Category: Knitting


Nålbinding (also nalebinding) is a method of creating a stretchy textile using short lengths of yarn and a single-eyed needle. Fabric is formed by looping the yarn through at least two previously created loops, gradually building up row upon row of loops. Gauge depends on the size of yarn and the looseness/tightness of the individual needle worker. Basic nålbinding has the appearance of twisted stockinette stitch; more complex forms bear more resemblance to crochet.

Nålbinding predates both knitting and crochet; ancient samples have historically been misidentified as knitting by archaeologists and hopeful textile historians. Fragments of fabric with the appearance of knitting, excavated from third century AD Dura-Europos, in the Middle East, turn out to be nålbinding. Additional samples of toed anklet socks from fifth and sixth century AD Egypt are also examples of nålbinding, previously misidentified as knitting.

Nålbinding as a practical needle craft survived longest in Scandinavia before being supplanted by easier to produce knitting. Nålbinding was regarded as a superior craft because it required more skill to produce and the fabric created was thicker and warmer.

© 2001-2006, originally published Apr 28, 2001