Monday, September 17, 2007

The Nalbinding Tutorial

I greatly owe this to Mistress Maire from Artemisia. I promised her December of last year that I would throw one up on my blog. Hmmm. All good things?

Step 1: Assemble needed supplies: yarn, needles, scissors. In regards to the yarn, it can truly be of any weight. I've used everything from fingering weight to nice heavy lopi that came from Iceland. The difference is going to be how quickly it takes to do up. The finer the yarn the more stitches per inch (just like in knitting). The only drawback to using the lopi for socks was that it is a tad pebbly on your feet until the wool felts a bit (from being walked on). I have two needles shown. One is a simple wide eyed tapestry needle which is just fine. The other is made for me by my friend "Spoon" (his real name is TC Lowery, but his website is down.) Spoon makes hand carved wood spoons at Ren Fairs around the country and made me my lovely wooden needle from Ironwood. You don't need a lovely wooden needle made from Ironwood, but it does look more authentic when you are doing nalbinding at SCA events.

Step 2: Cut a piece of yarn that is about 18 inches long and thread your needle with one end. With the other end make a slip knot. If you don't know how to make a slip knot, Google it. It's easy.

The finished slip knot. See, that was easy.

Step 3: The general rule is "down through the working hole, up through the last two loops." For most of what you do is based on this rule. To start making nalbinding in the round take your needle down through the center of the slip not you just made. You can adjust the size easily. making it smaller as you go around. For now, leave it this size.

Step 4: Go up through the loop that was created by going down through the center hole, but don't pull it tight. Leave a bit of a loop left and hold this with your thumb and a finger (it doesn't matter which finger, just use a finger to keep it from closing all the way up). It should look something like this:

See, I'm holding the loop with my fourth (or ring) finger. You could use your index or your tall man or even your pinky if you so desired. Whatever is comfortable for you.

Step 5: Take your needle again and go down through the center of your slip knot. then come up through the loop you just made and the loop prior to that. It's hard to see in this picture, but hopefully it will help (clicking on the picture will make it bigger).

Yep, kid of hard to see, but trust me. Keep doing this (down through the center hole up through the last two working loops) until you have around 8-10 stitches on the loop. Then you can adjust the size of your slip knot. This makes your first round.

Which looks something like this.

Or this.

The second round.

Step 6: Now you are going to make your next round. There are a couple of things to remember. If you want to make a skinny tube (which I don't know why you would want to unless you wanted to make a cigar warmer or a woolen finger cot, again, not sure why you would want to) you would "sew" (for lack of a better word, since knit isn't right either) in each space. But we don't' want to make a willy warmer so we are going to "sew" about 2 in every previous row's stitch. I have found that if you do 2 in every previous row's stitch that it will be too much, so this is where you just have to eyeball it and see if you are creating a smooth increase. If you are not even with the previous round's hole then add another "stitch" in your working hole. If you are too far ahead, then decrease the number of stitches you are putting in each hole. You will get the hang of it.

This is a picture of the needle coming back up through the two previous loops.

Step 7: When you run out of yarn run the tail through a few stitches on the row previous to where you are working. You will want to go through about 3 or 4 stitches. Then to start your next row, simply run your needle through 3 or 4 stitches in the row you are currently working on, but don't pull tight. You don't need to worry about securing it with a knot or anything. It will eventually get "sewn" into what you are currently working on. Another way of starting a new yarn is to "unspin" the ends of both yarns and then respin them together. I've done it both ways and they both work. Personally I find threading it back through more time saving. Historically we are in a quandry as to actually take apart extent pieces would be a blasphemy to some and we can't tell easily which way was done.

This is how two complete rows should look.

To create a garment, such as a sock. you essentially just keep making rounds adding and decreasing stitches until you get the shape you are looking for. For a sock, you would want to go out until the circle is about as round as your foot and then you want to start making a tube by doing a stitch in every loop. The nice thing about this sort of sock construction is that you can try it on as you go (sort of like when you make toe up socks on two circular needles). When you have the tube as long as your foot (or at least up to where your ankle starts on the top, you then stop working on that piece and start a second piece (from step 2 - as you should already have your supplies assembled) and make a small cup that will fit your heel and is about as wide so that it will meet the tube you made for your foot. These pieces are simply worked together creating another tube that works it's way up to make the leg of your sock. This website has some drawings of learning nalbinding as well as sock part construction. You can leave a slit open in the front if you like. I did this to my socks, but the next pair I make I probably won't do this as it tends to flop open if you don't make a tie for it. Kind of annoying, but it isn't uncomfortable. It's just easier to get your sock on this way. Nalbinding doesn't have a lot of give to it. Although I think there is enough to put a sock on.

I love my wool socks. I like that when I wear my viking underdress and apron that I have socks that match. My friend Gunnar is sewing my viking shoes. I have them cut out, but just don't have the manual strength to be able to actually sew leather anymore. Darn old hands. I'm going to trade him some antler that I have for payment as he won't take cash.

1 comment:

Greet said...

Excellent tutorial, Mel! I feel as if I could learn from just this post, which is a good thing given what's happening at Project Nights in the foreseeable future. (No! I will not be assimilated! yet...)