Thrum Thrum Thrummm

Read the title to the beginning tune of The Little Drummer Boy, just so your afthead is in the same mental space as mine.

Welcome readers.  It’s been hot here.  How about where you are?  Hot too?  (Maybe not if you are one of my southern hemisphere friends.)  Well, nothing makes me feel more comfy in the summer heat than some thrummed slippers.

Total lie.  Thrummed slippers are miserably hot summer footwear, unless you are the nine-year-old member of the Afthead family, in which case you have joyfully spent June and July wearing fuzzy crocs and your mom’s thrummed slippers in 90 degree heat.  Not wanting my slippers to get all gross with kid sweat I cast on so she could have her own pair.

My slippers are boring adult brown and yellow, using up yarn I had no plans for and the cheapest non-itchy piece of wool roving I could find at the knitting store, but I had big plans for my daughter’s slippers.  Rainbow plans….

When my favorite local yarn shop, The Recycled Lamb, went out of business, I bought this amazing tube of roving: Three Feet of Sheep in “Rainbow Twilight” by frabjous fibers, because I had a feeling that more thrummed objects were in my future.  The assortment of colors combined with a red Debbie Bliss Paloma from the stash – chosen because it’s “not itchy” – made an exceptionally colorful slipper.


For you knitters who haven’t thrummed, be warned that it is putzy and not a travel friendly knitting project.  That said, it’s novel and creates a colorful fuzzy finished product that I love.

Luckily I had a 9 hour conference call and laryngitis, so needed an activity to stave off sleepiness while listening but not talking on my work call.  Thrum making was the perfect activity!  Patiently I separated the balls of roving, tore hunks off, unraveled the hunks into lengths which I folded and twisted into thrums.  The cats had to be locked out of the room during this task, because kitties love thrums.

The thrums did not take the whole 9 hours to make, so I started knitting on the call too.  (Really, if you knit and frequently have boring conference calls, may I suggest that you combine the two activities.  I’m much more engaged on my calls when I’m knitting.  Odd, but true.)  I knit both slipper soles first, because I wasn’t sure I had enough yarn to complete the slippers and liked the idea of contrasting pink tops more than I liked the idea of mismatched pink and red slippers.

In the end, I had enough yarn for both slippers because I shortened the top to only four rows of thrums, which seemed better for the smaller scale of my daughter’s feet and legs.  Also, like with my slippers, I modified the pattern to use an i-cord bind off, because I like how the extra weight of the fabric keeps the thrums from escaping over the top.

As soon as the last slipper was cast off, my daughter’s ran outside in them. Screaming after her, “Not outside with the hand knits,” I noticed the lovely contrast between the new slippers and the concrete.  Therefore, I demanded the ungrateful child take them off so I could photograph them before the slippers came back inside to live.


So we are all set for sweaty summer rainbow feet at the Afthead household.  For you knitting knerds, I’ve got all the details below.  Thrum, thrum, thrummmm……

Thrummed slipper knitting details:

Pattern: Cadeautje by by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Paloma in Red 42015

Roving: Three Feet of Sheep in “Rainbow Twilight” by frabjous fibers

Ravelry Link for mamma slippers:

Ravelry Link for kiddo slippers:

If you are a knitter and never thrummed before, I recommend the Yarn Harlot’s blog post about the topic.  As always, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a knitting genius.

Knitting Knews

I know you are all dying to know, “But Johanna, what’s going on with your knitting?”  Well let me tell you, the thrummed slipper is coming along magnificently.  The sole of the first one is done.  The outside, or bottom is the brown side with the yellow v’s.  The inside, where the bottom of my foot will go, is the side with the fuzzy yellow caterpillar looking thrums.  Next I just need to knit up the foot and then add more thrums to the top of the slipper.  I’m expecting coziness for one foot soon.  Sadly, since I’m on the road, I had to abandon my slippers for a bit.  Thrums are cool, but not travel friendly.  I’m hopeful that with a Sunday of football ahead of me I can get the first one done.  Then we’ll see if I make the second one next, or make a pair for my demanding daughter first.

One more update on the hat I knit for my friends with the sick little girl.  I heard back from them.  They love the hat and it fits perfectly.  I was so worried, but then a friend at work said, “Of course it was going to fit.  It had to fit.”


She’s right.  Sometimes fate, or God, or the powers that be make sure that things work out.  The hat had to fit.  It has been called, “The coolest hat ever” by several admirers.  The pom pom is also adored.  This makes my heart happy.

There, feel better?  You are all up to date on the knitting news…except, there may be another hat in the works.  This time for me!

Old knitting dog learns new trick

I have a few skills I’d say I’ve mastered.  Knitting is one of them.  I’m no Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, but who is?  There’s a difference between a knitting master and a jedi-knit-knight.  I’m a master because there isn’t much that intimidates me.  Sure, I have to remind myself how to read lace charts, and I refuse to deal with 80 bobbins of yarn to create intarsia, and I’m always watching videos of different cast on techniques, but the things I don’t know how to do are just things I’ll try someday and when I do I’ll turn out a passable product.  I know how to fix mistakes, I know when to just turn a knitted item back to a ball of yarn.  I can throw and pick and strand and design.  I know how to knit.  It really doesn’t surprise me anymore.

Well, today a miracle happened.  One of my favorite blogs is SouleMama.  I feel like SouleMama is bizarro me.  She has five kids, homeschools them and lives on a farm.  I have one kid who has been in “school” since 13 weeks and I live in a city.  Her life intrigues me, because I can see myself in it.  If somehow we had been switched at birth I can imagine living in a homestead filled with children all wearing the clothes I made them with my own hands tending our flock of sheep.  (I’d homeschool them so that their friends wouldn’t laugh at my inept seamstress skills.)

On Monday Amanda, the author of SouleMama, posted about their family activities during the rainy weekend, and she included a picture of this crazy knitting project with yarn on double pointed needles and fluff hanging out of it.  No explanation, just a pictures, but I was intrigued.  I commented on her post guessing that she was creating roving lined mittens.  Well today her post was all about the thrummed mittens she’d created.  I took a deep breath.  In thirteen years of knitting I have never heard of thrumming.  This was something new.  I tore through her post.  I started searching Ravelry and Etsy.  Thrumming is a thing.  It is an amazing technique where every few stitches instead of stitching your yarn you knit in some fluffy roving.   It makes garments that are soft and fuzzy on the inside and super warm.  I love that thrumming incorporates color and texture into projects in new ways.  I was giddy.  I sent the post and patterns I found to knitting friends and tried to get them all on the thrumming bandwagon.

Where to start?  Well, I stopped at the local yarn shop on my way home, bought a hunk of roving for $6 and then came home and bought a slipper pattern that I adore: Cadeautje by Ysolda Teague.  The roving I bought is an odd mustardy green roving so I can’t make the cool rainbow slippers featured on the pattern yet, but I dug deep into my stash and found some really ancient chunky alpaca wool blend that meets the designers suggestion for yarn and looks pretty darn cool with the roving.

Let me lay this out to you.  For a $6 roving investment and a $5 pattern investment I am going to embark on a new stashbusting project to create wool/alpaca fluffy lined slippers.  Can you imagine anything more dreamy on your foot?   Then I can move onto mittens, funky earflap hats, and glasses cases.  It’s a miracle!  I am so excited.  Now, off to read a couple of thrumming technique blogs before I cast on.

Finally, I’ve gotta be honest here, thrumming?!?!  Can you imagine a cooler word for a new knitting technique?  Thrum, thrum, thrum.  Eeek!