Thrummed Mittens – How To

I’ve been wanting to make thrummed mittens for months now!

So I spun some wool about 2 years ago (can’t remember what kind it is) into a thick, bulky double:

bulky handspun wool yarn

That picture was taken after I dyed it, but it was originally a pale heather brown. I dyed it charcoal gray with my professional acid dyes, since I wear mostly blacks and grays, not browns:

brown wool being dyed
gray hand spun yarn wool

Also about two years ago, I dyed some luxury fiber (a blend of cashmere, silk, cashgora and the like) this red shade:

dyed cashmere red

It was lovely, but as I had never dyed luxury fiber before and I didn’t know what I was doing, it slightly felted. Not too much, but enough to make spinning a little more difficult than I prefer. So I chose to leave it as essentially a pencil roving.

I then knitted some thrummed mittens.

HOLY COW. They are warm and delicious!

I was going mainly for warmth here, but still wanted them to look funky and cool.

So I just make up the pattern as I went, and here it is:

Thrummed Mittens – Bulky

Ravelry Link

This is my first “official” pattern so if anything is missing or unclear, please let me know! Just comment below or send me an email. You can leave these as-is when finished or felt them. Your choice.

These only took me about 2 hours each to complete, so they are super fast and can be made easily in a day as a last-minute gift!

Yarn: Bulky Weight Wool (I used my own hand spun) If you’ll be felting these as I decided to do, make sure you use a feltable wool (make sure it doesn’t say superwash, which is non-feltable).
Roving Tufts: Any wool or desired fiber. Something that will felt is ideal so the fibers eventually tangle around each other and lock into place. I used a cashmere fiber with other luxury fibers blended in because it was already slightly felted into a pencil roving, but normally the short staple lengths might have made this fiber less than ideal. You don’t want a fiber with a staple length longer than 3 to 4 inches, though, or you won’t be able to pull tufts in that length. So a medium-staple length wool is great.
Needle: US Size 11: Either dpns or 32″ or longer circulars. I virtually always use circulars and opt for the magic loop method (which is brilliant, by the way!) when working in the round. But dpns will work just fine too, if you prefer them.
Gauge: 9 st/4 in (You’ll want to use whatever size needles you need to get this gauge)
M1=Make 1. Insert right needle into loop between stitches and place onto left needle. Knit through the back loop of this.
K1fb=Knit 1, front and back. Knit the stitch as you normally would, but leave it on the left needle. Knit through the back loop of it as well and then slide it off the needle.
Ktbl=Knit through the back loop (produces a tighter, twisted stitch)
K2tog=Knit 2 together. Instead of knitting one stitch, insert your right needle into two stitches at once and knit them together. You have now decreased from 2 stitches to 1.

How To Thrum: Pull off a length of your roving; about 3 to 4  inches:

how to thrum mittens

Twist it in half:

how to thrum wool mittens

When you get to the stitch you’re going to thrum, insert your needle into the stitch as usual. Lay the tuft of roving across your needle as shown:

thrummed mittens - how to

And then knit the stitch, pulling both the yarn and the tuft through the stitch together.
You then have both the tuft and the yarn on the right-hand needle:

thrummed mittens - how to knit

Wasn’t that easy? Make sure to tug a smidge on the tuft to tighten it up a bit.

So let’s get started!

CO 16 stitches, using the long tail method.  Place marker for beginning of round, and make sure to not twist your stitches.


Work K1, p1 ribbing for 9 rounds.

Hand: Round 10: (K2, m1) around. (You should now have 24 stitches total) Instead of working m1, you can also do k1fb. Either is fine.

Round 11: (K2, thrum 1) Repeat to end of round.

Round 12: (K2, ktbl) Repeat to end of round.

Round 13: K.

Round 14: K1, thrum 1, *(k2, thrum 1) Repeat from * till 1 st is left. K1.

Round 15: K1, ktbl, *(k2, ktbl) Repeat from * till 1 st is left. K1.

Round 16: K.

Round 17: (Thrum 1, k2). Repeat to end of round.

Round 18: (Ktbl, K2.) Repeat to end of round.

Round 19: K.

Rounds 20-37: Repeat the last 9 rounds twice more.

Mitten Top: We’re going to decrease to close the top of the mitten.

Round 38: (K2tog, thrum 1). Repeat to end of round.  You now have 16 stitches total.

Round 39: (K2tog). Repeat to end of round. You now have 8 stitches total.

Work kitchener stitch to graft the top of the mitten together. Or work a 3 needle bind off. I opted for the kitchener stitch.

Here is what you get before adding the thumb:

how to thrum

And the crazy inside:

inside of a thrummed mitten

Now, we’re going to work a whole lotta magic and do what’s called an Afterthought Thumb (it’s so brilliant!):

Decide where you want the thumb to be and insert your needle into four stitches as shown:

afterthought thumb

Then, (READ THIS CAREFULLY!) cut one stitch in the MIDDLE of the row beneath and begin to unravel the 4 stitches of that row. As you do, pick up the 4 stitches on the row below that one. You now have 8 stitches picked up, 4 on each needle and two loose ends. (Weave those in after you work the thumb.)

afterthought thumb how to tutorial

So now for the actual thumb knitting:

Round 1: K4, pick up one stitch between rows. K4. Pick up one stitch between rows. 10 st.

Round 2: K8, K2tog. 9 st.

Round 3: K1, Thrum 1, K2, Thrum 1, K2, Thrum 1, K1.

Round 4: K1, Ktbl, K2, Ktbl, K2, Ktbl, K1.

Round 5: K

Round 6: (Thrum 1, K2). Repeat to end of round.

Round 7: (Ktbl, K2). Repeat to end of round.

Round 8: K.

Round 9: (K2, Thrum 1). Repeat to end of round.

Round 10: (K2, Ktbl). Repeat to end of round.

Round 11: K

Cut yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail and thread it onto a darning needle. Run it through the remaining stitches as you slide them off the needles. Cinch up the top and weave the yarn onto the inside of the thumb to secure.

Weave the two loose ends remaining from cutting up the afterthought thumb so that you cinch up the holes at the base of the thumb.

Weave in all ends. And done! Sort of.

If you choose to leave your thrummed mitten unfelted, you’ll have this (minus the dog):

fo thrummed mittens

finished object mitten thrum

I opted for felting mine as they were a little big. I can’t decide if I’m happy about that decision or not. They were much softer and fluffier unfelted. But fit a little better felted. And look a little sleeker.  A word of caution: The thumbs got a little tight after felting, so if you opt for felting, I’d recommend adding in about 2 extra stitches to the thumbs.

So to felt, I stuffed plastic shopping bags up into the mittens to make sure they didn’t felt on the inside and be unusuable (it’s easiest just to wrap the bag around your hand and thumb and stick your hand into the glove. This way you get the thumb too) and pinned the ends shut with safety pins. I then tossed them into hot, soapy water in my washing machine and turned it on, allowing it to agitate the mittens for about 10-12 minutes, checking them for fit every few minutes.

Here they are soapy, and still wet, but felted:

felted thrummed mittens

And after a day next to the fireplace, they were nice and dry and ready for wearing!

thrummed felt mitten

My hands haven’t been cold since!

So there you have it. Super warm, funky, felted thrummed mittens for our intense 40 below zero F winter days! I hope you enjoy knitting these!