Sunday, February 26, 2012


Lorajean asked if I would help her out with a couple of samples for Stitches West and I said sure! Michele had written her Thrumbelina slippers pattern and since I had not yet done thrums, thought it would be fun.

Thrums first showed up on hats
"By the eighteenth century, the woollen cap worn by the ordinary sailors in the British Navy had changed to the Welsh Wig which was described as a round knitted cap which may have originally been the "Monmouth cap". It was often knitted of thruns, where the multiple broken ends were left outside the cap and may have helped to make the cap warmer and at the same time given it a hairy appearance, probably giving rise to the nick-name "Welsh wig". These caps seem to have been used in military and naval hospitals even up to the present century. The name that survived to be used again on a cap that was developed for the rigorous climate of the Crimea and which was only slightly different from the "Balaclava" cap, which was developed at that period."

(I do have plans to make a Monmouth cap in the future.)

Back to the Thrumbelinas! (They're on sale thru the end of February, in case you're interested in making your own.) The upfront work of making the thrums is a bit time consuming. I needed 122 for the regular and I think 142 for the large. That's for one slipper! I know that the method that Michele used is different from what Sheila is used to seeing, so no right or wrong way to make them I guess. I took the large one to an SCA event I was attending last weekend and they received LOTS of interest and thoughts that they would make excellent camp slippers. So I'm going to be dipping into my leftover Lamb's Pride yarns and some of the sample rovings I still have from the World Wide Spin in Public and making a few pairs for us and friends I think. There was also the discussion of adding leather to the bottom if they were camp slippers. 

Here's what they look like on the inside:

The regular felt a little short for my 9 inch long foot, not sure if once the thrums have been squished down by my foot that this would change or not. The large was a bit too big for my foot, so something in between I think. 

I also changed the way I added the thrums from the way of adding with the knitted stitch to just the thrum. This makes a more definite v look to the added thrum, but I had a hard time keeping that look without a foot being in the slipper. ;-)

These are awesome slippers if you have a circulatory issue where you always have cold feet, or keep the house colder to save money. 

These are knit flat with an i-cord along the sides then you join in the round to complete the toe with a quick mattress stitch seam up the back to complete the slipper. If you leave a long enough cast on tail, you'll have plenty to do your seaming! 

Spring may be coming, but its still cold enough for slipper wear around here until at least mid June. If you make a pair, please let me know! I'd love to see the different color combinations people come up with.


  1. How fun to see someone else thrumming. I'd never heard of thrumming until I saw Michele's slippers. I went looking then on Ravelry and am now thrumming mittens. I think next I'll thrum a hat, and then perhaps move on to slippers. I also watched the YouTube videos about thrumming. See my blog post for today at

  2. Those are fun color combos on your Thrumbelinas!

    I know you can knit in the thrums without knitting them along with the stitch, but I was afraid they'd be too easy to pull out that way. I guess there are many ways to thrum, and we will all pick what works best for us!