Naalbinding is a type of stitching technique that uses a large needle to form interconnecting loops.
nålbinding, naalebinding, nålbindning, Nadelbinden, nålebinding, naaldbinden, nõeltehnika, vattarsaumur, knotless knitting, knotless netting, single needle knitting, neulakinnas
Nalbinding is thought to pre-date knitting. Examples of nalbinding have been found throughout the world in archaeological finds. The technique is still used in parts of Peru, in Nepal and in Scandinavia to make socks, hats, gloves and other clothing and accessories.
Naalbinding is somewhat similar to knitting and crochet but once formed, it does not unravel. If you make a mistake it is very difficult to undo.
I took a short naalbinding class a few years ago but haven’t had time to practice on the technique since. I thought that I would give it a try by making a small case for my Iphone. I think this is a good project for a beginner as it uses only 1 stitch – the Oslo stitch, and a bit of hand spun wool. If you don’t have a naalbinding needle you can use a large wool darning needle.
Here are some good tutorials and how-to instructions on how to do different nalbinding stitches and techniques.
Bernhard Dankebar’s website gives good written instructions and photos of how to start the basic stitch.
The Beginning Stitch
This shows how to make the basic loop and the foundation row. This is also called the Oslo stitch.
How to Close the Ring
How to Join Threads
When you work with nalbinding you will be using fairly short lengths of yarn so that it doesn’t tangle as you are working with it. It is best to use a pure wool yarn that will felt, so that you can splice and felt the ends together.
This is an excellent site (both in Finnish and English) with good instructions and how to videos that demonstrate many Nalbinding stitches.
The Finnish version of this website.
Naalbinding – Oslo Stitch 1+1
Iphone Case Pattern
I have used a 2 ply hand spun wool yarn.
I did 30 Oslo stitches for the first row – or enough so that the ring measures 10 inches across.
I will be felting this once it is complete, so have allowed some extra allowance for felting and fulling.
See how to work the second row – at 5:20 in the You Tube video above.
I continued stitching using the Oslo stitch for the remaining rows.
I picked up 1 new loop and one old loop from the previous row and 1 loop from behind my thumb as well as the loop on my thumb and the new pickup thread.
Once you master the basic stitch, you will find that the naalbinding works up quite quickly. As with any type of stitching though, getting the tension right can be a bit tricky. The size of the loops are controlled by how tightly you wrap the yarn around your thumb, so you will need to practice with this. If you are working with fine yarn you can make the loops tighter by slipping the loop off your thumb and onto the naalbinding needle to adjust the tension.
After I completed nalbinding the bag I sewed the bottom and added a strap to it.
I picked up 2 loops from the side and using the Finnish 2/2 nalbinding stitch I stitched the strap and sewed attached the other end to the opposite side of the bag.
Where to Buy Nalbinding Needles
Nalbinding needles made of wood: Juniper, Apple, Lilac, Cherry
Naalbinding needles made of maple wood.
Naalbinding needles made of bone or wood.
Nalbinding Handspun Yarn on Etsy
Look for handspun nalbinding yarns in my Etsy Shop.
Nalbinding on Ravelry
Nalbinders on Ravelry
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