Nalbinding is an ancient textile technique that pre-dates knitting. Nalbinding knots are sewn using a large wooden or bone needle by forming interconnecting loops around your thumb.
My interest in the textile techniques of nalbinding came from my Saami father. My grandmother was a Saami from the Sor-Varanger province of Norway. My father was born in Petsamo and was raised in a small Saami community. He and my mother moved to Canada after the war and settled in British Columbia. My father worked as a commercial fisherman along the west coast of Canada. Before his long fishing trips, my mother would knit him several pairs of woolen hand warmers to keep his hands warm as he worked. My father would quietly comment to me, that he wished that my mother knew how to make the mittens like his mother did. He didn’t really understand how she made them, but he tried to explain that she would wrap the yarn around her thumb and sew it with a large needle. ‘Peukalo kude’ as he described it in Finnish. He said they were much warmer, thicker and more durable. Of course, he never told my mother this as he wouldn’t want to offend her.
Nalbinding (just like knitting or crochet) can be used to make mittens, hats, slippers, socks, jumpers, bags and other textile items.
Yarns for Nalbinding
For beginners, it is generally easier to start with the thicker weight yarns such as DK or Aran weight. When you are more experienced, you may wish to also work with lighter weight yarns such as 4 ply or Lace weight yarns.
Handspun Art Yarns
I don’t do a lot of handspinning these days but do have a few yarns listed for sale from time to time.
Naturally plant dyed yarns in DK and Aran weights.
I am now able to offer nalbinding needles made of wood or of bone.
The Nalbinding needles are now available for purchase through my Web Shop.
The bone needles are approx 9 cm in length. The bone needles have a small eye so are best suited for fine yarns.
The wooden needles are approx 10 cm in length and have a larger eye. These nalbindning needles are better for use with thicker weight yarns such as Aran or Chunky wools.
The inspiration for these hand spun, hand dyed art yarns came as I was sitting outside looking at some of the merino roving I had dyed. It occurred to me that the colours were a bit too ‘vanilla’. So I thought that adding a bit of black would add some contrast. Hence, Licorice Allsorts Handspun was born.
These one-of-a-kind designer art yarns have been hand spun with pure hand dyed merino wool. The yarn has been spun using a thick and thin spinning technique and plied with a fine hand dyed wool yarn resulting in a lumpy, bumpy yarn that is quick to knit.
The yarn has been hand painted in mixed colours and blended White Vanilla and Black Licorice.
The skein sizes vary between 150 grams and 175 grams and have approx 100 meters
This yarn would be lovely knit or crochet into a scarf or perhaps a hat, or in hand weaving. As this is spun with pure merino wool, it can also be used as knit and felt.
Please hand wash gently in cool water.
Some of my handspun yarns are on Etsy. If you would like a particular shade or larger quantity, please contact me regarding a custom order.
Hand Spun Art Yarn Knitting Patterns
When you buy hand spun yarns, sometimes it can be difficult to know what knitting pattern to use with them.
I have designed a few patterns for my hand spun art yarns to get you started.
Hand Spun Art Yarn Scarf Pattern
Buy Pattern Now on Ravelry £2.50 plus VAT
Recipe for Holy Moley Hand Spun Art Yarns.
Start with a selection of fine quality sheep wools.
Hand dye them in luscious colours.
Carefully choose unique beads to give a bit of extra bling and thread onto a fine linen yarn.
Using a combination of special hand spinning techniques, racing stripes, autowraps, coils, cocoons, twists and cables, spin and ply the fibres together .
Pink sheep, blue sheep, yellow sheep, brown sheep. This unique art yarn has been spun from a blend of hand dyed wools – Merino, Corriedale, Shetland, Polworth, Romney, Alpaca and plied with a fine linen yarn threaded with beads. This is a one-of-a-kind art yarn – when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Shop on Etsy
Look for my limited edition handspun yarns in my Etsy Shop
Nalbinding is an ancient textile technique that pre-dates knitting. Nalbinding knots are sewn using a large wooden needle by forming interconnecting loops around your thumb.
This yarn has been specially hand spun for use in nalbinding projects such as mittens, hats or slippers. It has been handspun and plied using a worsted spinning technique that gives a smooth finish. The yarn is spun using a pure merino wool that felts easily.
I now hand spin my naalbinding wool yarns in the opposite direction to conventional yarns. First the yarn is spun to the left, and then plied to the right, creating a Z twist yarn. I find this method of hand spinning creates a yarn that is better suited for nalbinding work.
Of course, this wool is also lovely to use for hand knitting or crochet.