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1  Stone Age knitting--Nalbinded Scarf in Knitting: Completed Projects by cottontop on: March 14, 2006 02:40:34 PM
"Finger Scarf"
This is my first project I've posted..There's no board for naalbinding (and probably never will be!) so I decided to stick it in knitting since historically naalbinding came before and probably led to knitting.


This is not a very typical nalbinding project-- most people work in the round and use wool (easier to join). Outside of Scandinavia its mostly Viking and early medieval and Roman empire reenactors who are into nalbinding since there was no knitting or crochet in those eras.  They usually make period garments --socks and mittens mostly--out of wool or linen. For this scarf I worked lengthwise and used cotton (peaches & creme "Licorice" variegated) and just for fun I let each row separate into "fingers" at the two ends of the scarf, kind of random lengths...(Should have done 5 rows for a real fingery look but wanted a skinny scarf I could tie...) The fingers are looking a little wonky to me, I might redo them to be equal in length...


Nalbinding is done with a largish eyed needle usually made out of bone or wood and you pull the whole length of yarn through with each stitch, like sewing.  So you cant work off a ball of yarn, have to use shorter lengths and join a lot...Easy with wool, you just spit on the ends and felt them together, but a pain with cotton or synthetics. Oh, and the easiest way to do it is to hold the working loop(s) over the left thumb and stitch through them on/ against the pad of the thumb, very hard to describe but easy to do. So the rows tend to be thumb-sized! But with most stitches the loops overlap each other so much that it still ends up being a warm fabric. Also is usually felted which helps.


I'm mostly a crocheter and recently learned both knitting and nalbinding and love them both. Knitting is faster and maybe more versatile but I totally love the feel of my nalbinding needle and its really fun to do a technique that is so ancient and looks so different from knitting and crochet...Though one very simple nalbinding stitch is structurally identical to knitting--in fact it turns out all those ancient socks etc that archeologists dug up in the middle east and are labelled "knitted" in museums and books were actually nalbound.  They could never understand why they only found eyed needles, never anything that looked like knitting needles! So now the earliest dates of (2-needle) knitting has been revised to be much more recent than people used to think. The early stuff was all nalbinding.

Nalbinding was probably done even back in the stone age but textiles don't survive from back then. Anyway its been found on every continent that had people, so was a pretty popular technique once upon a time. The simplest forms look like netting and are used in basketry and netmaking. Has been done continuously in rural Scandinavia, my mom said her oldest aunt used to make mittens that way.

The stitch I used is called UUOO/UUOOO F2 which describes the number of "overs" and "unders" the stitch makes in one looping around the previous stitches... The F2 describes how the stitch attaches to the row below (under two strands, needle going through from the front). Nalbinding stitches are basically spirals of yarn going rightward and weaving/looping around the previous loops...Like a row of cursive upside-down L's that connect at their sides....

I can post some links to sites with instructions/ info if anyone's interested...

Thanks for looking!
--Cottontop/ Ingrid

Ok, here are some links to instructions and info--nalbinding is easy to do but REALLY hard to "get" from pics and instructions you have to just be patient and try a lot of different sites til it clicks...Best to learn the "thumb" method from a real person, but i did manage to figure it out eventually from online info. There is one great video showing how to do the stitch i used in this scarf--its not the most basic stitch, but the video is so good it might end up being the easiest anyway...

You can do nalbinding stitches by sewing them the way they look in a diagram but it is very slow and laborious compared to the "thumb" method where each stitch is done in one stroke, not a lot of separate motions...

Basic Nlbinding part 1: Oslo Stitch
Its the stitch most people start with. Slightly easier than the one in my scarf.

Nlbinding 101: Introduction to the "sle" stitch
The sle stitch might not be the best one to start with but her getting started pictures on how to do a basic foundation stitch (before the sle stitch) could be really helpful

Bernhard Dankbars nalbinding site
Great pictures. He does show pics of the thumb method, but while its helpful, youll need to look at some other diagrams/ videos/ instructions to get it. His pics and description were not enough for me to figure it out but were GREAT for checking and verifying after I did start to get it...

Phiala's String Page - Naalbinding
(very clear images of stitches, but doesnt show the thumb method of making them)

Krista Vajanto's teaching videos of nalbinding
page has a link to her thesis (in Finnish). The last 4 links are excellent videos teaching 3 different stitches (1st clip shows UUOO/UUOOO, same one I used in my scarf), and (the 4th clip) how to do the second row with an F2 attachment. Voiceover is in Finnish, but every step is clearly demonstrated visually, and you can go back and watch over and over til you get it.

This is the best video I have found. To learn the stitch I used in this scarf you have to look at the first and the 4th video clips--the first shows how to make the foundation row, and the fourth clip shows the way you do a second row. Its the same as the foundation except now you are also attaching to the first row. She's  going in rounds, which is the most common way to nalbind.

Annes nalbinding site/links
She probably knows more about nalbinding and the history of nalbinding than anyone in the world, has done some amazing research. She started a Yahoo group on nalbinding (see her links) several years ago that is still going...a kinda slow-but-steady board that has a lot of info buried in its archives.

Larry Schmitts books on nalbinding
They are great resources, the standard teaching/ references but I would never have been able to get how to start from his written info. If you cant find a teacher, mine the online pics, diagrams, videos as well as getting his books. He teaches as well, I can't remember where, probably could google it...
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