Feb 162011
 

Thrumming was something that was on my knitting to-learn list for a long time.  It seemed complicated to me so I shied away from it, but once I dove in and did it I realized it was not.  The actual act of knitting with these fluffy bits of roving was easy.  The harder part, in my opinion, is making the thrums.  There are a wide variety of opinions and instructions out there.  Some say make them small and thin, others saying the thicker the better.  Also there are various methods preferred on how to work the thrums.  I have fudged my own method and wanted to share it, hoping that I could add to the mix and help someone who maybe needs a little extra input/photos/explanation.

The first thing to start with is a good chunk of roving.  Most mitten and slipper patterns will call for around two ounces but always over buy just to be sure.  Nothing ruins that almost-to-the-end excitement of a WIP like running out of material.  This ball here is probably about five ounces of wonderfully soft merino.  I bought lots since I wanted enough for two projects and I thought this pale color could be dyed if need be.

I start by splitting the roving into three strands…

… then six.  You can see that the roving is still pretty tight together but you can start to see through it.

Start breaking off segments from the strands, each approximately six inches long.  You don’t have to rip forcefully, just tug slightly and it will slowly give way.

Gently pull and stretch this piece, thinning it out until it’s about 8 or 8 1/2 inches long.  Fold it over in a sort of squashed oval to be about four inches.

Now give the whole thing a little twirl to keep the ends together.

Here I have to stop and give a shout out to my trusty flexible stainless steel ruler, who has been with me through thick and thin of crafting adventures for over 16 years.  How far we’ve come from the days making leather jewelry for cigarette money!

Okay, so there are your thrums.  Uniformity isn’t a big deal here; it’s okay to have slight variation among the thrums.  The bigger worry would be if your thrums changed thickness over the course of your project, leaving you with uneven mittens, slippers or whatever item you are working on.  To avoid this I like to make a big batch of thrums before starting a project.  Give that pile a good toss and you’ll get a good balance.

Here is the thickness of my thrum (with a good twist to it) compared to my working yarn which is Lambs Pride bulky.

Here is how I like to place the thrums in my project.  On the stitch where you’d like a place the thrum, knit normally but don’t slip the left-hand loop over the working stitch yet.

Take one of your thrums, fold it in half and wrap it around the right-hand needle the same way you do the yarn.

Pull the loop on the left-handle needle over the thrum and the working stitch.  On the right hand needle, the thrum should sit to the left of the stitch just worked.

On the next round when you come to one of the thrummed stitches, work the stitch as a normal knit stitch, inserting the right-hand needle into both the thrum and its respective stitch.

And now the thrum will be in front of its stitch.  After I finish this round I like to give all the thrums a little tug, making sure that they’re tightly in there and to make sure they aren’t too puffy on the right side.

If you’re working an item flat and will be purling this second row work it just like a purl stitch, inserting the right needle into the thrum and then its stitch.

Oooo, and look at that squishy result.  I really wish I could share with you just how luxurious this feels.

Today’s not really a day to be thinking about thrums around here, though. It’s about 60 degrees and sunny.  A good porch-sitting day.  I’m off to go join Esther the cat out here in the sunshine.

 February 16, 2011  knitting, tutorial Tagged with: , , ,  4 Responses »
Feb 132011
 

Although I learned a few years earlier, I really started regularly knitting when my son was first born.  I loved the instant gratification of small baby sized projects.  I still do.  My daughter at one year old probably has as many hand knit things as I do.  The one downside to knitting these small things is that these children insist on growing, so most things can’t be worn all that long.  I really wanted to make the baby a pair of Emmy Lou Helmuth’s Cozy Leg Warmers because they are way cuter than all baby legging patterns out there but I was hesitant to put that much work into something that would only be worn for a short time.  I started them anyway and when done I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of stretch to them.  In fact, I made my four year old try them on and they fit him well.  A baby item that could be worn for three years?!  Huzzah!

I worked them on size four needles with sport weight yarn.  To fit the baby they are worn over the knee, but as she grows they will be worn below the knee as the pattern intends.  So cute.

 

The baby’s other new item is Jane Kehler’s Peas and Lettuce hat.  I was taking a gamble making a non-tie hat for a grabby handed baby but she needed something heavier than her Junie Cap.  I worked this in a bulky weight yarn from Gyspy Wools.  It is unbelievably squishy.   Unfortunately I misread the pattern while watching TV with friends (I shake my fist at you, Jessica Fletcher, for distracting me) so I worked fewer purl rounds.  Still cute, I think, but not as fun as Jane’s original pattern.  The baby  refrains from removing the hat about 40% of the time, which is a better statistic that I hoped for, so I’ll take it.  And even though I generally shy away from knitting a pattern twice, I want to make this again because it was so fast and so fun.

 

 February 13, 2011  knitting Tagged with: , , ,  6 Responses »
Feb 072011
 

My little girl turns one this week!  Sniff, sniff.  She has proven her loyalties to gender stereotypes and has embraced all things doll related.  She doesn’t know yet what a doll bed is so I completely expect her mind to be blown when on her birthday I give her my doll bed from when I was a little girl.  I thought I needed to add something new to this old thing so I made her this flower blanket using Attic24‘s Summer Garden Granny Square.  This is only the fourth or so crochet project I’ve done but the second from Attic24.  I adore her patterns, plus Lucy is about as cute as can be and one of those women who after reading her blog you so wish you could sit and have tea with.

I did a boarder of 4 single crochets in each gap, plus 7 on each corner.  I love how fast crochet finishing goes!

I had fun with this project but my real motive for this was to try to get my crochet juices flowing to work on my Babette blanket that has been languishing for months now.  As my second crochet project, this was either really ambitious or really stupid, I haven’t decided yet (a little of both perhaps?).  My husband and I both wanted something pretty warm and heavy, so this is worked with worsted weight with a C hook.

I’m nearly to the end of the pattern but as you can see it’s pretty tiny.  So now I need to plan some more squares, add more to the pattern and keep on plugging!

 February 7, 2011  crochet, WIP Tagged with: , , , ,  1 Response »
Feb 032011
 

The instant gratification of granny squares and hot coffee in my favorite mug,

temperatures  finally in the double digits for the first time in over two days,

and two children both mostly happily playing.  I don’t know what else I could ask out of today!

Okay, maybe a little color work too.

 

 February 3, 2011  knitting, life 2 Responses »