Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thrummed Mittens - Older and Wiser

Once upon a time, I made thrummed mittens (ravelry link). I had seen mittens with thrums made of wool, but knew that my skin has a hard time with wool. For those not familiar, the Yarn Harlot has a great FAQ about thrums. When I found some really nice cotton roving for sale at Rhinebeck, I thought I would give it a try. It turns out that cotton makes for imperfect thrums. It does not felt like wool, which I knew going into it. It also pulls out pretty easily as it doesn't stick well to the yarn it is knit with. Also, wearing these took some getting used to. I was tempted to play with the inside bits while wearing them, which would have caused the thrums to fall apart.

Despite their flaws, the cotton lined mittens worked fine for me. The yarn is a merino, alpaca and silk blend, so these mittens are mighty toasty. Now here is where the real problem came into play with these cotton thrums. After using them for a while, I noticed that the thrums had started to look nasty, dirty, gross. I knew that if I washed the mittens I would surely end up with a falling apart mess.

I decided the best course of action was to remove the thrums, wash the mittens and just wear them as they are. Luckily for me, when I knit these I didn't know that you can knit into the back loop of the stitch when inserting the thrums to secure them. Not having twisted stitches made pulling out the thrums possible and prevented the thrumless mittens from having sporadic twisted stitches. Washing and blocking them after pulling the thrums out helped even out the gaps where the thrums were. Hooray!

Now that I am older and wiser and my skin seems to have gotten a little more tolerant of merino wool, I have started a new pair of thrummed mittens using wool yarn and merino wool roving. I learned my lesson about light colored mittens and am making these in darker colors. Plus, when these need to be washed, it won't be a big deal.

This project is moving along rather slowly because it doesn't make for very good on-the-go knitting. It is quite a set-up I have what with the actual knitting being sort of bulky and needed to incorporate the prepped thrums and the roving waiting to be prepped.

I am enjoying seeing how the colors from the roving are coming out, though. And, I know I will end up with toasty warm mittens. All of these warm woolens are happening right on time, as we woke up this morning to a big, wet snow storm.

The photos above were all taken on the bench in the front of this photo. What a difference a few days makes in this transitional time of year!

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