nalbinding_01Why nålbinding?

When we started with Byfrost in 2001, some of us had no idea what our speciality would be. So I tried different techniques. I have done woodworking, I made my own clothes, worked with leather and different weaving techniques. I like them all and in a way I still practice some of them. But none of them really got to me.
I knew the Danish stitch (O/UO) in nålbinding, but I didn’t like it that much. Then I was asked to do a workshop nålbinding. I accepted the challenge and I went surfing on the internet. While surfing I came on Bernard Dankbar’s page where I first saw the Oslo stitch (UO/UOO). This stitch fascinated me, so I started experimenting and found my speciality. The Oslo stitch is  a great base for a wide variety of stitches, It is easy to teach to children, but has enough possibilities for textileminded people to never get boring.

nalbinding_02What is Nålbinding?

Nålbinding looks like knitting and crochet. I often call it the grand mother of these techniques. The biggest difference is, that with knitting and crochet, you pull loops through loops. This way you can (technically) work with an infinite length of yarn.
With nålbinding, you have to pull the entire (working)thread through a (or multiple) previous loops. by doing this, you make a new loop. This way the loops are made one at a time. This also means that nabinding is much more durable than knitting and crochet. When you break a thread on a nabinding work, the previous and next stitch (knot) will hold it in place. With knitting/crochet, the stitches have no anchor witch keeps them in place. So, when you bread a thread, you can pull out the entire thread. Around the whole world nålbinding has been used. and is known under a lot of names. Here some names used in Europe:

  • Dutch: naaldbinden
  • Swedish: nålebinding, nålbindning, nålning, påtning, sömning
  • Danish: Nålebinding, binding, knudeløst net
  • English: needle binding, knotless net, plain looping, buttenhole looping, simple loop interlocking, naalbinding, nailbinding or needle binding
  • German: Schlingentechnik
  • etcetera…

A short history

Nålbinding is seen throughout the world as the oldest textile technique in the world. Some of the oldest finds have been made in Judea (6500 B.C.), Denmark (4500 B.C.) but nålbinding has been found on the British isles, Scandinavia, Egypt, Polynesia, Southern Amerika and on the Arabic peninsula.
Even now the technique is used in many places, but you’ll find them especially in Sweden and the Arabic country. Here the technique is being preserved and teached.
Probably is nålbinding older than spinning with a spintoll(?) This is because you don’t need long threads for nabinding.
regrettably there are little finds in nålbinding. Of course we are talking about textile , witch is very volatile and stays preserved only under special circumstances. Because our specialisation is at pre-medieval I will specify to finds from that time and earlier.
In the past the technique was often used for socks, stockings, bags, caps, mittens, and embroidery. Eventually the technique is surpassed by knitting and crochet, because these techniques are much les labour-intensive than nålbinding.

OslosteekHow-to: the Oslostich

Technically nålbinding isn’t that hard. It is important to know what you do, when you do it and why you do it. On the nest page I’ll give a step by instruction of how to do the Oslo stitch. If you ask me, this is the basic stitch. When you have the feeling with this one, all the others should be to do with a little fiddling around.

Notation methods

In theory there are infinite possibilities when it comes to nålbinding. From very simple, where you only go one loop deep, to extremely complicated where you bo back nine loops. To create some order and classification 3 notation methods have been thought out. I will describe them on the following page.

Volg het bord Nalbinding~General van DenBlauwen op Pinterest.


  1. Hi,
    I am German, living in the UK, Cornwall since 1998.
    I have just started to learn Nalebinding.
    I like the needles you are using!
    I got two sets from Etsy, one from Us and the other one from Norway!
    Where did you get yours?
    I would love to know!
    Best wishes


    1. Hello Christiane,
      Thanx for your message. Some of the needles I use, are bought on living history markets like the yearly viking event at the open air museum Archeon (nl), some I made myself. When I make them myself, I mosly use bone, wich I get from my local butcher. 🙂


  2. Hallo
    Toevallig op jullie site terecht gekomen,ziet er prachtig uit.
    Vooral de textiel afdeling spreekt me aan.Kennen jullie het tijdschrift
    Vezel?Hierin worden oude manieren van omgaan met draden etc weergegeven..
    Is het misschien een idee om voor belang stellenden een workshop te geven.?
    De redactie is te vinden onder. MEINIE@VEZEL.ORG
    Veel plezier met jullie ontdekkingsreis,groet,attie


  3. Hallo,
    Ik wil graag leren naaldbinden. Ik heb alle materialen, boeken etc al in huis, maar ik merk dat ik het nodig heb om een les te krijgen. De drempel om zelf te beginnen is hoog.
    Is dit mogelijk bij jullie?


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