Nalbinding Stitches

Nalbinding Stitches
Nalbinding Stitches

Nalbindning, nålbinding
Over the past several weeks, I have been studying how to do nalbinding and the various stitches. I found it all a bit confusing at first, but after a bit of study, I realized that most nalbinding stitches have similarities in their production.

To start, you have to begin with a chain or a circle, such as in crochet. There are many ways to make the beginning chain, using the variety of nalbinding stitches. I found that I was getting hung up on producing the chain correctly, and not progressing much farther than this.

I then realized that the beginning chain is just that – a beginning, and decided to not worry how the beginning looked but to move on to work the following rows.

Once you do this, the never ending loops start to make a bit of sense, and you can then see how they are formed.
The first 5-10 stitches in nalbinding never look quite right, as all of the loops that are needed, haven’t been made yet. So continue on and keep working. These messy stitches can be unpicked once the project has been completed.

Eventually it starts to look better, and you can unpick the first few offending loops when the rest of the project has been completed.
Once you have formed a beginning chain, it becomes quite straight forward to continue with the stitching.

Nalbinding Start
Nalbinding Start

So – moving onto row 2 where you are picking up and adding new stitches…
There are 3 basic steps to forming any nalbinding stitch.
Most of the nalbinding stitches start with 1 loop on the thumb, and the new yarn is wrapped around the thumb.

Nalbinding 1
Nalbinding 1

Step 1
The old row where you are picking up stitches from (as in crochet, but working from the left to the right.
The new yarn is wrapped around the thumb.
Working from the Right to the Left
Pick up the new loop from the previous row onto the needle.
Pick up an old loop from the previous row onto the needle.

Nal Old / New loops
Nal Old / New loops

Step 2
Pick up stitches from behind your thumb. These will be the older loops that you have just formed from the previous stitch you created.

The number of stitches that you pick up in this step will vary depending on which nalbinding stitch you are making.
The direction that you pick up these stitches will also vary depending on which nalbinding stitch are are making.

Nal Behind Thumb
Nal Loops Picked up Behind Thumb

Step 3
Pass the needle through the loops that are still on your thumb.
The number of stitches that are still on your thumb will vary depending on which nalbinding stitch you are making.

Nal Loops on Needle
Nal Loops on Needle

Step 4
Pull the needle through all of the stitches that you have picked up, and tighten your yarn.
At this stage, you can also adjust the tension of the stitch if you like.

If you use your thumb as the stitch size, this is ok, but all thumbs come in variety of sizes, so you will have some inconsistency in getting an even and uniform stitch size.
But you can tighten the tension of your stitch, by using the nalbinding needle as your tension guide.

Nal Loop on Thumb
Nal Loop on Thumb

Form the new nalbinding loop on your thumb.

Nal Loop on Needle
Nal Loop on Needle

Drop the new loop onto the needle.

Nal Loop Tightened
Nal Loop Tightened

Give a bit of a tug to tighten the nalbinding loop, using the nalbinding needle as your guide to how tight the loop should be. It should be snug, yet loose enough to allow you to pull the yarn through. This will help to give you consistency in loop size, much as with knitting needles or crochet hooks, where you work your tension to the size of the needle.

Egyptian Nalbound Sock in Edinburgh

The Grave from Mammen

More About Naalbinding
Nalbinding Patterns
Nalbinding Stitches
Nalbinding Iphone Case
How to Make a Russian Join
Verulamium Spindles and Looms
Nalbinding Stitch Summary
Viking Textiles

Nalbinding Needles

Nalbinding Needles
Nalbinding Needles

Nalbinding Yarn & Needles
In my Etsy shop – I will have some naturally plant dyed yarns for sale that are suitable for Nalbinding.
I also sell some of my Nalbinding supplies on Ebay.

AMAZON Nalbinding Books

Nalbinding – What in the World Is That?
Nålbindning – The easiest clearest ever guide!
New Age Looping Guide To Getting A Great Start: a New Age Looping series e-book (New Age Looping e-books 1)
Nalbinding Made Easy



Last Updated on April 27, 2021 by Paivi Suomi

By Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about traditional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi