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Nalbinding (Needle Binding)
or: How the Vikings knitted

It seems like the offline world conspires against my online activities. There is so much to do and to learn that these days I really spend very little time sitting at my comp.

My latest project: Nalbinding or Needle Binding

That is how the Vikings knitted before knitting needles were invented. I was instantly hooked and absolutely had to find out how it works. Surprisingly the technique is still in use today in Scandinavia, Russia and other northern countries. And of course it is used by the Viking re-enactors all over the world. Apparently if you want to take part, you cannot just wear knitted mittens or socks. They have to be authentic.

Well, I'm not a re-enactor but I like the look of it:

Source: Lappone



So I set about learning how to do it. Let me tell you: it's not easy and it takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice. You need the right yarn (pure wool) and the right needle. Currently I'm still using a blunt darning needle that works okay for the stitches I tried, but there are other stitches that need the real thing:

Source:Etsy.com - ShyRedFox






BBC: A History of the world


Viking Sock photo 1.jpg

A woollen sock recovered at Coppergate was made using a technique known in Scandinavia as nålebinding; in English we call it knotless netting, looped-needle netting or single-needle knitting. This type of knitting uses a single-eyed needle to create a meshwork of interlocking loops, and could be used to make not only socks, but mittens, hats and bags. Bone needles found in the excavations could have been used for this type of knitting, but the sock is the only example of nålebinding ever to have been found in England, so it seems more likely that is was brought to York on the foot of a settler or trader, having been made in Scandinavia.

The sock was found in a worn state in the backyard of a 10th-century post and wattle building, and appeared to have been patched. It has a narrow red band around the ankle, but the original colour of the rest could not be determined. The band may have been a decorative edge, or the beginning of a red-coloured leg of a longer stocking.