Build Up Start For Nalbinding Stitches with Many Loops

Tutorial by Amy Vander Vorste

We’ll start building up loops on and behind our thumb for a nice clean start to our work. There’s more than one way to do this. Here’s my favorite. I’ll be setting up for Finnish 2+2 stitch.

1. From inside of thumb to outside of thumb, wrap yarn around thumb (over nail and around) twice. The first wrap should go over the tail to lock it down.


2. Pull working yarn back and put needle under the loops on your thumb (on the inside of thumb), then pull through. This will secure the tail and give you the same setup as your stitches, with the working yarn under the thumb loop.  (You want only 2 loops around your thumb at the end of this step.)


3. Pull top loop off thumb to do an Oslo Stitch (1 on thumb, 1 behind thumb).


4. Push 1 loop back behind thumb. Do one Mammen stitch (1 on thumb, 2 behind). (2 sts completed now)


5. Now you are ready for Finnish 2+2 (2 on thumb and 2 behind) in the same 2 loops behind thumb. (St number 3).


Now you’re ready to go with more Finnish 2+2 stitches in the usual manner.

This same build up start can be used when attaching a new row to an existing row of work. (Say we want to add a short row for shaping, or attach another strand to make a braid, etc.) Just put the two loops on your thumb and push one back, then pick up the loop of your stitch on the existing work and continue your new stitches as you would in the directions above.

The PDF for this can be downloaded from Google Drive.

More Tinkering with Knotwork – Study in Which Knots Work Well with Nalbinding

Yesterday I found my Danish friend Maria is working with knotwork too for the Nalbinding Festival in Denmark. So there’s 3 of us now, that I know of.  Oh I wish I could go to the festival!  Maybe next year…
Last night I attempted 3 more knots as I work through my old knotwork book. Two of which were good.
The first one was my “fail” for the evening. But it was worth trying. I learned I’ll have to tack down the looser shapes like the “s” or “z” so they stay put. I won’t just be able to make a chain of stitches and make this knot. It will have to be more planned and after so many stitches I’ll have to attach it to the other chain of stitches. Otherwise, it won’t hold together well.
This knot was tricky to “tie”. But once completed and tightened, it was so pleasing. (I may have to make a photocopy of the knots I work on and highlight each strand in a different color. My eyes kept getting lost when tying this one.)

And this one really surprised me, I thought it wouldn’t work with the longer loops to the next knot. But when tightened it worked out well.

In project news, the “vest that never ends” might actually be nearing completion. It was very close last Sunday when I took it to coffee with friends. (No the vest did not get to drink coffee.  I suspect it wanted to though. It kept being difficult to work on, as if it was trying to tell me something.)
What in your projects and experiments has surprised you?


Knotwork Tutorial II

Several bits and pieces on how to do the scarf were scattered in my blog posts. But it wasn’t a real tutorial and a few important tidbits were missing.  So I’ll write down the process for those who would like to make their own nalbound knotwork items with more complicated knots. For my examples, I use the Finnish 2+2 stitch.

This is the knot style we’ll be working with. (Page 33 of Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction.) I highlighted one part of the knot in the diagram, so we can easily see the construction.

To make the knots:
Make to chains of stitches.  One or two colors of yarn can be used.

Make a loop with one chain of stitches. I try not to let mine twist – so my knots are more uniform.

Then I place the other chain of stitches under the loop that I just made.

Now we’ll start working over and under, over and under until we’ve completed the knot.

Now make as many knots as you want. The knots do stretch out a bit. So just know that if you decide to edge the knots, for final item won’t be as long. Here are the knots I made for my scarf.
To do a row of edging:
I picked up the knot tail and did a stitch or two on it.
A) Then I picked up and made 4 stitches in the top loop of the knot. (Depending on your knots, you may need fewer or more stitches in the loop. Experiment on a few knots to find out.)
B) Next, I did 3 stitches in the chain that is between knots.
Repeat A and B until you reach the end of the knots.
Do a stitch in the tail of the knot.
Then in the end of the tail, make 4 or 5 stitches (for the corner of your work).
Continue working on the edge of your knots. I did about 3 stitches in each part of the loop on the side.
Continue turning corners and edging until you reach where you started.  Pull your stich loops a little tighter so they blend in.  Finally, weave in your ends. (I had to use the ends to cover where I started and ended.)


Nalbound Knot Work Cowl + Knotwork Pretzels Tutorial

Yes, yes. I should be working on my circle vest to have it done before the end of February for the Green Camel Gathering fiber arts event.  But I got distracted, you see.

A spiffy knotwork headband  post from one of the Facebook groups inspired me this week to start to learn how to do knotwork in nalbinding, beyond braids.  I’ve always loved Celtic and Viking knotwork, thus I was dragged (not unwillingly) into another project. Thankfully this one went quickly!

It’s been wicked cold out (windchill -20°F/-28°C to -30°F/-34°C) this week, so a cowl was the perfect project.

Nalbound Knotwork Cowl done in Finnish Stitch. Copyright Amy Vander Vorste
Nalbound cowl with knotwork – done in Finnish 2+2 stitch. A Celtic looking clasp was the pefect closure for this, to help tighten it against my face.  I couldn’t resist putting the needle in the picture too. Hubby made it from red heart wood and gave it to me for Valentine’s Day a few years ago.
Nalbound Knotwork Cowl done in Finnish Stitch. Copyright Amy Vander Vorste
The cowl with the clasp undone.
Nalbound Knotwork Cowl done in Finnish Stitch. Copyright Amy Vander Vorste
I’m trying not to giggle as my son snaps the picture of me in this cowl indoors.

Working on each of the little pretzel like knots was addictive and the work went quickly. Yarn details are on the project page. I suspect this will lead to more knotwork projects…

To help my fellow nalbinders with knotwork of their own (since it took me a couple tries to be able to make them consistently), I took pictures of each step for making the little pretzel knots.  (They’re actually overhand knots – but they look so much like pretzels!) Hopefully this will also help me remember how to do the knots too.

How to Make Knotwork “Pretzels”: (Or at least it’s how I made them. There are probably several ways to make them.)

To start, I’ll recommend making a pretzeloverhand knot and measuring it against a flat row of stitches, so you can get the width in stitches of your knots and how many stitches for each section.

Attach your work to row. Make a chain of stitches.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 2
Turn your work over. Count over from your attached work half the width of your test pretzel knot.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 3
Work with F2 connection (for strength of the join) back to last joined work.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 4
Create another chain, same length as the last one.


Turn your work, then put your chain end (with the working yarn and needle) through the loop you created.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 6
Now you have a pretzel/overhand knot.


Nalbinding Knotwork Tutorial - Pretzel Knot Part 7
Attach it to the previous row with the F2 connection for stitches that equal half the width of your pretzel knot.
There you have it. Go forth and make pretzel knots to your heart’s content!  (I had to do 3 rows of them before I wanted to do something different.)
Now I need to get back to my circle vest…

Nalbinding Stitch Connections – What are F1, B1, etc?

A few days ago, I saw a nalbound sock on one of the Facebook nalbinding groups, and wasn’t sure how the creator did that effect. She didn’t answer (and I wasn’t surprised – the group isn’t in English and that’s all I speak).
So I worked on a set of samples, so I could figure out that ridged effect and so I could more clearly see the difference between different types of connections for nalbinding. Here are my samples and what I learned.
(– Updated 2/4/2015 to show the needle in position for the connections.  Samples done in Oslo stitch.)
Nalbinding Stitch Connection Samples


Nalbinding Stitch Connection – F1 – You put the needle through the front of the top loop of next stitch in the previous row. A very flexible join to the row. The Oslo stitch has nice drape with this connection.



Nalbinding Stitch Connection - F2
Nalbinding Stitch Connection – F2 – You put the needle in the front of the loop for the next stitch in the previous row, and also the previous stitch in that row (aka the loop that has a stitch in it already). A denser fabric, solid join.



Nalbinding Stitch Connection - B1
Nalbinding Stitch Connection – B1 – You put the needle through the back of the top loop of next stitch in the previous row. Tighter than the F1 connection and it gives an interesting texture between the rows – almost like weaving.



Nalbinding Stitch Connection - M1
Nalbinding Stitch Connection – M1 – You put the needle through the front of the middle of next stitch (the part of the stitch that lays in the opposite direction) in the previous row. Dense fabric with ridges on the back.

M1 (back side)


Nalbinding Stitch Connection - M1 in back
Nalbinding Stitch Connection – M1 in back – You put the needle through the middle of next stitch (the part of the stitch that lays in the opposite direction) on the back side of your work in the previous row. Dense fabric with ridges on the front. I’m pretty sure this is how the ridged socks were done.

M1 F1


Nalbinding Stitch Connection - M1+F1
Nalbinding Stitch Connection – M1+F1 – You put the needle through the front of the middle of next stitch (the part of the stitch that lays in the opposite direction) and the top loop of that stitch in the previous row. Dense fabric with no ridges.

*Note: There is another connection I’ve seen B1+F1 for the Asle stitch. But “B1” means “bottom loop” here.  Just so you know.


So, there you have it. I’d like to encourage you to make your own samples like this so you can see the difference for yourself.  Even different stitch samples are helpful to see what you may want to use for a project. I’d love to see your samples and hear what you learned from them!