Nålbinding, Part 3 – Going Solo

In recent posts I provided a brief glimpse of the history of nålbinding, and an overview of my class at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. I left Iowa knowing that I needed to practice the stitch until it was firmly imbedded in my brain.

This shows one stitch on the needle.

This shows the basic stitch on the needle.

I’d decided that my first independent project would be a pair of mittens. I understood what I needed to do to shape a mitten, so I got started.


I got this far in class.

Once home, though, I soon discovered that I didn’t want to work on something that required even simple shaping. Life was crazy-busy. I was traveling a lot, and trying to meet deadlines too. I wanted a handwork project to relax with.

So I switched to scarves and bags. Nålbinding requires natural fibers, and I picked yarns with inherent variations.

A luscious wool-mohair blend.

A luscious wool-mohair blend.

Then I experimented with variegated yarns. I found the repetitive stitching almost meditative, and I loved watching the colorplay develop. Nålbinding projects were perfect for traveling since they required only a ball of yarn and a blunt wooden needle (which did pass TSA screenings, by the way. No scissors are required; yarn is broken and spliced.)

I love the colors in this skein.

Gorgeous colors!

Making a flat bottom for a bag.

DSCF7902 - Version 2

Unfinished bag, ready for the fulling process.

Since taking the class, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error.

I’ve learned that when making scarves, it’s tricky to gauge how many stitches to add on the curves so the ends stay perfectly flat.

I made the bottom scarf in the round, and even with blocking, the ends aren’t quite flat. My talented friend Becky solved this problem by making a tube instead (top). She’ll close the ends when she’s done and have a double-warm scarf.

I’ve learned that whatever leads to wool being labeled “washable” makes it difficult to splice yarn or full the finished piece.

Since this washable wool doesn’t splice or full well, I’ll need to line this bag.

I’ve also learned that I never should throw away wool yarn remnants.

I made this bag from scraps left over from an afghan project.

I haven’t given up knitting, hedebo, rosemaling, etc., etc.  But I find nålbinding more relaxing than anything else. Now I’m trying to figure out when I can introduce nålbinding into one of my Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mysteries!

Kate Martinson is offering her nålbinding workshop again this summer. I highly recommend it! For more information, visit the Vesterheim website.

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4 Responses to “Nålbinding, Part 3 – Going Solo”

  1. Kathleen White Says:

    Nice job on your projects!

  2. cookiebaker13 Says:

    This looks like something I would like to know more about. I will check it out.

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