I was cruising around the internet this am and I started looking for information on Thrumming. There is some information out there – from your basic dictionary definition:
- the row of warp thread ends left on a loom when the web is cut off
- any of these ends
- any short end thread or fringe
- Naut. short pieces of woolen or hempen yarn for thrumming canvas
- to provide with or make of thrums; fringe
- Naut. to insert thrums in (canvas) to make a rough surface for preventing chafing, stopping leaks, etc.
Nothing about knitting there, but that could be where the original bits came from to add to our mittens! No wasting of any fibre by our ancestors.
There are a couple of good photo tutorials, the Yarn Harlot has one for instance, but not really much basic information or history. Those who have written about Thrumming agree that it was born in Newfoundland and area and the technique adds great warmth to mittens, headbands etc. It has been around for a few hundred years and that is about it. Bishop Rutt – in his book, A History Of Hand Knitting, p 190 – mentions that Channel Islanders, those from Guernsey and Jersey, originally took their knitting skills to Newfoundland sometime after the 1840’s. Did they bring Thrumming or was it already there? Some questions as to history and origins will never be answered – that is one of the aspects of our craft that is so fascinating. It is full of stories and legends and not much documented history – it can be invented or “unvented” as we create.
The Thruming technique that I use is a little different – I knit the thrumms in place on the round that I am working, not the next one. I have no problems with cutting the fibre – I guess that I am not really a purist in this area. I also don’t play around making perfect little thrumms ahead of time – I make a few thrumms, using a cut and rip method and fold them in as I knit – it works for me and those that I have taught!
Right now I am working on some thrummed slippers for a class that is coming up in a couple of weeks – both a high-top and a low-rider version. Lots of thrumms should make these as comfortable as a fleece lined slipper – I hope!