Oh these mittens! They are, without a doubt, the most imperfectly-knit and ridiculous looking things. But you know what else they are? The WARMEST MITTENS EVER! I've never made a pair of thrummed mittens before. To quote Stephanie, speaker of truth for all things knitterly and Canadian, "A thrum is a little wisp of unspun fleece or roving that is knit into your project every so often. Thrumming makes the insides soft and fuzzy, and freakishly warm. This technique is most often associated with Canada’s Province of Newfoundland and Labrador (where they know warm)."
Now, I've got some roving. Have I ever got some roving! And I could use some warm, to be sure. So in the spirit of experimentation, trial and error, and with the hope for warmth, I dove into the making of these last weekend, using a worsted weight yarn (Maxima by Manos Del Uruguay) and this pattern by Joan Janes. It took me a little while to get the hang of the thrumming without feeling too awkward in my hands. Mostly I felt challenged in preparing my roving, which is airy and puffy (surely those are technical roving terms, right?) and a little tricky for me to evenly measure out. But I did get into a groove, trying on the mitten often as I went along, to laugh at how silly they looked and to marvel at how warm they were becoming. I realized when I was nearly done with the first one, that I was using too much roving per thrum and that it was stretching out the knitting as a result....but decided to forge ahead and keep it consistent. Knowing, again, that there's more than enough roving to experiment with and that I might try felting them at the end, experimenting some more. (Side note: one of the very first things I ever knit was a pair of felted mittens for myself with Brown Sheep wool, which, another side note, was all that I knew existed for yarn when I started. Those mittens were my favorite and my warmest for a dozen years....until just last year when I lost one. I still have hopes that she'll appear under a car seat or something one of these days.)
When I finishing knitting, they were just as puffy as can be. Oven Mitts, the kids were calling them, as they each took turns putting them on and laughing, then asking for a pair of their own. Into the wash they went for a little bit of felting and shrinking (keeping plastic in the middle so as to not felt all the bits together inside!), and by the fire they sat drying for a very long while. When I was satisfied with the size and shape, I realized that the cuffs were far too loose to keep the mittens on comfortably. So inside the cuff I sewed grossgrain ribbon to make a casing for elastic.
And after all that...the snow arrived! Just this morning, enough to keep my little ones happy all day, and enough for tonight's nordic race to go on for my big guy. I'm learning to like this nordic racing, I think. Though I'm not a fan of standing still outside (and therefore, staying cold), which is what watching the races ends up being. These mittens might just be my ticket to happiness. So yeah, Calvin, I'm sorry I won't be the Mom with the loudest cheering voice (I'm terrible at that, though I'm trying), nor the biggest cowbell. But you'll be able to find me nonetheless. Because I'll be the one with the biggest (warmest) oven mitts on!