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While not knitting per se, naalbinding is a great way to use woolen yarn to make unique household objects and garments. Naalbinding literally translates to "needle binding." Some people consider naalbinding to be a precursor of knitting as we know it today. I have seen a few different historical accounts of how it is thought that knitting developed, and not all historical theories trace knittings origins through naalbinding. For certain, it is known that before Vikings had knitting, they had naalbinding.
Naalbinding uses a single needle with one eye to knot a length of yarn into a a rowed, stretchy fabric. Once the length of yarn is used up, another piece is plied on. This gives naalbinding some interesting characteristics. The crafter can add on more yarn as needed, and they can build the piece almost sculpturally while they work.
Eventually, knitting and crochet took over the portable textile world. Some people say that naalbinding requires more skill than knitting or crochet. I have tried the technique, and personally I think a great item could be made by anyone who has the manual dexterity to write in cursive. Since the technique works by pulling a single thread all the way through with only one needle, much of the repetitive s strain that is common in knitting or crochet is eliminated.
To get started, you will need a single eyed needle, a tutorial, and a yarn that is easily felted. It is best to use an actual naalbinding needle. If you are unable to find one, you can substitute a thick, blunt tapestry needle. An easily felted yarn like Lamb's Pride will make the joins easier. You will be making a lot of joins, so be sure to get a good feeling yarn!
If you would like to view a tutorial see the links below:
Insturctables Video of the Oslo Naalbinding stitch - Offsite Link
Historic Crafts pictorial guide- Offsite Link
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