what fun koolaid dying it.
Anyway, keep up the great work, I really enjoy your blog!
Hi! I've really been enjoying reading your blog for awhile now, but my overwhelming desire for the Fleece Artist Thrummed Mitts kit has given me reason to actually come of out the shadows and post a comment (question).
My question is, being car-less in the Boston area, how do I get one of those kits? Are there any retailers who sell Fleece Artist online?? Please help me! I've never knit mittins before (I'm a beginner) but I feel I will not be complete unless I knit *those* mittins.
Thanks so much!
Your mitten tearing out adventures reminded me of the credits for Monty Python's Holy Grail. "The persons who responsible for that have been sacked, the persons who replaced the persons who have been sacked, have been sacked; the persons who replaced. . .
Living in Seattle, my hands are sweating (delicately, of course) at the thought of thrummed mittens, I must remember to avoid Toronto in the winter.
Don't get me wrong, I reallllyyyy love your blog and your stories, and your sense of humour, and all the stuff you do and knit, but you are depressing me! I can't ever imagine knitting as fast as you do - it takes me forever to finish a sock or a mitten! I knit on the bus and on my lunch hours, I just don't get how you do it with three kids and a husband . . .
OK. OK. Ok already. Thrums it is. For me, not the kids. We won't go there again after all the whining I did last time. Someone mentioned Fleece Artist. Ok. Okey dokey. I'm game. And I only live about an hour and a half drive away. Which I can see happening in the very near future since my husband, bless his beautiful and understanding soul, said that I can come off the buying knitting stuff diet. I LOVE THAT MAN! Actually I think he's just trying to get in my good graces after he called me a "GEEK" (more than once) for being addicted to your blog. The geek comments actually came as I tried to tell him about your police encounter and the yarn and wine while laughing loud enough to wake the kids... you get the picture. He even threatened to write to you saying he would ban me from reading your blog. Mostly, I think men just don't understand, unless they're knitters of course! What can I say; your blog gives me reason to live, like on those days that the cow steps on my foot while I am milking or a kid won't get ready for school or.... Have a nice day. Fabulous books. I am getting the same ones from the library. (Someone else is drooling over them at the moment!)
OK-I'm game...I'll join in on the thrum-along. I am sure someone I know here in Michigan would appreciate a nice pair of warm mittens...maybe even myself...hmmm....
I forgot to say: Meg is gorgeous. You shouldn't be concerned. You should surprise her with her own wheel for Christmas!
OK. I have to ask.
Ponchos? Oh where oh where are the ponchos?
Count me in on a Thrum along. I have absolutely no use for them here in Georgia, but I've got a sister stationed in Great Falls, Montana with the Air Force for another year or so. She'll think they're hillarious. I even have about 6 oz of Falkland that would love to be turned into mittens.
You broke down in Collingwood? I can't imagine a prettier place to break down in. I have incredibly fond memories of 5am trips back home from the ex's along misty/sunrise-y sideroads. Mmmmm. I want to move there someday.
Meg does indeed look overjoyed to be spinning. That could be as a result of the incredibly relaxing side effect of the spinning process though. Leg goes up and down and wheel goes round and round.... Hypnotizing sometimes. Her expression is the picture of contentment.
I'm a yooper; gotta have thrummed mittens. I'm in, last year it was felted mittens, and though they were WARM, they are fairly stiff, so you have to take them off to find your keys, put your hat on, or hold your beer while you watch the polar bear swim. So this year we will try something new, and that's OK, because I love knitting mittens, they're so quick with endless possibilities for embellishment.
Love the idea of a Thrum Along. I may participate if the newborn (who isn't born yet) cooperates! LOL Thanks for the picture of Meg at the wheel...My son is almost 2 and I'm already thinking about what kind of spinning wheel to buy someday so that he can use one and I'll still have my Joy all to myself.
That spinning look is called "the zone" in my house. I wear it often. She probably didn't even know you took the picture.
BTW, what kind of wheel is that? It's quite pretty, but I don't recognize...
Living in The Big Woods of Wisconsin, we certainly have need of thrummed mittens, and a knit-along with step-by-step tutorial... how can I resist? I've been resisting socks, but thrummed mittens -- with winter looming -- are quite another thing.
Now let me see...Meg looks to be a bout 14 or 15...and that "look" is such a fixture at my house. I become concerned when the teenagers look happy...must mean something baaaad is on the way.
:) I agree, get her a wheel. But, if she's like mine, get one that YOU really want, because the minute it arrives, she will lose interest, ARGHGHGHGHG.
Lisa in Oregon
Oh, count me in on making some Thrum Mittens, I am newly obsessed with all mittens. *Especially* the Latvian mittens. I just received those two books as well, and you're right, they are amazing. Last night I spent oh, 2 hours looking at the charts in Upitis's book, trying to decide which ones to try out first. I don't have enough pairs of hands to knit for, but who cares. I'm sure I'll find someone out there who could use em.
You might like to check out Anna Zilboorg's Magnificent Mittens, too.
I've never been much of a knitter until recently. And I've never been much of a joiner, either. But I've finally admitted defeat and am about to start knitting a poncho. Who knows? I might even start on mittens and socks before you know it.
And I had the strangest dream the other night - I was running down my street determined to find a streetcar because I had to go to your place to spin. I was babbling about roving and hanks and wondering when in the heck I learned how to spin.
I would LOVE to join your knit along! Count me in! I have almost no idea what you are talking about, except what I could deduce from your post today, about thrumming. My mom lives in Central Oregon, and it definitely gets that cold there. It's the only place I've ever been where the air sparkles because the moisture in it can be frozen even when the sun is out, and the little ice crystals catch the light. Gorgeous, yes. But FREAKING COLD! She is always complaining about freezing hands in the mornings, even with gloves on, even inside of her car. Sounds like the perfect candidate to me! I'm quite stoked.
Those thrum socks look fab, my only problem in France would be where to buy roving, not something I've ever seen in Phildar!!!! I'll have to check out suppliers in the UK, the mittens look just right for watching skiing.
Hi Steph! Love the mittens. I have never tried anything like that before. Yours look great--I think you should wear them inside out sometime too with all the fuzz--you will set a new trend! :)
OK, you've twisted my arm. After last winter here in Northern Virginia, I'm tired of cold hands. It doesn't hurt that I've been drooling over the Fleece Artist kit in Ram Wools (I just ordered the Black/Multi) and they do ship to the US. Should have them in plenty of time for the Thrum-along.
While I love the idea of the thrummed mittens, I own a pair of shearling sheepskin ones that I cannot wear (no, not even when I lived in Iowa) because they're too frickin' warm. The five minutes on, five minutes off? Been there, done that. Now I'm in NH, and plain chunky wool or alpaca gloves or mittens do the trick.
I shall, however, watch with Bated Breath while you explain thrummed mittens because I think they're such a clever idea.
I'm currently trying to teach myself two-handed color knitting so that I can start on these amazing mittens--good thing I started off as an English-style thrower before I switched to all continental, all the time because otherwise, between the fighting with the dpns AND all this yarn going in different directions, I'd go absolutely spare.
Count me in! I am off to get my Fleece Artist kit!
Woo Hoo! Thrum along! I'm IN! So, the 27th, eh...? You mean I have to wait?? :)
I can totally relate to Meg's expression. I recently met my Step-mother-in-law who is a spinner. When she said "I'm not one to sit with idle hands- do you mind if I spin?" a huge grin spread across my face. Mind?! I would LOVE it! Soon my grin was replaced with The Zone, as Amie said. Too funny that 4 adults sitting around the table were completely mesmerized!
Can we all combine efforts and make a 2002 Accord-sized thrummed mitten for my car? Last year it was so cold that my wiper-fluid hoses froze and never thawed one morning even on the *45 minute* commute to work. You can imagine my desperation when the windshield started to go white with no hope of being cleaned off (seeing as I was on the highway). Oh, and did I mention that in Boston you can drive on the shoulder during rush hour, so that there was no where for me to pull off??? Egads!
I will thrum. I bought a little bag of fleece years ago at the Needlework Festival with the intention of making thrummed mittens and then never did. I wear mittens all winter, even while driving ,which many profess is impossible. I like the idea of dyeing the fiber first for coloured thrums. By the way, is the Afghan-a-long Sewup party still hypotheteical?
Heh - well, now I know what thrumming is all about! LOL...
Thrum Mittens and socks kits are available here also:
A Walk-Us-Through-It Thrum-along sounds perfect!
I have to say, your inside-out thrummed mitten looks alot like a mitten that a little old lady wore, and stuffed full of tissue, and then forgot to remove it before throwing it in the laundry, haha! Isn't it fun when you are out of your mind?? The other night, I stayed up too late, and knit, although I thought I might be too tired and make mistakes. Well, I decided that there was no need for the second row of my pattern(!) and I eliminated it! The next morning, I , of course, had to rip out all the rows I knit using only the first row of the pattern. It made perfect sense at the time!
As a weaver, thrums refer to the end of the warp that cannot be woven but which very creative folks find uses for but which I throw away. So, what does thrum mean in knit-speak?
WOW!!!! everyone loves the THRUM!!! man, this rocks. also, i don't know that my site has ever been exposed to this many hits, or ever will be again! thanks for the link. i think i might wrangle up some time to do a button for the thrum-along... oh, and the pattern for the mittens i've made (once i write it down!) can be used by anyone for free :) yay! by the way, your daughter is gorgeous! i'm glad that you've gotten your kids into the fibre arts :D
I'll thrum along with you! I must knit very warm mittens for everyone I love, since most of them live in the Adirondacks, where winter goes hardcore from October to May (though I've also seen snow on the ground in June, July, and August. Honest.) And as a novice spinner, I'm awash in roving. Not to mention skeins and reams and pounds of handspun for which I have no purpose, except to gaze upon with a contented smile.
Steph, ma mie, will you go over to Romni Wools and buy everything Fleece Artist they have?
I'll pay yis back, I swear.
For Jackie: ROmni Wools folks are very helpful, and will gladly send you Fleece Artist stuff.
How is it that everything on the Fleece Artist site looks glowing? Ah, well, it does in person as well.
Finally, I am nearly speechless with joy at how truly beautiful your Meg is. Yeow.
*Sigh*... I miss winters that require actual winter coats and really warm mittens. All I *really* need in Philly is windproofing.
Are you kiddin'??? I'm IN, I'm IN!!!! Yes, I damn sure live in one of those places that needs thrum mitts -- and why didn't anyone ever tell us Vermonters about them?! Can't wait. You are a peeeeeeeeeeeach for taking this on.
Laugh away at my pencil roving. I have enough yardage of it to make a sweater, since the nasty lady who no longer owns the LYS said "Of course you can make a sweater out of pencil roving...." Just winding it on the swift and ball winder revealed its nature, as a cloud of fiber rose up around the ball. I COULD use it to learn to spin, but I keep thinking of what alpaca thrums would feel like... someday. I'm gonna get this sock heel right if it kills me.
I'll thrum! I think it is at least sometimes cold enough in NH for thrummed mittens, and I have no mittens at all.
Yep, in for the thrums. I've worn them, but haven't knit them. How would alpaca fleece work? Mind you, I have a LOT of fleece in the stash, so its just a matter of choosing.
My definition of cold...you walk to the mailbox, your eyes water, and the tears freeze on your cheekbones. Then you walk inside, and they instantly thaw, and the kids want to know why you're crying. And the -40C windshield cleaner instantly freezes on your windshield.
Grand River Yarns also carries fleece artist kits.
I would love to join the Thrum-along! There's nothing I love more than warm, cozy mittens, and these look like they'll fit the bill!
Please add my name to the Thrum-Along participants.
I found my small fleece stash (purchased at the Erin Fall Fair, ages ago) and so I am ready to begin.
I'd like to Thrum as well. I bought my Fleece Artist kit from ramwools.com for $24.25 US, including shipping.
I would love to join in on the Thrum Along! I have a skein of wool from Peace Fleece with nothing better to do. Perhaps today I go in search of roving at my new favorite LYS. Darn. Yarn shopping.
Guess the lawn mowing can wait.
Can I still join in on the thrum mittens knit along? I've never tried it before but have fleeces and roving all around here, (No pencil roving, though ;)
Looking forward for the knitalong to start.
Please count me in for the thrum along! I am in Minnesota where warm mittens are a necessity. Thanks!
Thrums! I'm late to the party, but I very much want to thrum along. Let me know how to join!
Thank you Stephanie for your FAQ on thrumming. It saved my New Year's weekend. I had purchased one of the last Fleece Artist kits at a local shop just on Thursday with a plan to making these beauties on the weekend. I found the thrumming instructions on the included pattern to be less than complete. Thanks to your FAQ, the mittens are well underway, and looking great as well.
Do you have a pattern for mittens with one finger, or know where I can get one? After years of large projects, I have become obsessed with things like hats/mitts/scarves and socks.
Reading bits of your blog has been a lovely pass-time as well. Happy New Year!
I, too, would like to thrumb along. I know it is late in the year but it is still cold here in Nova Scotia. And, best of all, I have my own sheeps wool! However, where do i get directions for the mittens and maybe socks. Please help me.
Thanks so much.