Nålebinding... translates from Danish/Norwegian as “needle-binding”, and goes by other spellings--naalbinding, nålbinding, nålbindning or naalebinding. This is a fiber technique that predates both knitting and crochet. It is sometimes also known as "knotless knitting," or "single needle knitting." Nålebinding was in use during the Viking-age, which interests me very much. For an extensive history of this ancient fiber technique, I do recommend this Wikipedia article.
For some weeks, between all else, I’ve been practicing nålebinding. It's not the most easy thing to pick up and do, so I'm only just now sharing this. Here I have used the Oslo Stitch. There are other styles of stitches, including the Finnish Stitch, the York Stitch, and several others. During the last weekend I created this little pouch (pictured at the top), which is great for holding cords and cables for tech gadgets while on the go. I like this old meets new--a little bit of antiquity for the modern age!
A blunt, single needle is used to work a foundation of loops, from which a fabric is created that has a kind of chunky herringbone texture. Once the foundation chain is established, the piece can be joined and worked in the round, much like crochet or knitting. Yarn suitable for felting works best with this technique. Socks, mittens and hats have been made in times past using nålebinding.
The loops/stitches are worked quite differently from knitting or crochet...
Using the threaded needle, the needle is passed through a loop on top of the thumb (sometimes called the halo stitch), twist it toward the back and push it forward.... the needle goes under the working length of yarn lying to the left, between thumb and index finger... to create a new stitch. Best worked from the "side" of the stitch than on top of it.
Pull the needle and yarn slowly, keeping a light hold on the stitches, until there is a loop around the front of the thumb. The loop around the front of your thumb is a new loop to work. And another is made, and another... You can find lots of good videos via YouTube with various nålebinding stitched demonstrated!
Relatively short lengths (1-2 yards/meters) of wool are pieced or felted together during the process, rather than working from a ball of wool with a continuous length pulled out. Breaking the yarn rather than cutting it is important, as the frayed ends of the yarn make it easier to pull open and felt. To felt: fluff open the broken ends of yarn, and with the help of a little water, rub the ends together with a brisk rub-and-roll action, to make a firm join... and a new working length of yarn is made.
I found it helpful to mark the halo loop when needing to put my work down--making it easier to pick it up and get the tension going again. Nålebinding produces a very firm fabric that does not unravel--it's pretty amazing! Making a mistake--it's hard to unpick it... This technique takes a lot of practice.
This is definitely NOT the prettiest thing I’ve ever made. LOL... :/ Quite honestly, while this technique is interesting to read of, learn about, and try, it is very time consuming. The stop-start in having to felt lengths of yarn as you go, and constantly adjusting the loops/stitches… It's a slow process. And this craft eats up yarn! This small pouch is approximately 3 x 7.5 inches/ 7 x 19 cm and I used nearly the whole of a 50 gram skein of yarn suitable for felting! So, I’m not sure how much I will be working with this technique in the future… but we'll see. Anyway, fun to step back in time and try this!
Are you trying anything new these days?!