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.