Nålebinding Tutorial

After a slow start, I’ve finally got round to finishing my first attempt at nålebinding – by making a möbius strip (a mathematical object which is a surface with only one side and one edge). Here’s a step-by-step tutorial. I’m left-handed and so is this tutorial, but I hope my instructions are clear enough for right-handers too.

Nålebinding Tutorial

Nålebinding is a technique used to make a knitted structure. Instead of using two needles to create rows of loops, the loops are sewn with a threaded needle – creating true stitches. Unlike two-needle knitting, nålebinding does not unravel, and the yarn must be continually rejoined because the entire working length must be pulled through each stitch (it doesn’t work with a ball of yarn!). It is thought to be much older than two-needle knitting, possible originating in Egypt. These Egyptian socks in the Victoria & Albert Museum date to around 250 to 420 AD.

Möbius strip bracelet

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Materials

  • A few grams of yarn, any type
  • A large blunt needle (a tapestry needle is ideal)

Casting on

Step 1

Cut a length of yarn about 1 metre long and thread the needle.

Make a loose knot with the yarn, leaving a short tail.

Step 2

Insert the needle into the loop of the knot, and underneath the working yarn.

Step 3

Pull the yarn through, until you have a loop about the same size as the first one.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have a row of about evenly sized loops about the circumference of your wrist.

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Joining the loop

Step 4

To make your mobius strip, put a single twist in the row of loops, then join the loop by sewing a single stitch into the very first loop and pulling the yarn through. Alternatively you can make a straight tube by leaving out the twist.nal16

nal17The first round

Step 5

Start the first round by inserting the needle into the join of the first two loops of the cast-on row. Pull the yarn through to make a loop.nal18

Continue making a new round of stitches in this way, working in the opposite direction to the orientation of the needle.nal21

Rejoining the yarn

Once the yarn becomes too short to work with, knot a fresh length of yarn to the end and continue stitching.nal23

Continue working rounds of stitches until the band reaches the desired thickness. Sew in any tail ends to finish.nal24

Happy Nålebinding!

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Nålebinding attempt

Ever since I saw these socks in the Victoria & Albert Museum I’ve wanted to try nålebinding. Thanks to some excellent tutorials on youtube and Richard Rutt’s The History of Knitting, I’ve started to have a go. Even though it can produce a fabric structurally identical to knitting, nålebinding is sewn with a threaded needle. I doesn’t unravel like knitting because the yarn is pulled through each stitch. I describe it as ‘knitting backwards’. The easiest way to explain how it’s done is through photos, so here’s the first stage: making the initial ‘knot’ and row of loops.