Recently, in addition to my crocheting and knitting addiction, I have acquired a new fiber hobby…Nålebinding!…or Naalbinding…or Nalbinding. There doesn’t really seem to be a great agreement on the spelling. I like Nålebinding though, since it has the cool little Scandinavian (I could be wrong?) “å“.
Nålebinding is an ancient form of fiber craft, predating both crocheting and knitting. The oldest known pieces formed in this method include socks from the Coptic Christians of Egypt (4th Century BCE), and hats and shawls from ancient cultures in Peru (between 300 BCE and 350 BCE).
The way I was “introduced” to this craft, however, was through the Vikings! Some of you will know that I am a historical reenactment enthusiast, and my “persona”, if you will, is a pre-Christianity-era Viking. The Scandinavians used nålebinding to create clothing that were warmer and sturdier than crocheted or knitted pieces, since nålebinded pieces are thicker and more tightly formed.
Many of the pieces that I found online were nålebinded pieces that were later felted, and then embroidered. I haven’t finished a piece large enough (or good enough) to merit the effort of felting, but I personally think that pieces look nicer un-felted, as you can see the individual stitches, which I think are more unique-looking than crocheting or knitting.
Usually, I am very good with following instructions through videos, but for some reason, it took me a VERY long time to wrap my head around the whole nålebinding concept. I think the vast majority of my difficulty came from the novel method of actually THREADING the whole piece of yarn through, as opposed to hooking it back and forth (such as crocheting and knitting).
I have managed to “perfect” one kind of stitch so far, called the Oslo stitch. Here is one of the many videos that I had to consult in order for me to learn it:
Hopefully I will soon be able to finish a piece that is pretty enough for me to show off online! Another bit of exciting news…I have a new order of beautiful wool yarn coming in! I can’t wait to get my hands on those :D